The importance of information security in organizations cannot be overstated. It is critical that companies take the needed steps to protect their priority information from data breaches, unauthorized access, and other disruptive data security threats to business and consumer data.
The FBI Internet Crime Report for 2020 revealed that $4.2B in losses were reported in 2020 (a 200% increase from $1.4B in 2017). Cyber vulnerabilities is one of the most critical risk areas in the most recent Gartner Hot Spots report. The cost of inaction is simply too great — here’s what you need to know about the importance of IT security in an organization.
What Is Information Security?
Through the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the US Department of Commerce defines Information Security as: “The protection of information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide confidentiality, integrity and availability.” Information security — or infosec — is the protection of information by people and organizations in order to keep information safe for themselves, their company, and their clients.
Why Is Information Security Important?
Companies need to be confident that they have strong data security and that they can protect against cyber attacks and other unauthorized access and data breaches. Weak data security can lead to key information being lost or stolen, create a poor experience for customers that can lead to lost business, and reputational harm if a company does not implement sufficient protections over customer data and information security weaknesses are exploited by hackers. Solid infosec reduces the risks of attacks in information technology systems, applies security controls to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, prevents disruption of services via cyber attacks like denial-of-service (DoS attacks), and much more.
Why Is Information Security Needed Within an Organization?
Company core business integrity and client protections are critical, and the value and importance of information security in organizations make this a priority. All organizations need protection against cyber attacks and security threats, and investing in those protections is important. Data breaches are time-consuming, expensive, and bad for business. With strong infosec, a company reduces their risk of internal and external attacks on information technology systems. They also protect sensitive data, protect systems from cyber attacks, ensure business continuity, and provide all stakeholders peace of mind by keeping confidential information safe from security threats.
What Are the Top Information Security Threats?
Emphasizing the importance of information security in organizations and acting on it are key to countering the main threats to data security. The top six concerns in infosec are social engineering, third party exposure, patch management, ransomware, malware, and overall data vulnerabilities.
1. Social Engineering
Social attacks take place when criminals manipulate targets into taking certain actions such as skipping security measures or disclosing information in order to gain access to confidential information. Phishing attempts are one common example.
2. Third Party Exposure
Companies must be confident that any third party vendors are handling information securely and sensitively. If there are data breaches with a vendor, the main company that owns the consumer relationship is still considered responsible. The importance of information security in organizations must be held at the same high priority level for vendors as it is within your own company.
3. Patch Management
Cyber attacks will exploit any weakness. Patch management is one area that companies need to stay on top of, and make sure to always update to the most recent software releases to reduce vulnerabilities.
Ransomware attacks infect a network and hold data hostage until a ransom is paid. There can be financial damages and reputational damages from the ransom as well as lost productivity and data loss from the attack itself.
Malware is software that has malicious code for the purpose of causing damage to a company’s software, their data and information, and their ability to do business.
6. Overall Data Vulnerabilities
Lastly, cyber attacks can take place through any weakness in the system. Some risk factors include outdated equipment, unprotected networks, and human error through a lack of employee training. Another area of risk can be a lax company device policy, such as letting employees use personal devices for work that may not be properly protected. You can evaluate your own company’s level of possible exposure via a thoughtful risk assessment plan.
What Are the Advantages of Infosec?
All organizations — small, medium, and large — need protection from cyber attacks and digital security threats. The protection of information is crucial to the strength and growth of your business. Beyond the peace of mind that your company’s and all of your client data is secure, strong infosec keeps your business operating at full capacity and reduces your susceptibility to exploitation by hostile outside forces.
Start Protecting Your Organization’s Data and More
The level of importance of information security in organizations is a measure of how high they prioritize their business having a secure foundation. Protecting your company’s information and keeping your organizational and client data secure is fundamental to your company’s strength and growth.
Data breaches are bad for business, both in the short-term and the long-term. Company efficiency and solid data management work hand-in-hand, and secure handling of client information keeps your company’s brand reputation intact.
Infosec awareness is an important practice, and having the right technology will help you protect your company. Learn how AuditBoard’s compliance management software can help you get real-time visibility into your information security programs today.