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Understanding the Risk of Cyber Threats

Understanding the Risk of Cyber Threats

April 2023


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Understanding the risk of cyber threats

Cybersecurity has become a hot topic in recent years. With the increasing number of cyberattacks, protecting and preserving cybersecurity has become more challenging. Every day, 2,244 cyberattacks happen, which is equivalent to one attack every 39 seconds. Ransomware attacks pose the biggest threat to cybersecurity, as they are easy and relatively inexpensive to perform. This type of attack involves hacking software that enters organizational computers and blocks access until a ransom is paid. In the first half of 2022 alone, 236.1 million ransomware attacks took place, which is equivalent to 15 attacks every second. In 2022, up to 71% of organizations worldwide were victims of such attacks, which is 20% more than in 2018.

Due to the importance of this topic, we had an interview with Dusko Rokvic, GM of Exclusive Networks.

“The number of cyberattacks is constantly increasing. Although the largest number of attacks are aimed at companies, public services, and state institutions, anyone can be a target of attackers.” — Dusko Rokvic, GM of Exclusive Networks

There are several reasons (like global trends) that are reflected in the territory of Serbia and encourage the enormous growth of cyber threats. To begin with, we must point out that digital transformation, which requires companies to quickly adopt new business models, does not only bring benefits to companies such as productivity and reduction of operating costs. This general digitization also creates security gaps, and attackers are readily “waiting in ambush” to exploit organizations’ unprotected systems.

Trends Affecting Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity landscape is facing several significant trends that are impacting the security of organizations. These trends are important to understand to stay ahead of the constantly evolving cyber threats. Here are the most important trends affecting cybersecurity:

  1. Labour and skills shortages 

One of the most significant trends in cybersecurity is the shortage of skilled professionals in the field. The (ISC)² 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study found that the world lacks as many as 3.4 million cybersecurity professionals. Companies are struggling to find and retain cybersecurity experts who can handle complex threats and digital infrastructure. The shortage of cybersecurity professionals affects not only large companies but also small and medium-sized businesses. The lack of staff means that companies may not have the necessary skills to manage network protection and network operations, leaving them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

  1. The human factor 

While companies invest in cybersecurity solutions to protect their networks and data, the most common cause of system breaches is human error, carelessness, or lack of security knowledge. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in human behaviour, such as phishing attacks or social engineering tactics, to steal sensitive data. Configuration errors and failure to update systems also make it easier for attackers to access systems and steal data.

  1. The overuse of cybersecurity tools 

Companies invest significantly in various cybersecurity solutions to protect themselves from potential threats (for example, next-generation firewall solutions, SD-WAN, DLP, ZTNA, etc.). However, the overuse of cybersecurity tools can result in more checkpoints, which can increase complexity. Complexity can make it difficult to maintain security solutions and increase the likelihood of cyber-attacks. Too much complexity can lead to less security.

The Biggest Challenges Companies Face in the Context of Cyber Protection

The aforementioned trends pose numerous challenges for companies and their security teams. Apart from the scarcity of the required expertise to combat sophisticated threats, other problems include isolated silos of information, equipment, and systems that are not properly maintained, a continually expanding attack surface, and an overwhelming number of warnings concerning potential threats.

How Companies Can Protect Themselves

It is clear that digital transformation, including the implementation of hybrid work models, will persist in the future. However, companies are likely to continue facing staff shortages. Therefore, it is crucial to consider consolidating the solutions that are used by adopting tools that combine multiple solutions.

Since most companies have small security teams with limited resources, it is vital to implement a solution that can manage and relieve them of less important tasks. Several manufacturers and technologies in the market can effectively respond to various security challenges. Among them, Fortinet has established itself as a leading manufacturer of cybersecurity solutions, providing a comprehensive range of solutions for network security, including endpoint protection, firewall, switches, access point, and SD-VAN solutions. This highlights the significance of consolidation in cybersecurity.

One technology that is gaining prominence in the fight against sophisticated attacks is XDR. It combines the analysis of cloud systems, endpoints, and email, providing users with a clear view of potential threats. By automating and eliminating unnecessary alerts, XDR streamlines operations and enables IT teams to focus on real threats.

As most attacks start with identity theft, it is crucial for companies to focus on secure login systems. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is no longer sufficient, as it has become vulnerable to phishing. To address this, phishing-resistant MFA techniques, such as the Fido standard, are recommended.

Last year, Serbia reported a record number of attacks on domestic companies and state institutions. As a cybersecurity and digital infrastructure expert, Exclusive Networks will continue to support partners and customers in overcoming these challenges. The company offers a wide range of solutions for protection against cyber-attacks, data protection, data center construction, IoT device protection, and more, making it easier for partners to address problems related to remote work, data storage, protection of ICS infrastructure, and identity protection.

A Modern Cyber Challenge

Almost all attacks are financially motivated. Data theft is the biggest modern corporate problem because, in addition to the ethical aspect, it costs companies millions of dollars.

The global cost of cybercrime damage is predicted to be $8 trillion by 2023, which is as much as $253,679 per second. The cyber security industry was worth over $156.30 billion in 2022. It is predicted to reach a whopping $403 billion by 2027. Almost 70% of companies faced at least one ransomware attack, and 60% of that amount had to pay – often multiple times.

In addition, all organizations whose security is compromised can face large fines due to their failure to take adequate measures. On average, it takes about 287 days to detect and prevent a cyberattack. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to deal with. Companies that take this modern challenge seriously can save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Data is the pollution problem of the information age, and protecting privacy is the environmental challenge.” — Bruce Schneier

About the Author

Milos Tucakovic is a Managing Partner at Stanton Chase Belgrade. He is also Stanton Chase’s Consumer Products and Services Global Practice Leader.

Milos has almost two decades of executive search and leadership advisory experience, and prior to this accumulated nearly 30 years of human resources and management experience.

Milos is a member of the Serbian Association of Managers and Knowledge Committee of Serbia. He also lectures on management at the College of Hotel Management in Belgrade.


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