Internet security concerns among businesses are at an all-time high, and addressing them will take strategic foresight and leadership. The public’s attention is frequently drawn to headlines around largescale data breaches, like the hacks of 32 million Twitter passwords or the latest episodes from a popular TV series. While such stories do highlight the seriousness of internet security, the issue goes far beyond these albeit shocking examples.

In the last year alone 64% of respondents in the CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust expressed concerns over their online privacy, up from 57% in 2016. And the public has a right to be worried. To take a prescient example, according to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, the number of ransomware detections has risen by over 35% since 2015. The devastating nature of these particular attacks was brought into all too real focus with the temporary shutdown of the UK’s National Health Service computer systems in May.  In this, and similar attacks, a common trend emerges; businesses and organizations being woefully unprepared to face cybersecurity threats.

Given this environment of increasing threats and concerns, what can businesses do to ensure the safety of their operations?

The first and easiest answer is to start taking these threats seriously. It’s an unfortunate quirk of human nature to rationalize away unpleasant realities until they personally affect an individual. In businesses this quirk is taken to an even higher level, with many organizations failing to prepare for threats until it’s too late. Business leaders need to fight this tendency in order to strategically lead their organizations, preparing them to confront threats before it’s too late.  In other words, think and act preventatively, not reactionary.

In Ernst and Young’s latest annual Global Information Security Survey, 62% of polled organizations said that they would not increase cybersecurity spending after a data breach that did not seem to cause any harm. A full 86% also think that their cybersecurity function does not meet their organization’s needs. This speaks to a lack of a strategic preventative plan in the majority of businesses. Given the potential severity of data breaches, this thinking is shortsighted to say the least. When one attack can shut down entire healthcare systems, or put at risk millions of users’ data, it’s dangerous to take on a wait and see attitude. Even for smaller businesses not dealing with such largescale operations, a data breach can be devastating. As the old adage goes, the best offense is a good defense.

There are plenty of different options on the market, and the best strategy will be a combination of tools that address different areas of vulnerability. Even smaller businesses can access effective tools for firewalls, spam filters, and antivirus software like the popular products offered by Norton or McAfee. These types of tools are well known, but one often overlooked area of cybersecurity is the internal communication channel within an organization. Many businesses opt for cheap or free publically available IM software for their employee to employee communication. However, these freeware apps provide no real level of data encryption, leaving businesses vulnerable. The best workaround is for businesses to invest in their own private messaging network with full data encryption, such as Brosix Instant Messenger. In this way a business’s day to day communication is fully protected.

In the end, the best way to prepare is to keep the issue on a business’s leadership agenda. As the nature of threats changes, business leaders need to make sure that their organizations are staying abreast of developments and adjusting their approach as necessary. Cybersecurity is an issue brought to the forefront with largescale attacks, but otherwise easily overlooked when the headlines disappear. Without a strategic approach, that utilizes multiple tools to address security concerns, businesses will continue to simply wait for the threat to come to them.

I`m a digital enthusiast, specializing in helping businesses growth. Besides my passion about digital marketing, I`m avid fan of football and love to dance.

About the Author:

Rupesh Singh is freelance writer and founder of moneyoutline.com You can follow him on Google + & Facebook.