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Modern businesses need to have a strong and robust security architecture framework for protecting their most sensitive and important information assets. However, it’s all too easy to underestimate the need for strong systems architecture and cybersecurity practices—which could be why some businesses might treat these things as “nice to haves” instead of business-critical necessities.
After all, there are other immediate business needs to address to keep a company operating at a profit—ones where a deficiency can cause an immediate loss of profits. Strong security architecture principles have a less noticeable and immediate effect compared to say, maintaining a strong supply chain. If you let security slip, malicious actors might get through and cause harm, but if you let supply chains falter, your business could start losing market share as competitors quickly fill the gap.
Yet, maintaining a strong security architecture is a necessary task with numerous benefits for a business. What are these benefits and how can your company realize them?
Here is a short list of some of the potential benefits of practicing strong security architecture principles throughout your business:
1) Fewer Breaches of Your Systems Architecture
The first (and most obvious) benefit of having stronger security is that it leads to fewer security breaches. Many attackers use very basic attack strategies that target common cybersecurity vulnerabilities shared by less vigilant organizations who aren’t as invested in establishing a strong security architecture framework.
By strengthening your security architecture to close these common weaknesses, you can drastically reduce the risk of an attacker succeeding in breaching it. While it won’t stop every attack, you may find that the cost of reinforcing security can be easily recovered when you factor in the cost of a breach. According to information cited by CSO Online, “the average cost of a data breach in North America is $1.3 million for enterprises and $117,000 for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).”
Even if reinforcing your security architecture only prevented two attacks at the cost of $100,000, you would still be well ahead of the curve even at the low end of the spectrum. The issue is that it can be hard to quantify a prevented attack. After all, how can you be sure that an attack would have succeeded or not?
One tool for proving the ROI is security information and event management (SIEM) software. This type of software can log security events, such as breach attempts, and record that information for later review. Using this, you can see how many attacks are carried out against your business, the methods used in the attacks, and whether or not they succeeded. You can also determine just how effective your security architecture is at repelling attacks and prove the business case for improving your cybersecurity. You can even identify specific areas for improvement by reviewing past attacks.
2) Compliance with Key Data Security Standards
Odds are that your organization is subject to several different information security standards, such as:
- PCI DSS. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a major security standard that any business handling payment card information is expected to follow.
- HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has numerous provisions regarding the protection of patient information that insurance companies and healthcare providers need to follow.
- GLBA. The Gramm Leach Bliley Act covers the needs of information security for financial institutions—such as banks and insurance companies—to ensure the safety of their clients’ private data.
- GDPR. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation guarantees the rights of “data subjects” of whom your organization may be collecting information. This includes the right to deny the collection of personal data and the right to be forgotten upon request.
These are just a small handful of examples of data security standards that an organization might need to follow—some businesses may have to follow multiple such standards.
Many of these data security standards require a business to maintain a strong and well-monitored security architecture—and even many specific security measures. For example, PCI DSS requires companies to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for “all non-console administrative access.” Additionally, these standards also frequently update their requirements in response to the ever-evolving threats businesses face online.
For example, that PCI DSS requirement that was just mentioned? It wasn’t always a requirement. Up until revision 3.2.1, MFA was a “compensating control”—a kind of optional security measure meant to serve as a replacement if an organization couldn’t enact one of the required security measures for some reason.
Having a strong security architecture design included as a core component of your business makes it easier to meet these kinds of requirements. In particular, having an accurate map of your network architecture and the various security measures that are integrated can make it easier to tell whether you are at risk of non-compliance with an important regulation.
3) Being a Strong Security Architecture Example Helps to Earn Trust
When your business is recognized as an example of an organization with strong cybersecurity, that can help you earn the trust of others. This isn’t just the trust of potential customers, either—it includes potential business partners.
In the 9 IT Practices Putting Businesses at High Risk guide, one of the nine practices in the list is giving third-party vendors unfettered access to your company’s backend. Attackers could target the vendor and use their access to your systems to carry out a major attack against your network.
Take, for example, the 2013 Target breach. As noted in a KrebsOnSecurity.com article from after the breach, “the attackers first broke into the retailer’s network on Nov. 15, 2013 using network credentials stolen from Fazio Mechanical Services, a Sharpsburg, Penn.-based provider of refrigeration and HVAC systems.” Had Target not given such access to this external vendor, the breach might not have happened in the first place, and millions of customers might not have been inconvenienced or put at risk of suffering identity theft. For this reason, companies need to be extremely careful about who they give access to their network.
By enacting cybersecurity best practices and having a strong security architecture for your network, you can demonstrate your company’s trustworthiness to potential business partners. This can help put you ahead of your less security-conscious peers when you’re competing to be a vendor for a major company—especially if that company has suffered because of less secure vendors in the past.
4) Preventing a Loss of Business
Trust is priceless for any business. A business that loses the trust of its customers will quickly find that it doesn’t have customers anymore. The thing is that a cybersecurity breach often results in a loss of trust from customers in the general public. For example, according to The New York Times’ coverage following the 2013 Target data breach, “The widespread theft of Target customer data had a significant impact on the company’s profit, which fell more than 40 percent in the fourth quarter.”
While Target would eventually recover, that was a massive drop in sales year-over-year—one which could have been avoided if the breach hadn’t occurred.
By enacting a security architecture designed to prevent data breaches, you can keep breaches from happening—or at least limit the severity of the breach so data thieves don’t get millions of customer records all at once. This helps to minimize the risk of losing your customers’ faith, and the loss of business that accompanies such a loss of faith.
These are just a few examples of the potential benefits of enacting a strong cybersecurity architecture in your organization. If you have any questions about how to strengthen your security architecture, please contact the experts at Compuquip Cybersecurity today.