What are you up to today? Anything nice? When the alarm went off at silly o clock this morning did you jump out
of bed, run 5 miles, eat a perfectly balanced breakfast and then get into the office early to continue your journey up the career ladder? If you did, then congratulations I’m right behind you. What about your boss, what get them up and moving this morning? Or your work colleagues, or your friends? Essentially what is your motivation?
Although many will find it difficult to admit the motivation is usually money. Making enough money to live a relatively comfortable life – depending on what your definition of that is. You will put up with a few stresses, annoyances and complications just as long as at the end of the month your pay packet arrives. Did you know that a cyber-criminal is motivated by the same? The vast majority of cyber-crimes are financially motivated. Sure there are those intent on a morale crusade, and there is the state sponsored attacks but scour any statistical report that is looking into the motivation behind cyber-attacks and it all comes down to making money.
Obtaining intellectual property – that can be sold and money made from it. How about getting personal details – that can be used fraudulently to obtain money by either stealing it using the stolen credentials or by taking out lines of credit, sucking it dry and then leaving the victim to pick up the pieces. Cyber criminals will also undertake what is called ‘data aggregation’ where they can obtain a piece of information from one place, say a work environment, then cross reference it with public records and a social media footprint to develop profiles of individuals. This is worth a lot more money on the black market.
Now here is the issue. The motivation of a cyber-criminal, or criminal gang to steal information will be far higher than the motivation of individuals or businesses to protect it. Individuals and businesses are busy, they have work to do, they are focused on improving their life or expanding their business. It is simply impossible for them to have enough time and effort to address the ever shifting sands of cyber-crime. But then do they equally have the time and effort to address their physical security needs? Chances are they don’t they have more than likely got a security company in to look after that sort of thing. Tending to the alarms, monitoring the cameras, keeping an eye on any unwarranted access to sensitive areas of the premises. It wasn’t always like this. There was time when companies went through the pain of finding a trust third party that would remove the burden of their physical security needs. That third party company lives and breathes security and is motivated, like all companies, by business success.
Now is the time to treat your cyber security issues in the same way. Become motivated to find a third party provider who is motivated themselves to protect your critical digital assets. Like their physical security counterparts, they will stay up to speed on threats, they will get your company secure, they will monitor and observe the internal, external and accidental cyber threats. It continues to surprise me that the business issues raised by cyber threat strike a familiar note of familiarity with issues that have been resolved in the past, so treat it that way. As one consultant told me recently, if cyber threat management is ‘non-core’ to your business, then outsource it, like other business support services.
Finding a trusted cyber security outsourcer may make many non-technical managers start to break out in a cold sweat, but here’s a little tip for you. You may already have a company who looks after some or all of your IT needs, start with them, but just ask them one question. Ask them if they have Cyber Essentials Certification, preferably the Cyber Essentials Plus that has been externally audited. If they do, then it proves that they have been motivated to take their own advice and become secure. If they don’t then look elsewhere. These third parties are already prevalent at the top tier of business providing complete cyber security solutions and it is starting to move down into the SME business sector. Cyber criminals will continue to be motivated to obtain money, get somebody on your side who is motivated to keep them at bay, so you can remain motivated to do what you do best.