As we bask in the holiday season this year, I would like to give a nod to all my colleagues (and competition!) for continuing to do everything we can to keep networks running, data safeguarded and industry chugging along at a clip. All these enhanced cybersecurity solutions, next-level technologies, and evolving threat protections are truly gifts that just keep giving.
In 2021, more than 60% of SMBs were the target of cyber attacks. That’s pretty scary stuff that leaves industry feeling vulnerable and, averaged out, costs US companies between $4 million-$9 million a pop. I take solace though in knowing that those numbers would be much worse but not for the advanced technology and goliath efforts by the cybersecurity industry.
Not to pat myself and my cybersecurity associates on the back, but I think the average person would be shocked at just how enormous the cyberthreat dragon truly is. Not only does the industry constantly seek to slay this behemoth, but we do so with the knowledge that many organizations could do exponentially better in protecting themselves in the first place. In our dragon analogy, I would liken this to folks feeding the cybercrime beast by hand, then being shocked when it bites them – or worse, goes all scorched earth on their technology and data.
Annual costs related to cybersecurity research and development are massive. Microsoft alone spends upward of $1 billion a year on cybersecurity R&D, the Department of Homeland Security requested a $2.6 billion for its 2022 cyber budget, and venture capital in the cybersecurity space shattered records in 2021 with a whopping $29.5 billion in funding.
It all seems like a pretty impressive show of force until you realize cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, with damages expected to hit around the $7 trillion mark globally in 2022. So while the cybersecurity sector is putting in a herculean effort, the industry is challenged by the sheer scope of threats, the increased sophistication of bad actors, and even a volatile employment dynamic that for years has seen a 0% unemployment rate in the cybersecurity sector. In short, the problem keeps getting worse and we need more people to help.
I know, I know. This all sounds like a lot of gloom and doom. And, if you read most of what I write about, you know I hate using scare tactics and frightening scenarios to get people to take all this cybersecurity stuff seriously.
So let’s instead look at cybersecurity as a gift that a whole lot of very smart people have worked really hard to give you.
I could write a list here of the top 10 steps you should be doing to keep you and your organization protected, but suffice to say, it all starts with education on cyberthreats and solutions, and a solid cybersecurity strategy.
If we have learned anything in the last few years, it is that health and safety are gifts that none of us should take for granted. The same applies to your data and technology.
As I reflect back during this holiday season, I am so proud of and grateful for the valiant efforts of the cybersecurity sector. And while I can’t stick a bow on it, it’s a gift just the same.
Stig Ravdal is the President & Founder of Ravdal, Inc., a leading cybersecurity company. He is an expert in the fields of cybersecurity strategy and technology solutions, and is available for speaking engagements.