When It Comes to Securing Your Network, the Worst Thing You Can Do Is Nothing

Enterprises of all kinds face more network security threats today than ever before, and they must be proactive their approach to cybersecurity if they hope to protect their IT infrastructure.

In today’s fast-paced, highly complex IT landscape, finding the right networking solution for your organization can be daunting. What is your organization trying to accomplish? Are you hoping to solve an issue you still haven’t diagnosed? Are you trying to upgrade your network infrastructure? Are you suffering from a lack of network security? These are all relevant questions for the modern IT professional, but scrambling to answer them all at once can lead to drastically overthinking the situation — a situation we call “paralysis by analysis.”

Especially when it comes to securing a high-value network, whether part of an enterprisehospital, or university, failing to act is usually the worst thing you can do. Robust network security measures are a serious investment, but the cost of doing nothing is often much, much higher. As the old adage goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The Cost of a Breach

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, in the broader corporate sector, the odds of suffering a data breach in any given year are higher than one in four. Cyberattacks aren’t only becoming more common, however — they’re becoming more costly, too.

Cybercrime accounted for roughly $3 trillion of damage in 2016, and experts predict that this figure will rise to over $6 trillion as soon as 2021. This increase can be largely attributed to the worldwide explosion of malware, especially in the form of ransomware.

Research indicates that a remarkable 84 million new examples of malware were discovered in 2015, amounting to around 230,000 new threats every day. The total cost of damage caused specifically by ransomware has increased 15-fold from $325 million in 2015 to almost $5 billion this year. Industry insiders don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon: ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations in particular are likely to quadruple by 2020.

On a more granular level, the Ponemon study indicates that the average cost of a corporate data breach currently sits at over $3.6 million. In certain circumstances, the cost can be substantially higher — the infamous 2013 breach at Target, for instance, cost the company almost $150 million.

Ultimately, organizations that take a “wait and see” approach to network security risk forking over around $150 for every record that gets compromised in a cyberattack. The good news is that proper preparation can dramatically reduce this per-record bill.

The simple act of having an incident response team ready to go ahead of time reduces per-record costs by $12.60, and including business continuity management personnel on such a team results in a further $7.10 in cut costs. Similarly, using strong encryption protocols across one’s network reduces per-record costs by $12.00, providing comprehensive employee training reduces costs by $8.00, and hiring a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) reduces costs by $5.60.

Taking a Proactive Approach

In order to avoid the unbearably high costs associated with leaving network security up to chance — or even up to network security best practices from as recently as several years ago — organizations must take a proactive approach to protecting their network infrastructure. Strong security measures almost always end up being far cheaper than a breach, and have the added benefit of protecting organizations from extensive legal fees and embarrassing PR nightmares.

A proactive network security strategy can take any number of forms depending on the specific goals, IT infrastructure, and budget an organization is working with. It may involve in-depth asset management — that is, taking the time to identify the authorized and unauthorized users and devices connected to an organization’s network. It may also involve extensive network security auditing, or “white-hat hacking,” where a security team attempts to compromise a network as if they were malicious hackers in order to understand of the vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.

Whatever the strategy entails, organizations need to find a networking partner like Turn-key Technologies that has the experience and expertise to implement a wide range of security solutions. Organizations need not fall prey to “paralysis by analysis,” and Turn-key Technologies is able to help anyone make well-informed, confident decisions about their network’s security.

For more expert insights on how to take the first step toward more robust network security, download your free copy of our guide to Choosing an IT Solutions Partner.

By Tony Ridzyowski

November 14, 2017

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