Mar 3, 2022
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Industry-Specific Cybersecurity: Why General Measures Aren't Enough

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There can be no doubt that cybersecurity is a significant challenge for businesses of all sizes. As more and more companies go digital and take greater aspects of their operations online, perhaps it is no surprise that criminals have looked for new opportunities to exploit this. 

Indeed it is now the case that almost every business in every industry will have some sort of online presence. Whether this is a direct part of the services and products they offer to customers, or just how they operate internally. And the reality is that any business that has any kind of online presence can be a target for cybercriminals.

The rise of cybercrime has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Interpol describing the advance of cyberattacks coming at “an alarming pace.” So, given this fast rate of change, we should expect to see that the forms of cybersecurity that were once effective can no longer be relied upon to the same extent.

Yes, cybercriminals are more advanced, sophisticated, and well-funded than they have ever been before. As a result, the kind of cybersecurity measures that businesses need to put in place have had to evolve.

It was once the case that the majority of businesses could rely on a good firewall and antivirus solution. This would be enough to keep them safe for the types of cyberattack that they were likely to encounter. Today, things have changed significantly. Indeed, while antivirus and firewall software do still play an important role in cybersecurity, they are not enough on their own.

In the modern world, it is necessary to invest in round-the-clock monitoring, regular testing and assessments, and even high levels of staff training just to ensure that the risk of attacks is mitigated. The next step in this evolution is industries focusing on the specific measures they need to put in place to keep themselves secure.

It is certainly the case that specific industries are more likely to be targeted with specific types of cybercrime. For example, there has been a great deal of coverage of high-profile ransomware attacks in recent years, and this might make businesses feel like they are extremely vulnerable to this type of attack. It could lead to putting in expensive cybersecurity measures to keep this kind of attack at bay.

However, there is evidence to suggest that the vast majority of ransomware attacks affect a fairly small range of industries; principally, those are government, education, and healthcare. This shows that it is extremely important for businesses to think about the specific threats that operate in and around their industry. 

It is only through putting investment into the right forms of cybersecurity that businesses can genuinely keep themselves secure. After all, having elite defenses against ransomware is undoubtedly a good thing, but if this type of attack doesn’t generally target your industry, you are functionally using up valuable cybersecurity resources on something that you may not really need.

It is certainly the case that when a certain type of cybercrime is successful, you are always likely to see imitators. This is unsurprising; just as legitimate businesses follow the trends of their industry, so do criminals. It is human nature to follow the lead of something that has worked in the past, therefore, when we see a business fall victim to a specific type of attack, it is all the more likely that we will see this type of attack used in the future.

For example, a recent trend has seen a number of businesses with a large social media presence being targeted via those platforms. For those companies that do a lot of their marketing through social media, it is important to be aware of this type of social engineering-style attack.

It should be pointed out that not all businesses have the budget or indeed the need to support a full cybersecurity team in-house. However, you do need to have the kind of expertise and experience that can only come from knowledgeable professionals. That’s why it is so important to prioritize working with a high-quality cybersecurity specialist.

Legal software provider Insight Legal set out this importance: “Crucially, [cybersecurity] takes investment, and law firms should adjust their budgets accordingly. It is a good idea to consult with cybersecurity experts to get an idea of the kind of processes, software and staff you need to have in place. This will provide you with the information you need to create a realistic budget.”

Always remember that the cybersecurity professionals you work with need to have an understanding of your industry and the challenges it faces. When you are researching whom to work with, consider companies that have direct experience working with businesses like yours.

It is essential that businesses should not take a one-size-fits-all approach to their cybersecurity. Your business will have specific vulnerabilities and potential weaknesses that are completely unique to you. The only way to overcome this is to personalize your cybersecurity. You can do this by carrying out thorough assessments of the state of your defenses, and then finding ways to mitigate the threats.

Using penetration testing as well as other forms of ethical hacking is a great way to do this. Discovering weaknesses before they can be exploited by cybercriminals is an extremely important way to minimize risk and make it less likely that your organization will suffer serious consequences as a result of an attack.

Ultimately, the best way to be prepared for a cyberattack against your organization is to comprehensively understand how companies in your industry are typically attacked. The best way to do this is by focusing on gathering information specific to the industry that you work in.

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