In 2019, few of us were wiser to the change that the world would go through. It seems as though one day we were exchanging ideas and trends about the world of technology in 2020, and in an instant, a health crisis accelerated the rate of change for everyone.
If it is not yet obvious, no industry has gone unscathed.
Organizations in the public and private sector have had to re-evaluate their offering, redefine how they offer their service, and redesign their approach to data. When the big data frenzy settled in, organizations that had a large database, as well as startups, seemed the best fit for data-based techniques and technology. As a result, organizations of that nature invested in protecting the data they had as well as the data they would be collecting in the future.
Your local health office, the restaurant around the corner, the airline that is transporting you to your loved ones for the holidays, and the seamstress who gets you ready for that traditional ceremony all collect valuable data and have likely used it to build a digitalsystem that helped them survive the last two years. Moreover, organizations across industries have been able to achieve better visibility, experience growth, reach new markets, offer more targeted products and services, and track their resources with more clarity by simply using data. The benefits seem exhaustive.
No matter the size, age, or nature of the organization…” how we do things” no longer flies.
But with great opportunity and necessity comes great responsibility. What has always been clear to #cybersecurity experts and practitioners, and is now evident to leaders across industries is that the minute the data they have on their users becomes a part of how they fulfill a mandate or make money, their data becomes worth protecting.
For individuals who are out to prove their technical skills, test the power of their malware, or bad actors, the data in any organization is valuable. And if they see that value, you should too. Cybercrime is the broader umbrella that #datatheft falls under. Malware that compromises data and web-based attacks that place the integrity of your organization in disrepute were estimated to have cost $2.6 million and $2.3 million respectively. Forbes expects cyber attacks to reach $2.65 billion by 2035, an acceleration that should raise eyebrows for every leader across industries. Any fraction of that is no small change.
In 2020, activity surrounding stolen data increased significantly. Vulnerabilities in retail, health, energy and transport made airwaves and beyond the financial cost, societal disruption and thinning trust are ongoing consequences. Data is being stolen for current use or for future use, so even in instances where data might not yield direct financial benefits, its potential value for use in the future makes it attractive.
Cybercriminals and general threats to your data are always closer than you anticipate. Individuals within the organization or industry that have done the work to evaluate how much that data is worth to the organization or the darkweb sees the value that was not protected by those that hold it.
Data protection is a financial concern, a governance priority, and a key aspect of user relations. Gone are the days of seeing data as only valuable to some industries and not others and most certainly the days of leaving data protection to the discretion of the IT department are long gone. It is a leader's responsibility to attend to the protection of data, and by proxy, the organization-no matter their technical expertise.
So how can you begin valuing your data?
1️Training your broader organization on the importance of handling all forms of data with precision, confidentiality, and care.
This is important no matter the value of your data-based activity. Prioritize everyone that comes in contact with any aspect of organizationaldata and ensure that their daily activities align with data protection.
2️Simultaneously employ digitization with data protection software. Seek the assistance of cyber professionals to help you choose and set up the best software.
Do not interrupt the function of your current software and processes. Rather, aim for all systems to work in harmony.
3️Treat access to your data as a privilege and provide access in accordance with those privileges.
4️Continuously evaluate the size and nature of the data that you are collecting and make sure that your software can handle it, processes agree with the changes, and systems are compliant.
5️Conduct a frequent industry analysis to figure out what your data is worth, the various uses it might have, and the value it might bring for your organization. In essence, see the value before cyber attackers do.
The reality is that no matter how sacred, bespoke, or traditional an industry might be, none will be untouched by the digitalmovement. Digitization, data-based products and services, and the influx of users to platforms that collect data about their lives, biometricinformation, and behavior mean the data profile across all industries will be much more valuable.
As a leader, consider the value of your organization’s data, think of what it can do for you as well as the cost of fixing an attack, and then you will appropriately invest in the security of your data.
Understand the value of that data to you and to others and protect it accordingly
Originally Published at Linkedin