Why Is Cybersecurity Important?

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While cybersecurity has long been recognized as a concern for large businesses and technology corporations, conventional wisdom has previously held that smaller companies could get by without investing significantly in it. However, these attitudes about cybersecurity are changing rapidly as smartphones, routers, tablets, computers, switchboards, cloud technology and wireless networks become increasingly indispensable for businesses of all sizes.

This expansion of cybersecurity concerns has been exacerbated by the emergence and proliferation of the internet of things (IoT), the plethora of web-enabled “smart” devices that have created new, unforeseen data vulnerability in homes and offices worldwide.1 While IoT devices may offer companies new, powerful opportunities to grow and innovate,they also expand the points of entry that cyber attackers could access and often are not considered in traditional cybersecurity measures.2

Below, we’ll define three guiding principles of cybersecurity and how they can help protect you and your company’s digital assets.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Simply put, cybersecurity is a set of measures and countermeasures designed to protect connected systems and devices from cyberattacks. It is an area of great importance for commercial organizations, government agencies and even private individuals in today’s connected world. The past several years have seen a number of notable and widely publicized cyberattacks, digital data thefts and cybersecurity breaches, ranging from the Equifax privacy breach of people’s credit score information and the theft of national security data from agencies that deal with U.S. government security clearances.3

Everyone is vulnerable to cyber threats, but staying ahead of potential problems makes them significantly easier to manage. The following principles are crucial to consider when developing a cybersecurity strategy for yourself or your organization:

Confidentiality: This pertains to any type of sensitive information that is intentionally limited to a specific group of people or intended receivers (i.e, credit card numbers, bank accounts and online shopping accounts). If this information is stolen by criminals or even foreign agents, the fallout can be catastrophic. These types of breaches can destroy your credit score, leave you bankrupt or even be used to extort or extract information from you.3

Integrity: This principle refers to the assurance that data cannot be altered, and is protected from malware software that hackers may use to wreak havoc on data networking systems. Organizations in both the public and private sectors take special precautions to ensure their data integrity is in good standing. Otherwise, their operations could be thoroughly disrupted as their data would be unreliable.3

Availability: In order for any organization to operate effectively, it's often necessary that multiple parties be able to access information at any given time, but this also opens up the possibility for increased risks as cyber attackers seek to prevent users from accessing vital information. A potential cyberattack of this kind could prevent employees or customers from accessing essential information from certain computers or mobile devices. An example of this might involve a hacker attempting to extort money from a hospital by taking over their power grid and threatening to turn it off if they don’t pay. These kind of attacks not only put vital information at risk, but can also endanger customer or employee safety.3

These three principles are vital to understanding why cybersecurity is so important to individuals and businesses alike: They produce a common formula that can be used to implement cybersecurity strategies throughout many sectors and industries. Without a solid foundation in the fundamentals of cybersecurity, you run the risk of leaving yourself vulnerable to attacks which could have been prevented with smart defensive strategies and proper training.

Cybersecurity is more important now than ever. As the number of connected IoT devices continues to grow, so too do data vulnerabilities and the sophistication of cyberattacks. Whether you're considering cybersecurity from either a business or a personal perspective—and no matter the size or type of your connected system—you must remain vigilant, and continually work to bolster your cybersecurity efforts.

Learn Cybersecurity Skills Online With EmergingEd

If you need to develop a grounding in cybersecurity key concepts and fundamentals, consider the Cybersecurity Foundations and Frameworks course from EmergingEd. This 100 percent online, convenient and flexible course—designed by cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Groman, CISSP—can help you understand where your company falls within the contemporary threat landscape, which vulnerabilities are most relevant to you and your assets, and how to prioritize measures to protect yourself against any digital threat.

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