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The Importance of Implementing Cyber Security In Your Business in 2020

Victoria Howes
Senior Frontend Specialist


1. Lack of understanding of what a cyber-attack is
2. Protecting customers, staff and suppliers
3. The financial cost of getting it wrong
4. Moving forward: your plan

What if I told you that in 2017, cybercrime cost the world $600 BILLION.

Or about 0.8% of the global GDP. Yes, you read that right.

That's insane.

If we take a look back on 2018 so far, there haven't been as many global ransomware attacks as there were by this time last year, but that's pretty much where the good news ends.

Corporate security isn't getting better fast enough, critical infrastructure security hangs in the balance, and hackers around the world are becoming more sophisticated.

For organisations that recognise this, comprehensive cyber security plans are already in place. Skilled teams of engineers regularly tweak company systems to respond to the latest threats, and all staff are well-briefed about how to identify and respond to anything from phishing emails to password laziness.

But many businesses have hardly any cyber security training in place at all, let alone the infrastructure to prevent or deal with an attack itself.

If you fall into the latter category, it’s time to think twice about the potential impact on the business you work for.

If you would like more in-depth information on how to build a security operation centre in your business, you can download our document "Building An Effective SOC Centre".

But, imagine if you could make a few small changes to your business, and see an instant increase in security.

Or, you could start hiring the right employees to give you a dedicated security team.

Lucky for you, that's exactly what I'm going to share with you in this post:

Building your very own Security Operations Centre (SOC) to protect your business from cybercrime.

We will also look at how Darwin can help you overcome the barriers to getting effective cyber security processes in place, including calculating a budget to build your security team/solution as well as sourcing and securing the required skills.

Let's get into it:


Lack of understanding of what a cyber-attack is

For some businesses, the risk of a cyber-attack is one that seems far removed.

Perhaps a common misapprehension is that organisations who operate in sensitive sectors, such as defence or healthcare, are the main target.

This is partly true, but:

A recent survey from Nationwide found that only 13% of business owners said they have experienced a cyber-attack. However, that number jumped to 58% when owners were shown a list of attacks, revealing a clear lack of understanding about what constitutes an actual attack.

According to a recent report by McAfee, the global Cybercrime pandemic cost the world $600 billion in 2017, about 0.8% of global GDP!

While studies indeed show that sectors such as pharmaceutical and finance are often targeted, businesses of any size and in any industry are vulnerable - a detailed cyber security strategy is essential.

Whatever sector you work in, it’s possible that it’ll be you as a manager or IT lead who is more concerned about cyber-attacks than senior management.

Verizon recently published their annual report on cyber breaches, and one fact stood out about to rest to me:


They're not just attacking huge corporations.

Some leaders are unwilling to end up investing in cybersecurity for a whole host of reasons, including calculated decisions to simply take the risk or ignorance about the nature of that risk. In that case, it’s again worth working with an expert to help develop your case that prevention really is the best cure when it comes to company security. 


Protecting customers, staff and suppliers

There are all kinds of ways in which your customers can fall victim if your business experiences a data breach.

At its simplest, of course, poor security can lead to someone managing to log in or break down a defence without any input or involvement from you. In those cases, an attack can even happen as you sleep.

Anything from an Excel spreadsheet to a sophisticated database can be accessed and lifted, and it’s difficult to prevent this without the sort of complicated encryption that only a well-recruited cyber security expert can provide.

However, the complexities of many modern cyber security breaches are such that there are almost limitless ways in which customers can be affected. If your company’s mailing list system is compromised, for example, a cyber-attacker could send out phishing emails posing as an official representative of your firm to trick customers into entering their login or banking details.

And what about ransomware?

This malicious software has the potential to take over your equipment if opened, perhaps through something as simple as an email attachment, and can literally hold you and your firm to ransom once it beds in.

The most high-profile ransomware attack in recent years was the one against the UK’s National Health Service, which in 2017 suffered a very serious incident with devastating results for hospitals, surgeries and clinics across the country. In that instance, personal medical data wasn’t affected – but it was a real wake-up call for organisations.

Ransomware goes much further than just this one case too: a study by Verizon found that 40% of malware attempts which worked were focused on ransomware, meaning that this is a major risk point for companies without preventative measures in place.

And the growth rate of ransomware attacks is staggering:


Businesses who haven’t yet carried out a comprehensive cyber security audit also have a duty to look out for the personal data of their staff too.

The initial instinct for business owners is to think that the main risk from an attack would be towards their customers. But from an identity theft point of view, personal data held on staff can also be valuable if seized.

Think of all the human resources data held on your staff. From their home addresses to their bank details used to transfer salaries, this information is actually very valuable to hackers. In October 2016 Uber suffered a large-scale attack that exposed the confidential data of 57 million drivers AND customers.


The financial cost of getting it wrong

The most obvious risk of a cyber-attack, of course, is losing customers and clients: when the British firm TalkTalk suffered an attack back in 2016, for example, it lost over 100,000 customers from its books and consequently, a significant chunk of revenue.

It also had to spend around £35 million managing the mess, and the value of TalkTalk’s shares went down by around 30%.

Tesco had to pay out £2.5m following an attack in 2016 that resulted in 20,000 customers having money fraudulently removed from their accounts.

The risk to your revenue, then, is clearly salient. But perhaps the toughest punishment for a firm that doesn’t have a plan in place to defend itself against cyber-attacks lies in the power that the regulatory authorities now have over firms which don’t take steps to defend themselves. Tesco were then fined a further £16.4m by the FCA who said the bank had failed to exercise due skill, care and diligence in protecting its current account holders against a cyber-attack

The first EU cybersecurity law went into effect in May requiring businesses that run “essential” services, including water, energy, transport, health and banking operations, to inform national authorities if they are hit with serious cybersecurity breaches.

Providers of cloud computing services, search engines and online marketplaces will also need to report those incidents. Companies will face severe fines if they don’t report breaches.


Moving forward: your plan

Right now, there are several steps you can take if you feel like your cyber security plan isn’t quite up to scratch.

In the first instance, you could encourage simple and easy moves among your current employees – such as requiring everyone to change their passwords on at least a monthly basis, having more secure passwords, or insisting on other basic internet security practices such as not logging in to sensitive company systems over public WiFi connections.

We often encourage all of our clients to get these practices into place - it's not the most full-proof defence, but it's a great start.

But in the medium to long-term, you’re going to need to do much more than that to defend yourself against cyber security problems. Medium to large businesses need to initiate processes to build their very own Security Operations Centre (SOC).

The security operations centre (SOC) is a term used to describe the information security team within a business.

They are responsible for monitoring and managing the security of all information which the organisation holds. The goal of the SOC team is to detect, analyse, manage and respond to cyber-attacks through efficient processes and effective technology.

A SOC team usually incorporates security specialists, analysts and managers which oversee the team’s operation. In most cases, the skilled security team is broken down into four main levels, with security analysts on levels 1-3, and a SOC manager on level 4.

This kind of recruitment, of course, is easier said than done.

Many businesses don’t even know where to begin when it comes to finding a cyber security expert, let alone building a team; there’s no obvious place to start looking. 

Which is why our global cyber security teams have seen significant growth. We are supplying the best cyber security specialists to both in-house and consultancy businesses.

The search trends for cyber security speaks for itself:


Businesses know how cyber-attacks can negatively impact their business, and they want to hire the best talent.

The problem is, these cyber security specialists are very hard to find.

An established SOC will allow companies to have a better visibility on their environment, have skills, processes and continuous improvement. It’s a significant undertaking to build such a function, but handling security threats efficiently will mean the customer, client and staff data is protected.

To staff a single 24-hour position, a company will require roughly 4.5 people when factors such as breaks, weekends and annual leave are taken into account. Many businesses are concerned that they are unable to staff a SOC 24/7, but this is a common misconception.

That’s where working with a business, like ours, becomes invaluable. We have access to networks of skilled cybersecurity experts, and we’ll work hard to find someone who is well-matched to your unique business needs.

If you would like more in-depth information on how to build a security operation centre in your business, you can download our document "Building An Effective SOC Centre".

This document goes through why you need a security operation centre, an overview of the security teams required skills and core responsibilities, the benefits of establishing a SOC, the cyber attack lifecycle, designing a solution for your company, and where you can find the best people for the job.

How to build an effective security operation centre