Often construed as merely being an IT function, cybersecurity is a far greater, expansive and specialist field of practice, involving the protection and defence of computers, servers, cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices. Cyberattacks can affect electronic systems, networks, programs and at the heart of it all – data. These attacks are typically aimed at accessing, altering, or destroying data and particularly data of a sensitive nature.
Today, governments, organisations and the personal lives of individuals are inexplicably intertwined with technology. From email correspondence and financial transactions, to professional networking and collaborative work documents – we rely on technology to be connected at all times and conduct our personal and professional lives effectively.
All organisations own assets, including that of intellectual property and it is prudent to know and understand what it is, so as to know what your protectable assets and interest are. The impact of a cybersecurity breach can generally be categorised as follows: financial, legal and reputational. Of the three former forms of losses, the economic cost of a cyberattack is the most quantifiable and possibly the most significant. Such attacks often result in substantial financial loss and organisations can incur further losses in the form of payment of costs associated with rectifying and securing affected systems, networks and devices.
The manner in which we use technology plays a tremendous part in its susceptibility to exploitation by malicious actors. Take a mobile phone or laptop – you may regard the device, in of itself to be relatively secure, however, if you connect it to a vulnerable public WiFi connection then, who knows what may happen?
All organisations, no matter its size, need to ensure that each of its members across all commercial units of its ecosystem, are aware, well-informed and up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats and employ best practises for data protection at all times. A dedicated and specialist team of cybersecurity personnel can be empowered through the allocation of resources (both human and financial) with sufficient budgetary investment from the organisation. Further, regular staff training sessions, distribution of informational circulars, as well as adopting and implementing a cyber-resilience governance framework, which is aligned with your organisation’s strategy, will serve to best mitigate against and defend your organisation against cyberattacks and data breaches.
Let’s continue to create awareness. THIS is the fuss.
Luna de Lange is Partner Attorney and Sectional Head of the Estates and Succession Planning Department at KARM.