Why your cybersecurity framework is the most important part of your business

As your business matures, so do the risks it faces. The longer you are in business means increased operational, financial, and security risks. In 2020, cybersecurity risks are some of the biggest security risks businesses face. Data breaches, malware, and cyberattacks cost businesses greatly not only in financial losses but also in time, operations, and reputation.

Thus, a cybersecurity framework is essential for all businesses. It allows your business to reduce risk, avoid unnecessary costs, and save time. 

Why cybersecurity is important

In 2019, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received over 400,000 complaints related to cybercrime, totaling $3.5 billion in losses. Further, according to Accenture, the average cost of cybercrime to an organization was $13 million in 2019, an increase of $1.4 million from the previous year. The majority of cybercrime is initiated from outside the organization, but a not-insignificant percentage of cyberattacks or theft of data involves a malicious insider. For this reason, growing businesses need to be aware of both external and internal cybersecurity risks.

Strong cybersecurity helps to protect your business from these risks, protecting your data and systems from theft or damage by would-be attackers. As your business grows, its systems also grow, as does the amount of important data you store and the total value of your business. This makes your business an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals. Additionally, at each stage of your business’s growth, any potential cyberattack or a data breach will cost you more in terms of time, money, and reputation.

What is a cybersecurity framework?

Any business owner knows that the key to strong growth is setting the organization up for success from the start. To lay a solid foundation that will protect your business as it grows, you need a strong cybersecurity framework. 

A cybersecurity framework lays out your organization’s strategy to manage cyber threats and cybersecurity risks. It typically includes the policies, processes, and best practices related to IT security aimed to safeguard your business as it grows. Similar to any business strategy, it will define the business’s cybersecurity values and goals, as well as describe how these values will be upheld and how the goals will be achieved.

Despite the importance of cybersecurity to modern businesses, this area is overlooked or under-prioritized by many organizations. This is often because of a lack of cybersecurity knowledge and expertise at leadership levels that relegate cybersecurity to something of a back-office job. Therefore, a formal cybersecurity plan will ensure that this vital area is prioritized and that your business’s data, systems, and assets are protected.

For these reasons, large international organizations, governments, and companies have found that it is essential to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity framework. Governments around the world, as well as many national intelligence agencies, have developed their own cybersecurity frameworks. Large international corporations, notably big tech companies, have developed their own frameworks internally, while other companies find it more practical to apply externally developed frameworks.

When developing a cybersecurity framework, these items should be included:

  • Identify and assess cybersecurity threats
  • Build a comprehensive security program to protect assets
  • Plan for the response when a compromise occurs
  • Implement a plan to recover lost, stolen or unavailable assets

When to implement a cybersecurity plan

If your business has not implemented a cybersecurity framework, you may not know where to start or that it’s too late. It’s never too late to prevent threats and protect your business. Failing to implement a strong cybersecurity framework as early as possible leaves your business open to unnecessary and significant risks.

Holding off on setting up a cybersecurity framework for your business could expose you to cyber threats that could cost your business money and compromise important business data. It is never too early or late to adopt a cybersecurity framework – 77 percent of companies with 1,000 or fewer employees have implemented a cybersecurity framework. Putting these safeguards in place now will facilitate strong, steady, and sustained protection over the long term, and allow your business and employees to reduce costs, exposure, and breaches.