Cyber security consists of technologies, processes and controls designed to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks. Effective cyber security reduces the risk of cyber attacks and protects against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security focuses on protecting computer systems – including hardware, software, data and digital infrastructure – from unauthorised access or being otherwise damaged or made inaccessible.
In recent years, cyber security has come under intense media scrutiny because of a rapid increase in the size and number of attacks, and the degree of effect on individuals, governments and organisations.
Moreover, the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2018 means organisations must implement appropriate security measures to protect the personal data they process or risk substantial financial losses.
All well-informed organisations now consider cyber security a critical business issue.
The three pillars of data security
- People: Every employee needs to be aware of their role in preventing and reducing cyber threats, and staff dedicated to cyber security need to keep up to date with the latest cyber risks and solutions, as well as qualifications, to mitigate and respond to cyber attacks effectively.
- Processes: Processes are crucial in communicating the organisation’s cyber security stance. Documented processes should also clearly define roles and responsibilities, and specify the procedure to follow when, for example, reporting a suspicious email. The cyber landscape is one of constant change, so processes need to be regularly reviewed to account for the latest cyber threats and responses.
- Technology: While organisational measures are a big part of cyber security, technical controls are just as essential. From access controls to installing antivirus software, technology can be deployed to mitigate cyber risks.
Why is cyber security important?
The cost of cyber crime is at an all-time high, and incidents often take months to be discovered – often by a third party. For instance, APTs (advanced persistent threats) use continuous hacking techniques to gain access to a computer system and can remain inside for months before the intrusion is observed.
- The costs of data breaches are soaring
Emerging privacy laws can mean significant fines for organisations. The high-profile EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
has a maximum fine of €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater. Such penalties are usually on top of damages and other legal action. There are also non-financial costs to be considered, such as organisational sustainability and reputational damage.
- Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated
Cyber attacks continue to grow in sophistication, with attackers using an ever-expanding variety of tactics, including social engineering, malware and ransomware (used for Petya, WannaCry and NotPetya).
- Cyber attacks are lucrative
Usually, cyber attackers seek some type of benefit and will invest in various techniques, tools and technology to achieve their motives. Financial gain is a common motivation, but they may also be driven by political, ethical, intellectual or social incentives.
- Cyber security is a critical, board-level issue
New regulations and reporting requirements make cyber security risk oversight a challenge. The board will continue to seek assurances from management that their cyber risk strategies will reduce the risk of attacks and limit financial and operational impacts.
A strong cyber security stance is a key defence against cyber-related failures and errors and malicious cyber attacks, so having the right cyber security measures in place to protect your organisation is vital.
Download our free cyber security green paper
Cyber Security: A Critical Business Issue provides an overview of cyber security and explains how to apply effective cyber security measures in all organisations.
The top cyber threats facing your organisation
Social engineering is used to deceive and manipulate victims to gain computer access. This is achieved by tricking users into clicking malicious links or by physically gaining access to a computer through deception.
Improve staff awareness of cyber security risks >>
Start your journey to being cyber secure today
IT Governance has a wealth of experience in the cyber security and risk management field. As part of our work with hundreds of private and public organisations in all industries, we have been carrying out cyber security projects for more than fifteen years. All of our consultants are qualified, experienced practitioners.
Our services can be tailored for organisations of all sizes in any industry and location. Browse our wide range of solutions below to kick-start your Cyber Security project.
Download our free cyber security resources
Cyber security products and services
Speak to an expert
To find out more on how our cyber security products and services can protect your organisation, or to receive some guidance and advice, speak to one of our experts.