For over a decade, many enterprises in different sectors have been heavily investing in their digital transformation. During the past months, the COVID19 pandemic outbreak has accelerated this transformation, as most companies had to reduce their physical activities to the bare minimum, while often replacing them with digital processes. This increased digitalization is a source of unprecedented opportunities for innovative activities that boost enterprise competitiveness, increase corporate agility, and enable companies to achieve more at a lesser cost. Nevertheless, this rapid digitalization comes with new challenges: Digital infrastructures and services are in several cases susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. The latter can cause significant disruptions to corporate operation and lead to financial losses. This is evident in recent security incidents like the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 and the Mirai botnet in 2016. These incidents caused considerable downtimes to important internet sites and led to notorious financial damage. In this context, enterprises must develop an in-depth understanding of modern cybersecurity challenges and plan for effectively confronting them.
Despite rising enterprise investments in cybersecurity systems and services, cybercrime incidents are on the rise. This is largely due to the proliferation of possible ways for conducting cybercrime. It is also due to that there is no easy way to eliminate cybergangs. Specifically, most enterprises are nowadays confronted with the following challenges:
The COVID19 pandemic has intensified these challenges: Physical activities were reduced, and an increased number of digital services were launched. Moreover, the pandemic manifested the importance of digital infrastructures to the trustworthiness of business operations. In this context, enterprises can no longer afford to treat cybersecurity as a defensive investment without a clear Return on Investment (ROI). Rather, they must prioritize cybersecurity investments as a vital element of smooth business operations. Nevertheless, as security budgets are always limited, there is a need for taking educated and effective decisions about security investments.
Considering the IT and business landscape in 2021, businesses had better consider the following factors when planning their cybersecurity investments:
In an era where cybercrime incidents are on the rise, enterprises have no other option than strengthening their cybersecurity defence. In this direction, cybersecurity investments must be viewed as a vital element of an organization’s resilience and business continuity planning. The final cybersecurity decisions should be taken with the engagement of security experts and the business management of the enterprise, ideally involving senior managers and C-level executives as well. In 2021 enterprises must not only see the digital opportunities. They must also confront emerging security threats as well. The above-listed guidelines aim at contributing to this direction.
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