In today’s world, C2’s clients expect great HR service, but they also expect it to be delivered quickly and conveniently. That means C2 must remain on the forefront of technology to deliver its payroll, onboarding, benefits enrollment, and recruiting services across various websites and software platforms. With the growing expectation from clients for technological ease comes the increased importance of protecting information that is often shared across multiple servers and software platforms. Compounding the need for information security is the prevalence of hacking, malware, phishing scams, and other types of malicious attempts to steal information or compromise system functionality. Hence, “cybersecurity” has become its own industry. No longer is cybersecurity limited to government agencies, banks, and the largest employers. Every business with a website or company e-mail must be mindful of outside threats and take appropriate measures to protect its company, clients, and employee information from outside threats.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the art of protecting computer systems, networks, proprietary information, and software from theft, corruption, or damage, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Cybersecurity risks are increasing in today’s modern, technology-driven world. Generally poor configuration of cloud services paired with increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals means the risk that organizations might suffer a successful cyber-attack or data breach is on the rise.
Cyber threats can come through any employee within your organization. Entry level employees through C-suite executives should be trained to recognize the most common types of cyber-attacks such as malware and phishing, which often come through e-mails. Other cyber-attacks can directly target your company’s server or pick up sensitive company or employee information from individuals’ use of certain websites or credit cards.

In Europe, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the data protection standard that governments and businesses must follow. The GDPR is generally considered the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations on organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. The regulation went into effect in 2018, and levies harsh fines against those who violate its privacy and security standards, with penalties reaching into the tens of millions of euros.

The United States has opted for a different approach to data protection. Instead of formulating one all-encompassing regulation such as the GDPR, it chose to implement sector specific data protection laws and regulations that work together with state-level legislation to safeguard American citizens’ data. These include:

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a set of standards created to secure protected health information (PHI) by regulating healthcare providers.
  • NIST 800-171, a special publication released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology aimed at protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in non-federal information systems and organizations.
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act or GLBA), also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, that seeks to protect the personal information of consumers stored in financial institutions.
  • The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), a federal law part of the larger E-Government Act of 2002, that made it a requirement for federal agencies to develop, document, and implement an information security and protection program.

While states such as California have a security breach notification law in place, not all states have one. Therein lies the problem with US data protection legislation. Given the number of laws in existence and their differences from state-to-state, some may be up to GDPR standards, while others may not. Even more reason why U.S. employers must take the initiative to implement sufficient cybersecurity measures on their own to ensure the integrity of their company, employee, and client information.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

With increased technological capabilities, so increases the importance of Cybersecurity. Fundamentally, our society is more technologically reliant than ever before and there is no sign that this trend will slow. Personal data that could result in identity theft can be stolen by hackers and posted to the public on social media accounts. Sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card information and bank account details are now stored in cloud storage services, which are susceptible to hackers unless proper cybersecurity measures are taken.

Cybersecurity is no longer a concern just for large companies. It should be a concern for every business, but particularly for small and mid-sized businesses. The reason is that smaller businesses tend to be less technologically sophisticated and utilize fewer cybersecurity measures than their larger brethren who have more resources at their disposal. But hackers and malware do not just target large companies, they target every organization. Thus, the size of your organization matters far less than the types of technology your employees and clients utilize. Not every cybersecurity measure need be undertaken by every organization. However, the organization’s cybersecurity measures should be dictated by the types of servers and software the company uses — not by how large they are.

Cybercrime is Increasing

Cybercrime is increasing because more and more of our society revolves around technology and because the technological advances being made often outpace the backside protections used to stave off cyber criminals. That is why a whole industry has sprung up surrounding identity theft and data protection. Services such as Equifax and Transunion no longer just provide credit scores, they sell identity theft protection services (as do a whole host of other companies) that monitor your personal or business information usage across multiple technology platforms for any suspicious activity.

Information theft is the most expensive and fastest growing segment of cybercrime. Largely driven by the increasing exposure of personal, identifying information to the web via cloud services, social media, and online purchasing. But it is not the only target. Social engineering remains the easiest form of cyber-attack with ransomware and phishing being the easiest form of entry. “Social engineering” is the term used for a broad range of malicious activities accomplished through human interactions. It uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information (e.g., clicking on a link in an email from a sender masquerading as your boss). Third-party and fourth-party vendors who process your data and have poor cybersecurity practices are another common target, making vendor risk management and third-party risk management all the more important. Older generations are also more at risk to be victims of cybercrime, since the majority are typically not as familiar with modern day technology as their younger counterparts.

What is the Potential Impact of Cybercrime?

Failing to deploy adequate cybersecurity protections can damage your business in a range of ways, including such as economic costs, reputational costs, and regulatory costs. From an economic perspective, organizations risk theft of intellectual property, corporate information, disruption to client relationships or business transactions, and the cost of repairing software or systems compromised by cyber-attacks. Reputational losses can include loss of client trust, loss of current and future customers to competitors and poor media coverage. While regulatory costs can include fines or sanctions from various state, federal, or overseas regulatory bodies resulting from your organization’s failure to prevent, report, or timely respond to a cyberattack that compromises personal identifying information.

Conclusion

At C2, we take robust measures to ensure that our company and client information remains secure. All companies, no matter their size, should do the same. Implementing appropriate technological security measures, along with training employees to recognize common cybersecurity attacks such as phishing and social engineering scams is simply a must, especially in today’s modern age where cybercrime has become so prevalent.

C2 provides strategic HR outsourcing to clients who want to develop optimal workforce strategies and solutions to allow them to be more competitive and profitable. C2 blog posts are intended for educational and informational purposes only.