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Cybersecurity in 2017: Recruitment is Key

2017 will be an important year for the cybersecurity industry, as we aim to bounce back from a year filled with some of the biggest cybersecurity attacks in recent history. Throughout 2016, the average cost of data breaches saw a significant increase, and the mounting frequency of cyberattacks has forced businesses of all sizes to view them as inevitable instances.

The past year has taught us a harsh lesson in the importance of recruiting more professionals with an expertise in online security as we head into 2017. McAfee’s Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that there will be two million unfilled job positions in the cybersecurity sector within the next two years. As such, companies can no longer afford to forgo the investment in improving their cybersecurity practices.

Data Breaches Are an Issue of “When”

This year has shown us that no company is safe from a data breach, as some of the biggest names in the online world have suffered from devastating cyberattacks. Verizon, Dailymotion, Snapchat, Yahoo and Adult Friend Finder are just a few of the brands that have had their data compromised by hackers, while the ongoing ransomware epidemic continues to affect 20 percent of international organizations.

With data breaches becoming more common among the biggest brands in the world, investing in cybersecurity is as much as about preventing cybercrimes as it is about dealing with the fallout of these incidents. Security experts advise business owners to view data breaches as inevitable. As such, the online security departments at any size company should be as concerned with damage control as they are with taking preventative measures against cyberattacks.

The Cost of Data Breaches

With data breaches increasing in both scale and frequency, the average cost of a data breach has risen by 29 percent over the course of the past three years to $4 million, Another factor that has contributed to increasing costs is the nature and cause of cybersecurity attacks, as half of all breaches resulted from malicious attacks, which cost more to remediate than cybersecurity issues that have resulted from other causes such as employee negligence.

The Importance of Filling Cybersecurity Positions

The average cost per record breached is $158, but it ranges significantly per sector with healthcare records costing $355 and retail records costing $172, according to a report by IBM. To help mitigate these rising figures, businesses are enlisting in cybersecurity professionals.

Appointing a chief information security officer has helped companies save $7 per record from data breaches, while investing in a business community manager saves $9 per record. Using of comprehensive encryption systems and compiling an incident response team have saved businesses nearly $30 per record.

These figures serve as proof that having a comprehensive cyber security plan not only helps to keep companies safe from data breaches in the first place; it also drives down the recovery costs of cyberattacks when they do occur.

Investing in the Development of Cybersecurity

There is a significant shortage of talent in this sector, with only a small percent of IT professionals specializing in cybersecurity. As the cost and frequency of breaches continue to increase, companies are learning the value in investing in the improvement their cybersecurity systems. In addition to enhancing network protection practices, this also means making a greater effort to train and recruit professionals with specialized knowledge and skills.

Companies can look at the example set by Barack Obama’s 35 percent increase in spending on cybersecurity. As part of his Cybersecurity National Action Plan, $62 million will be used to fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in cybersecurity and invest in the establishment of educational programs that will ensure professionals in this field have the necessary expertise to help prevent cyberattacks and deal with their effects on organizations of all sizes.

By placing a similar emphasis on recruitment and training, business owners can strengthen their cybersecurity practices to keep their sensitive data safe and prevent their companies from falling victim to cyberattacks. There are plenty of options, including sponsoring cybersecurity scholarships and sending their own IT staff to pursue additional qualifications in the field.

As cybercrime continues to affect more organizations in various sectors, breaches should be considered unavoidable. So, the importance of expanding the cybersecurity workforce is a crucial lesson to take with us into 2017.

Business owners can no longer afford to neglect the online security needs of their companies and their customers, and investing in recruitment will help to protect organizations across a wide range of sectors from cyberattacks and their resultant financial consequences.

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