Rethinking cyber security

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It’s time to focus less on cyber threats and more on cyber opportunities. By creating a strong platform of Cyber Readiness, businesses can propel themselves to new heights.

By Maureen Kaplan, Vodafone Enterprise, Cyber Security Lead

The timeline of recent high profile cyber security incidents is a fascinating microcosm for how the security conversation is changing and evolving. In July 2017, the Petya and WannaCry attacks brought ransomware and threats to physical safety into the mainstream. The Equifax data breach in September affected millions of people, highlighting the worrying reach of cybercrime.

In November, alleged election tampering in the US showed that state-sponsored attacks are a very real concern. Earlier this year, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and introduction of the GDPR legislation outlined the growing complexity affecting personal data, privacy and responsibility.

More than anything, this timeline brings home the sheer scale and variety of cyber security challenges and the constantly changing nature of the landscape that businesses of all sizes need to manage. But while many businesses were struggling to simply establish the security fundamentals, in 2017 our Vodafone research found that there was a clear link between strong cyber security and business success – and that high-growth businesses are far more likely to see security as an opportunity, rather than a challenge.

In 2018, the challenge is as daunting as ever – the annual cost of cybercrime now stands at $600 billion globally, overtaking the global drugs trade in 2018. But maybe it’s time for a change in mindset. To take a proactive approach to cyber security, focusing on being ready and resilient in the face of any challenge; and understanding how security can boost your bottom line, support innovation and increase customer loyalty.

That’s why Vodafone has commissioned the 2018 Cyber Ready Barometer research, to further explore this link between cyber and business success.

“Limiting our losses”

It’s no wonder that we think of cyber security as a form of defence, protecting our assets behind firewalls and running cyber-attack ‘wargames’ to simulate our response. Investment in cyber security is seen as a necessary evil – an unfortunate, but compulsory, drain on resources to minimise vulnerability and limit losses if the worst should happen. But could cyber security really be a source of strength?

We have created a Cyber Ready Index, to assess the security readiness and resilience of businesses around the world. It looks at a number of criteria including their awareness of their digital footprint, their cyber strategy, operations and understanding of risk. We’ve also investigated the views of business decision makers, employees and consumers, to understand their (sometimes contrasting) views. Our question ultimately is this: are the most Cyber Ready businesses, those taking proactive measures against the evolving threat landscape, realising a business advantage over less ready rivals? And we uncovered some fascinating insights into this subject.

A springboard for success

It’s clear from our research that there are challenges for many businesses to overcome. The growing digital footprints of businesses and consumers – and a greater number of security threats – are putting organisations under pressure.

There are divergent security behaviours between business leaders and their staff. At present, few businesses are truly Cyber Ready. Nonetheless, there are incredibly encouraging signs that strengthening your cyber security does correspond with greater trust, revenue and ultimately competitive advantage. And there are thus far untapped opportunities to monetise security – if businesses are able to excel.

It’s time to focus less on cyber threats and more on cyber opportunities. By creating a strong platform of Cyber Readiness, businesses can propel themselves to new heights. So the real question is, how Cyber Ready are you? Read the Vodafone's 2018 Cyber Ready Barometer in full to find out more insight.

Cyber security is a key concern for organisations of all sizes. Protecting devices, networks, data and apps is an essential component of doing business. Vodafone provides security products and services to businesses of all sizes, helping you secure your business anywhere because we are everywhere.

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