It's time we understand the true costs of cybersecurity with concrete numbers
All the talk about data breaches and the impending doom of cyber attacks probably has a lot of people skeptical. Today it is my mission to turn you into a believer. The problem is here, the impact is growing, and it will affect you. PWC reported in The Global State of Information Security 2016, “The number of people who reported exploits of operational, embedded, and consumer systems increased 152% over the year before.” In addition, the report claims there has been a 36% increase in attack on mobile devices, a 30% increase for embedded devices, and a 29% increase for consumer technologies. All of this points to a world that is seeing the ramifications of rapid technology growth. While it makes our lives easier it also means that new aspects of our lives are open to attack. This may be slightly disturbing but what does it mean me economically? A whole lot it turns out. From 2015 to 2016 the annual spending on information security increased to $81.6 billion, an increase of nearly 8% (Gartner 2016). This means that companies have security on their mind which leads to the question: What are they up against?
The FBI reported that ransomware attacks alone cost businesses in the United States upwards of $209 million in the first 3 months of 2016 (Forbes 2017). This is a small drop in the bucket as the real costs of cyber attacks can vastly exceed the money extorted to decrypt files. Companies need to factor in the cost of potential downtime as servers or other computer hardware is inaccessible as well as damages caused to reputation. Clearly, once you begin to consider the true cost of a data breach or phishing scheme the billions spent on information security begin to seem like drops in the bucket. This figure seems especially insignificant as cyber security incidents are projected to cost $2 trillion by 2019 (Juniper Research). This may be disheartening to hear however early detection is the key to treating any disease. Firms that invest early in technology and business strategies that put cyber security at the forefront have the best chance weathering the daily storm of attacks.