Don’t bury head in sand on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not always top of mind for companies.

Sometimes it takes a heavy-hitting news story with details about a massive breach for leaders to stop and assess their internal controls. Sometimes it takes an employee opening a hacker’s phishing expedition and a system getting corrupted to move the cybersecurity issue front and center.

Abacus IT Solutions held a seminar Tuesday morning to present key cybersecurity findings and encourage business leaders to keep the issue in the forefront so Birmingham companies are not the next nationwide news story.

One key element presented was for business leaders, owners and employees to not be complacent or bury their heads in the sand. Brian Jackson, president and CEO of Abacus, emphasized it is not intrusive to ask a third-party vendor or company that you are working with about its cybersecurity. However, the latest data shows that only 18 percent of companies access third-party cyber risks.

Data also shows:

• 99 percent of system vulnerabilities were known for at least one year.

• There’s a 90 percent probability of exploitation 40 to 60 days after discovering an issue.

• In the first quarter of 2016, $209 million was paid out in ransomware.

• 71 percent of cyberattacks occur at businesses with less than 100 employees.

The ramifications are huge, though, if a breach takes place, and businesses could easily lose both current and future customers. Data shows 20 percent of people would definitely stop using a company if that company’s security was breached, and 57 percent would consider stopping services with that company.

Hackers are getting more savvy, but technical solutions are also evolving and becoming more enhanced. Bigger companies that have strong holds on their systems and technical support can fend off an attack, but often what happens is hackers turn their attention to the company the next size down.

But, big or small, cybersecurity team on staff or not, if companies remember the fundamentals of internet safety and practice them, there is a solid defense in place.


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