Importance of Cyber Security for Businesses

As strange as it might sound, the renewed focus on cyber security for business seems to have either been inspired by or a complement to the enhanced document retention policies required by various regulations and by the need for even medium sized companies to protect their trade secrets and customer data.

Because information technology not only encompasses data but communications, the need for every institution from three-man startups to the Fortune 50 to secure their computers, mobile devices, servers and data stores has become a necessity rather than a luxury. In the process, some companies are unlocking new value and new sources of revenue by recognizing what their information represents.

Secure Communications

Leaving aside the obvious benefits of being able to speak frankly and candidly about business plans, potentially confidential information about products and intellectual property and including high-ranking executives in conferences and far-flung meetings, one of the key benefits to safe and secure communications is the reduction in potential liability. One of the technologies that facilitates these kinds of communications is next-gen antivirus, especially if meetings are taking place on vulnerable desktop and mobile computers.

Both governments and clients have a vested and sometimes crucial financial interest in making sure certain organizations keep their secrets to themselves. Law firms, for example, are required by law to protect client information including work product. Government contractors may be providing sensitive and highly protected technology to various organizations. None of the information surrounding these kinds of interactions can be allowed to leak into public view.

Financial Transactions

If a company’s computers go down, so does their ability to process financial transactions. For the average flower shop, this is manageable. For a nationwide retailer, on the other hand, this can lead to disaster, not only at the register but in the media. Some organizations mitigate the potential for these kinds of interruptions using various technology solutions like redundancy and failover servers. Others rely on third-party providers to make sure their systems are always operating at top efficiency and reliability. In any case, the company is out of business if it can’t get paid.

Institutional Knowledge

Most companies acquire both knowledge and wisdom throughout their existence. Most of this information is captured in e-mails, documentation, employee handbooks and other publications produced either by necessity or to acquire a market advantage. All of this information survives because of things like cyber security, network security and next-gen antivirus software. Without these basic defenses against the potential for loss of crucial information, the chances of something valuable and even irreplaceable increase dramatically.

Cyber-security is no longer the arcane subject it used to be. Firewalls, operating systems, software architectures and the basics of hardening multi-tier applications have all advanced a long way since the early days of the PC and the overpriced world of legacy server farms. The systems in use today are much better understood than those of even ten years ago. That said, it is the responsibility of every business to protect itself as best it can.

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