What does cybersecurity mean to you? Protecting your data (both personal and professional), right? It’s all about stopping breaches and making sure your company’s information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Turns out, plenty.
We want to encourage you to take a step back. Refocus for a few minutes and think about what really matters when it comes to cybersecurity. Underneath the concerns about data safety and your bottom line, the thing really worth protecting is . . . people.
Your business relies on people. Both the people on your staff and the customers you provide goods and services to. If you get hit with a data breach, whose information gets stolen? Not just the company’s. Those people are also affected.
In this guide, we’re going to look at cybersecurity a little differently. We’re going to put the people first, and when you do that, a surprising thing happens. Cybersecurity turns into a profit center for your company.
Here’s a look ahead at what we’re going to cover.
- Maintain focus
- Build cyber-resilience
- Like attracts like
- Understand the high cost of a data breach
- Make it really count
The root of cybersecurity, the thing we’re all trying to protect, is data. Right? Or is it the people who are represented by that data?
(You already know the answer. We just covered this.)
According to Forbes, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. But it’s not just data. This data is made up of personally identifying information, photos, text messages, emails, and every little thing we do digitally.
Think about the data stored on the servers of even small companies. It’s more than just account information. Depending on the industry, there may be notes about preferences, email communications, people known in common, photos, medical data, food allergies, educational records, and more.
Expand the data to employees and you suddenly have social security numbers, job offers, personal letters, family photos. That’s everything you need to steal another person’s identity, raid their accounts, or expose their personal information to the world. In other words, it’s a lot—and your customers and staff are trusting you with it.
The storage of this kind of sensitive data in the cloud is increasing year over year. And that matters
That’s what cybersecurity is really about: protecting the employees who work for you and the customers who put their faith in you. If you can maintain focus on that as your top goal, we guarantee you’ll end up with a cybersecurity plan that actually brings in new customers.
Like attracts like
Most people can tell if a business values them as people or just sees them as account numbers and potential profit.
A business that values its clients and employees and chooses to focus on them by protecting them will be seen as trustworthy. Businesses like this will naturally grow. This is because like attracts like. People want to work for companies like that. They want to be in business with trustworthy partners, and they want to engage the services of reliable service providers.
Choosing to value people first is bold—which is exactly why it will earn you a reputation. We’re talking about a reputation you can be proud to protect and to stand behind.
For example, take Apple and their strong stance on user privacy. CEO Tim Cook recently penned an op-ed in TIME Magazine about how everyone deserves privacy protection in the digital age. They put their money where their mouth is and back users even against government overreach.
This stance arguably costs Apple revenue. After all, they could be selling all that customer data. But it makes its values clear and shows that it cares about people.
It sure seems like people appreciate that.
Understand the high cost of a data breach
For a small business, the average cost of a data breach is $120K. This figure includes the cost of a forensic investigation (especially if there were financials affected such as credit card information were involved), notifying customers, compliance fines, credit monitoring services for affected clients and more.
But the pain of a breach doesn’t stop there. The non-monetary costs add up, too.
A recent TechRepublic article summarized the non-monetary impact succinctly: “A data breach hurts the company’s reputation.” We’ll be more candid. A data breach can devastate your reputation—and the effects can take years to wear off.
And don’t go thinking only big companies face this kind of risk. According to CIO, “If your business uses any computing device or the internet or has a digital presence such as a website or cloud accounts, then you are at risk of cyberattacks.”
That pretty much covers everyone—even the smallest mom and pop shop.
There was a time when security meant locks on doors and alarms on windows. But today, if you search the web for security the top results that come back are for cybersecurity providers and cybersecurity breaches.
It’s no longer enough to cross your fingers, gamble that cybercriminals will leave you alone, and hope for the best.
On the other hand, cybersecurity can do far more than just protect your assets. With thorough cybersecurity coverage you can build cyber-resiliency, weaving it into everything from your security policies to your Wi-Fi setup. A cyber-resilient business is a business that can handle the breaches and attacks that other businesses might struggle under.
That’s strong incentive for potential customers to work with you and incentive for the best talent to want to work for you.
Making it really count
Cybersecurity is everywhere, from the news to politics to the boardroom. But how can you make it count?
Everyone knows cybersecurity is necessary to protect data. We believe in flipping the script and making cybersecurity about protecting people.
When you change your focus, you change your motivation and that effectively changes everything.
How much more would you do to protect people? How much better does your security need to be? How much more would you and your board be willing to invest?
These may be complicated questions, but if you answer them well, the end result is a business with a new kind of security. A business that is cyber-resilient. A business that customers can truly trust and rely on.
How much is that kind of business worth to you? And how much do you think doing business with that kind of company is worth to your potential customers?
You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. When you protect your customers, your employees, and your business, you’re sending a message to the world that you stand by the reputation you’ve built.
You’re telling the world that you’re worth their time and investment.