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Little wonder, then, that risk managers now consider cyberrisk to be the biggest threat to their business. According to a recent McKinsey survey, 75 percent of experts consider cybersecurity to be a top priority. That’s true even of industries like banking and automotive, which one might think would be preoccupied with other enormous risks that have emerged in recent years.

But while awareness is building, so is confusion. Executives are overwhelmed by the challenge. Only 16 percent say their companies are well prepared to deal with cyberrisk. The threat is only getting worse, as growth in most industries depends on new technology, such as artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), that will bring all kinds of benefits but also expose companies and their customers to new kinds of cyberrisk, arriving in new ways.

So what should executives do? Keep calm and carry on? That’s not an option. The threat is too substantial, and the underlying vectors on which they are borne are changing too quickly. To increase and sustain their resilience to cyberattacks, companies must adopt a new posture — comprehensive, strategic and persistent. 3 main gas laws In our work with leading companies across industries and in our conversations with leading experts, we have seen a new approach take root that can protect companies against cyberrisk without imposing undue restrictions on their business.

A global insurance company’s experience indicates the potential. It budgeted $70 million for a comprehensive cybersecurity program. One year later, only a fraction of the planned measures had been implemented. Business units had put pressure on the IT department to prioritize changes they favored, such as a sales campaign and some new reports, at the expense of security measures, such as email encryption and multifactor authentication. The business units also took issue with the restrictions that came with cybersecurity measures, such as the extra efforts that went into data-loss prevention and limitations on the use of third-party vendors in critical areas.

The US government has identified cybersecurity as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” Worldwide, the threat from cyberattacks is growing both in numbers and intensity. Consider these figures: some companies are investing up to $500 million on cybersecurity; worldwide, more than 100 billion lines of code are created annually. Many companies report thousands of attacks every month, ranging from the trivial to the extremely serious. Several billion data sets are breached annually. Every year, hackers produce some 120 million new variants of malware. At some companies, 2,000 people now report to the chief information security officer (CISO) — and he or she in turn reports to the chief security officer (CSO), who has an even larger team.

Paradoxically, most of the companies that fell prey to the likes of NotPetya and WannaCry would probably have said that they were well protected at the time of the attacks. electricity and magnetism study guide 8th grade Even when a company is not a primary target, it’s at risk of collateral damage from untargeted malware and attacks on widely used software and critical infrastructure. And despite all the new defenses, companies still need about 99 days on average to detect a covert attack. Imagine the damage an undetected attacker could do in that time.

While hackers are honing their skills, business is going digital — and that makes companies more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Assets ranging from new product designs to distribution networks and customer data are now at risk. Digital value chains are also growing more complex, using the simplicity of a digital connection to tie together thousands of people, countless applications and myriad servers, workstations and other devices.

Companies may well have a state-of-the-art firewall and the latest malware-detection software. And they might have well-tuned security operations and incident-response processes. But what about third-party suppliers, which might be the weakest link of a company’s value chain? Or the hotshot design studio that has access to the company’s intellectual property (IP)? They may have signed a nondisclosure agreement, but can companies be sure their cybersecurity is up to snuff? The entry point for cyberattackers can be as trivial as a Wi-Fi-enabled camera used to take pictures at a corporate retreat. Some prominent recent cases of IP theft at media companies targeted third-party postproduction services with inferior cybersecurity.

In the past, cyberrisk has primarily affected IT. But as the IoT grows and more companies hook their production systems up to the Internet, operating technology (OT) is coming under threat as well. The number of vulnerable devices is increasing dramatically. b games virus In the past, a large corporate network might have had between 50,000 and 500,000 end points; with the IoT, the system expands to millions or tens of millions of end points.

Unfortunately, many of these are older devices with inadequate security or no security at all and some are not even supported anymore by their maker. By 2020, the IoT may comprise as many as 30 billion devices, many of them outside corporate control. Already, smart cars, smart homes and smart apparel are prone to malware that can conscript them for distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Throwing resources at the problem. Other companies try to spend their way to success, assuming that the threat will go away if they persuade enough high-profile hackers to join the company’s ranks. But even the finest hackers don’t stand a chance at anticipating and fending off tens of thousands of attacks on millions of devices in a complex network.

Treating the problem as a compliance issue. Some companies introduce new cybersecurity protocols and checklists seemingly every other day. But these efforts often bring about an undue focus on formal compliance rather than real resilience. Even when all boxes on the CISO’s checklist are ticked, the company may be no less vulnerable to cyberattacks than before.

Cyberrisk needs to be treated as a risk-management issue, not an IT problem. Cyberrisk is much like any other complex, critical, nonfinancial risk. Key elements of its management include the prioritization of relevant threats, the determination of a company’s risk appetite (its willingness to accept some risk) and the definition of initiatives to minimize risk.

Companies must seek out and mitigate cyberrisk on many levels. gas in california Data, infrastructure, applications, and people are exposed to different threat types and levels. Creating a comprehensive register of all these assets is tedious and time-consuming. Companies should take advantage of automated tools to catalog their assets, the better to focus on those at most risk.

Cyberrisk calls for comprehensive, collaborative governance. Traditionally, many companies distinguish between physical and information security, between IT and OT, between business-continuity management and data protection, and between in-house and external security. In the digital age, these splits are obsolete. Scattered responsibility can put the entire organization at risk. To reduce redundancies, speed up responses and boost overall resilience, companies need to address all parts of the business affected by cyberthreats — which is to say, all parts of the business, and suppliers and customers too. While it may be hard — or even impossible — to protect a company against the most advanced attacks, systematic governance is the best insurance against the bulk of everyday attacks.

Companies that adhere to these principles tend to be much more resilient to most attacks than their peers. 6 gas laws A defense ministry set out to ramp up cyberresilience across its entire organization. Scenario exercises helped increase cyberrisk awareness and instill a sense of urgency, by focusing on the mind-set of potential attackers and the concept of the weakest link in the chain of defense.

Through an extensive training program, this kind of thinking was rolled out to the entire agency, making sure skills were passed on from expert to expert. Throughout, the intelligence unit acted as the stronghold of cybersecurity expertise and the catalyst of change. In parallel, the institution reviewed and adjusted its IT architecture to increase resilience against destructive attacks, such as those that corrupt current data and backups, leading to a nonrecoverable situation.

The new approach also makes better use of cybersecurity resources and funds. Just refocusing investment on truly crucial assets can save up to 20 percent of cybersecurity cost. In our experience, up to 50 percent of a company’s systems are not critical from a cybersecurity perspective. We’ve also seen that the cost of implementing a given security solution can vary by a factor of five between comparable companies, suggesting that many companies are missing out on considerable efficiencies.