When it comes to cybersecurity, not all business segments should be treated equally. Most businesses make the mistake of having a general focus on the general security well-being. Hackers have evolved and will target specific business segments. This is not to say that there are business departments that hackers have no interest in. All I am saying is that the risks are varied.
Cybersecurity risks continue to increase and wreak havoc across multiple businesses and industries. However, it is also vital to understand that hackers focus more on specific business segments than others. Therefore, as you lay down your data security strategy, you must understand which business segments are more susceptible to cyber-attacks. This article explains eight business departments that will need extra security to help prevent data threats.
1. Marketing Segment
Most businesses have now resolved to work with data-driven marketing. As Mark Flahart Puts it, "Arguably, the most important evolution in the history of marketing is the ability to understand what data you have, what data you can get, how to organize and, ultimately, how to activate the data."
Marketers have realized the power of data and are leveraging customer data to craft marketing strategies. However, although data-driven marketing tactics are beneficial to both the company and the consumers, they also pose security threats that could leave customers' sensitive data increasingly exposed to data security threats.
Most marketing teams prefer using Data Management Platforms for the collection and management of consumer data. The Data Management Platforms are used to profile, analyze and target online consumers. Hackers are looking to have information stored in these databases, and marketers have a role in securing this information.
Most marketers will argue that the role of database security and management is outside the scope of their functions. For this reason, companies should pioneer the use of SSL certificates. Companies should buy SSL certificates that will encrypt the communication between the web browser and the client servers. Additionally, Autonomous databases that provide automated security upgrades and prevent external attacks will also be ideal. As you leverage data analytics to improve your marketing strategies, you must adhere to the best security practices.
2. Financial Services Segment
Despite the many measures that have been put in place to protect it from cyber attacks, the finance sector still makes up a significant portion (35%) of all data breaches. It acts as the repository for all the business's funds, and where there is money, there are hackers. Some of the most rampant cyber-attack threats that face the finance sector include the following;
- Distributed Denial of Service Attacks
- Web application vulnerabilities
- Data theft and data manipulations
- Global operations risks
- Insider threats
- Third-Fourth-Fifth party vendors' risks.
These attacks come with devastating impacts that could bring down the entire business within minutes. Note that the finance sector is the powerhouse of any business, and any compromises such as data breaches that target it could be detrimental.
3. Accounting Department
Accounting departments carry very confidential information that hackers find lucrative. With the digital revolution, accounting is no longer a physical function requiring physical calculations and paperwork. Instead, everything has been computerized, and CPAs need to ensure that sensitive accounting data is kept safe at all times.
The consequences of a data security breach to the Accounting Information Systems can be very devastating. For instance, when irreplaceable accounting data is changed or modified by a hacker, the whole accounting department will go into mayhem. In addition, the reliability and integrity of available accounting data would be in question.
Cybersecurity to the accounting department should start with physical security. You must keep the systems and servers safe from any insecurity elements. Ensure that you install an SSL certificate to protect accounting data as it moves between networks. With encryption, you do not have to spend an arm and a leg for an SSL certificate. Just buy a cheap SSL certificate, and you will be good to go. Additionally, you should also ensure that you protect the servers with strong authentication.
4. IT Department
The major cybersecurity challenge associated with the IT department is the human factor. For instance, IT personnel may take cybersecurity too lightly to the extent of making it susceptible to attacks. The recent WannaCry ransomware attack is a perfect example that shows how the human factor played a huge role in creating a ransomware epidemic that left many businesses vulnerable to site security threats.
All businesses should hire responsible and informed IT personnel to help them in the fight against cyber insecurities. IT teams are the cornerstone that holds the entire cybersecurity strategy together. All personnel in the IT team should also be warned against malicious actions that could make the business susceptible to cyberattacks.
5. Social Media Platforms and Dedicated Apps
Most companies strive to have a social media presence. Unfortunately, hackers are taking advantage of this trend and are targeting social media platforms. A Statista report reveals that in 2019 alone, 33% of all organizations globally were victims of 1-10 social media attacks. From this stat, it is crystal clear that companies' social media platforms are not safe.
If your business has social media accounts, you should protect yourself against social media security threats. For example, it would be best to note imposter accounts and prevent malware attacks and hacks targeting your social media accounts. In addition, you must use 2-step authentication alongside solid and unique passwords when signing in to your social media accounts.
6. Manufacturing Segment
The manufacturing industry has also become attractive to hackers, especially in the recent past, because they feature several characters that make them susceptible to data breaches and site security threats. The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index puts the manufacturing sector as the second most vulnerable sector to data breaches. As a result, every business should now focus on protecting the manufacturing sector.
Ransomware is one of the most rampant data threats that is affecting the manufacturing sector. For example, in June 2017, Merck, a leading Pharmaceutical company, lost over $270 million because of a ransomware attack that crippled its manufacturing process.
A single data breach is capable of bringing down the whole manufacturing process and exposing all the intellectual properties of your business. In addition, malware attacks can cause machinery malfunctions and possible explosions. All these can impact the general well-being of your company. Data breaches will affect the production process and impair other sectors such as the production sector. Manufacturing equipment is not always compatible with security firewalls or antivirus software, so they are more susceptible to cyber-attacks.
7. The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things emerged as a mere concept in the early years of the 21st century. However, IoT is now prevalent and has become a vital element of every business. Statista projects that there will be 75.44 billion IoT devices by 2025.
Although IoT platforms are doing all they can to secure IoT devices, businesses have a role to play. Unfortunately, most businesses often overlook the security element of the Internet of Things, offering a ripe surface for hackers to conduct security breaches. Hackers and cyber attackers are becoming clever day after day and are laying security traps to hack into IoT devices. For instance, malware attacks targeting IoT have become very prevalent. Although a single malware attack can have little impact on IoT, a collection of them can quickly bring down your business.
Other security threats associated with the Internet of Things include the following;
- Industrial Espionage & Eavesdropping
- Data integrity risks.
- Rogue IoT Devices
- Crypto mining With IoT Bots
Businesses should start paying attention to the security of all IoT devices if they have to protect them against security vulnerabilities. There are several security measures for IoT systems that you can install to protect your devices from security risks.
Most Cybersecurity topics online tend to pay much attention to industries, governmental and non-governmental agencies. However, business owners should understand the essence of the sector-wise cybersecurity strategy. In addition, there are specific sectors that require extra cybersecurity efforts. This article has explained seven sectors that business owners should pay attention to when it comes to cybersecurity.