Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Happy Cybersecurity Month!

Cybernet has been a leading cybersecurity company for over 15 years — we even have cyber in our name! If you asked our staff, ‘What is cybersecurity?’, you would get a mixture of technical and professional answers.

This month isn’t about making cybersecurity professionals more aware of cyber, it’s about bringing cybersecurity awareness to everyone. It’s about helping people and companies understand why cybersecurity is so important to their success and future growth. But mostly, it’s about making each individual aware of the impact cybersecurity is having on their life and on the companies for which they work.

You will most likely see many posts this month talking about the overall costs of cybersecurity, how nations are losing billions in cyberattacks every year. But, like a lot of things we see on a global level, this doesn’t help people understand how cybersecurity is affecting them every day.

Ask a young adult what cybersecurity is and they will most likely tell you something about passwords, online safety, or even the little pictures you click to prove you’re a real human, which would all be correct. But few can tell you what this is costing them daily, how long they spend entering passwords, using multifactor authentication, or any number of cybersecurity actions/tasks that pop up throughout their daily lives.

Many cannot remember a time when online accounts and passwords were not a part of their ‘normal.’ Children are now introduced to these types of tasks in grade school, and having to login to a computer at school is now common starting in first grade. In many ways, future generations will think cybersecurity is just something they practice to stay safe, like locking their car or home to prevent theft. But this is not how adults incorporate cybersecurity into their lives. Many adults can still remember a day when computers were going to either revolutionize the world or take everyone’s job and be the catalyst to economic catastrophe.

I’m happy to say, over the past 30-40 years, technology and computers have provided more jobs and created more efficiency and growth for companies than it has cost. But the impact of cybersecurity may still have a role in causing economic losses and putting companies out of business.

If you ask a CEO what cybersecurity is, they may say something like, ‘cybersecurity keeps our data safe, it prevents cyberattacks,’ or one of my favorite responses, ‘it’s an expensive overhead cost that’s eventually going to put my company out of business.’

Again, all may be true to some extent, even the idea of preventative costs exceeding a company’s financial ability to protect themselves. As a cybersecurity professional, I can reiterate the same stance we say all the time, a cyberattack will cost a company a lot more than preventive cost.

In 2020, the average annual cost, per employee, for cybersecurity, was around $2,700 per year (Deloitte Insights). Yet the average cost of a single cybersecurity breach can cost a company well over $100k and it’s not uncommon for hackers to hold a company’s technology hostage for millions in ransom.

Furthermore, on average, employers pay $6,500 per year just in healthcare premiums (KFF). Many will justify this by saying healthcare coverage protects their employees’ health and wellbeing. Yet there is equal justification in saying investing in Cybersecurity protects your business’s financial health and well-being.

Each person actively contributing to cybersecurity efforts every day helps maintain a healthy online presence and helps to ensure the future of technology and its ability to benefit society. There are ways everyone can contribute to cybersecurity, and many are commonly known, but seldom practiced, such as using strong passwords; not reusing passwords across all accounts; implementing multifactor authentication (on personal and work accounts); and practicing patience when faced with account login issues.

Using financial burdens to justify not implementing cybersecurity and best practices is not an answer; it is a catalyst for future pitfalls and economic losses. Companies that actively maintain good cybersecurity practices are investing in their future successes and contributing to the future economic health of all companies.

Stay tuned for future articles throughout this month as Cybernet helps to bring awareness to cybersecurity and ways we can all contribute to healthier and safer technology.

Merrilee Maxon is the Cyber Compliance Services Manager for Cybernet’s cybersecurity division. She supports cybersecurity and our Defense Industrial Base customers in obtaining compliance with DoD, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), and other standard cybersecurity accreditations, as well as help them anticipate future requirements.