Why is Cybersecurity Important?

The answer to the question “Why is cybersecurity important?” might seem simple enough, considering the number of cyberthreats is growing in a big way.  As a result, it’s no surprise that it’s an inquiry getting asked more frequently–and the knowledge behind it is something that investors in the sector should be aware of.

For starters, a proliferation of cyberattacks is causing increasing damage to companies, governments and individuals. Take the WannaCry attacks that happened in May 2017 as a significant example: the ransomware inscribed itself on roughly 300,000 computers and other digital software in over 150 countries, later called the “largest such cyber assault of its kind.”  Putting it simply, organizations need to respond to this increased threat by adopting strict cybersecurity measures.

In this article, the Investing News Network (INN) breaks down the three main answers to the question: “why is cyber security important?” Together, the expanding number of cyber attacks, the increasing severity of these assaults and the amount of money companies are spending on cyber security illustrate why it is such an important market.

Why is cybersecurity important? Increasing threats

As noted above, the number of cybersecurity attacks is increasing every year. From the period between 2013-2015, it was reported that the cost of cybercrimes quadrupled–with those numbers falling anywhere between $400 billion and as high as $500 billion during that time.

In a Cybersecurity Ventures report on cybercrimes, the firm projects the cost of cyberthreats to rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021, which includes everything from damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post -attack disruption to businesses, forensic investigation, restoration and deleted hacked data and systems, to name a few.  What investors might not know is the rising threat of cyberattacks on medical devices–which is expected to reach $101 billion by 2018.

On that note, in an interview with INN, Dr. Alissa Johnson–CSIO of Xerox and former Deputy CIO at the White House, said that in order to prevent cybersecurity attacks,  it’s important to remember the basics.

“Security is not just the responsibility of the security team, but as we’re learning and realizing–especially with all the spear phishing attacks–security is everyone’s responsibility,” she said.

Why is cybersecurity important? Severity of attacks

However, it isn’t just the number of cybersecurity attacks that is increasing. The degree of these attacks is on the rise as well. According to PwC’s report, these attacks are “becoming progressively destructive and target a broadening array of information and attack vectors.”

Politicians are at risk. Obama’s administration proposed a $19 billion budget for cybersecurity. Hillary Clinton’s private emails became front page news in the midst of her presidential campaign, underscoring the importance of a strong cybersecurity policy.

In May 2017, current President Donald Trump signed an executive order with a focus on improving cybersecurity in the US–particularly for the country’s infrastructure systems and federal information technology networks.

On that that note, in late August eight out of 28 members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, who are oversee the country’s response to cyberthreats, resigned.

According to BNA, those that resigned said, the Trump administration had paid “insufficient attention to the growing threats to cybersecurity of critical systems.”

BNA had previously reported that the “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure” gives the heads of federal agencies responsibility for managing cyber threats–which still holds true, although is slightly eerie now, given recent the recent events.

Why is cybersecurity important?  Future outlook

Looking ahead, PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2017 states that 59 percent of GSISS respondents say “digitization of their business ecosystems has impacted” security budgets. As these statistics show, cybersecurity is a very important area worthy of commitment, and companies are responding accordingly.

Struggle between increased needs and limited funding is however characteristic of the cybersecurity industry. Hopefully, more and more companies, government departments and organizations are recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, and are allocating funds accordingly.