24 Feb 2022

Did Rapid Adoption of Digital Increase Risk?

Our world and businesses are only growing more digitised, especially in the wake of the pandemic. However, the threats facing those of us who are unprepared are substantial. Did you know that the average material cost for cyber security breaches is £8,460?

Although digitisation increases our potential, it also exposes us to risk. And for those of us in the defence sector, mitigating risk is our top priority. DCI Cyber Essentials prepares organisations to meet the threats head-on, preventing damages and material losses. Keep reading to learn more about digital risk and how DCI helps businesses mitigate these risks.

How the Pandemic Forced Rapid Uptake

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an era of uncertainty. Businesses closed offices, governments issued lockdowns, and the economy stalled. To keep things moving, companies rapidly switched to remote and work-from-home options. The rapid uptake of digital and remote tools opened the door to cybersecurity risks.

Because the pandemic’s impacts occurred so rapidly, businesses had little time to vet and tool remote solutions. As a result, many organisations adopted strategies that did not have ample security. A lack of worker training or established policy also compounded these problems.

Had businesses been more prepared, perhaps they would have been able to mitigate some of these issues. 48% of businesses took zero action to prevent attacks. Adopting digital assets might have gone smoother had companies had time to craft policy. With a rushed timeline came an increased risk for threats.

Those of us in the defence sector faced the same issues. However, security threats are far more severe due to the critical nature of our industry. The potential for harm doesn’t include one business but entire countries.

The Rising Threats Throughout Lockdown

Between April and June 2020, there were over 177,000 cyberattacks on UK businesses. The volume of attacks on file-sharing services (which had become essential during the lockdowns) grew by over 27% in the same period. Attackers adapted to the changing field quicker than companies. The increased attack surface rippled throughout every industry.

One threat that grew in severity during the lockdowns was Ransomeware, up by 106%! This attack targets and encrypts files, preventing companies from accessing or using them. Attackers also released files and data online.

Scams and phishing attempts have increased as well, accounting for half of all cyberattacks in the UK. These attacks target untrained and unsuspecting employees. The increase in the digital workforce increases the potential for these attacks to succeed. Businesses without policy or training will fall victim to these threats.

State-sponsored attacks have also entered the spotlight. These types of attacks carry the most significance for us in the defence industry and it is important to understand the synergy between private firms and government in defence. Our partnerships create a higher likelihood of attacks. If we fail to respect the threat, we may end up involved in a critical data breach like the SolarWinds hack in 2020.

What Defence Had to Say

The Ministry of Defence continues to increase emphasis on cybersecurity. One of their primary focuses has been on ‘designing-out’ vulnerabilities in both hardware and software. The MoD wants solutions that address a whole class of threats, not just a singular vector.

This effort isn’t being spearheaded by the UK alone. The US and NATO are actively engaged in assessing and counteracting cyber-attacks. One of their key concerns is how technology and its attack vectors develop. Due to the rapid pace of innovation, it remains challenging to research and adapt in time to new threats.

The US Department of Defense also recognises its partnerships. With the private sector having an increased role, the government has grown their partnerships and funding. The US government has increased its spending in this arena. Its defence contractors are researching new ways to insulate their digital assets.

How to Future-proof Your Business when Introducing Digital

No matter your business, security should be one of your top concerns. For those of us in the defence industry, it’s a requirement. If we fail to meet minimum requirements, we’ll be unable to compete for government contracts.

Understanding Threats

The first step to future-proofing your business is understanding the myriad of digital threats. From phishing to ransomware, attackers exploit poor infrastructure and unsuspecting employees. Before we can mitigate any threats, we must know how they come about.

Make a Plan

Once we know the threats and their vectors, we can plan for digitisation. Each implementation of hardware and software solutions should be researched. Industry standards should also be used when crafting company policies and employee training.

Get Certified

After planning for implementation, certification is the next step. For those in the defence industry, certifications are necessary to secure contracts and attract talent.

Ongoing Education

Certifications and solutions alone aren’t enough. Ongoing education on digital trends is necessary. The industry moves quickly, and to stay future-proofed, we must continue to stay abreast of current trends. Ignoring evolving threats and vectors leaves us open to attack.

Avoiding Risk

Continuing education isn’t the only factor in avoiding risk. Companies should also have well-staffed and trained IT departments. All the training and policy in the world won’t prevent every issue. A functional IT department can identify and prevent weak points and bolster networking security.

DCI Cyber Essentials

There is no denying that the threat posed by cybercriminals is an ever-growing problem. Furthermore, when unexpected events such as the pandemic throw such curve balls at us, we must anticipate that our lines of defence might be placed under stress.

At DCI, our goal is to support defence and security for world governments. We partner with businesses to help them grow their presence in this market, from intelligence to certifications.

If you’re a business looking to work with the likes of the MoD, you’ll want to ensure that your systems are watertight – and there’s no better way to do that than through DCI cyber essentials.