Jul 21, 2016 - 9:00am

How Will Businesses Prepare for Cyber Threats?

Staff Assistant, National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department

Most people agree that cybersecurity is important. The real question is: How important? What can we do about it?

The challenge with cybersecurity is its complexity. There are several types of malicious actors — hackers, criminal organizations, militants, nation-states, and insiders. There are also endless types of cyber, from phishing scams and ransomware to software vulnerabilities.

Cybercriminals are relentless. They consistently find new ways to break through security systems. And right when you’ve secured one threat, another one pops up—kind of like a bad game of Whack-A-Mole. Even for the most sophisticated and resourced business, it’s impossible to defend against every threat.

But just because cybersecurity is difficult doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel. Cybersecurity impacts all of us. On an individual level, it’s our social media, personal email, and professional email accounts that could be hacked. As consumers, it’s our credit cards and personal information that could be stolen when company data are breached. Similarly, on a corporate level, businesses’ revenue, reputation, and consumer trust that are jeopardized when networks are compromised. And businesses of all types and sizes are being targeted, particularly small businesses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting its Fifth Annual Cybersecurity Summit on Sept. 27 and will explore the cyber threat landscape and discuss hot-button issues like encryption, critical infrastructure cybersecurity, and international adoption of the NIST cybersecurity framework. ​Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ali Mayorkas and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin will discuss these topics and more.

So how do we protect ourselves? There are several strategies that all businesses can and should employ. Good cybersecurity hygiene includes installing firewalls, updating antivirus software, and making sure that employees and company executives change their passwords regularly. Regularly means every 30-45 days. It is also important to train all employees how to identify and avoid phishing emails.

The world is becoming increasingly digitalized and the Internet of Things is encompassing more of our lives. Cyber threats are increasing in sophistication, scale, and frequency. That’s why industry, government, and law enforcement need to continue to work together to become a united force that can respond to cyber threats at internet speed.

For more information, registration, and the current agenda, visit the event website.

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About the Author

About the Author

Staff Assistant, National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department

Klaassen is a staff assistant with the National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.