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The Role of Cyber Security Consultants in Today’s Era

It was barely a few years ago, that the world woke up to the threat of ‘ransomware,’ thanks to the unpleasant introduction of the ‘WannaCry’ virus onto the systems of many organizations, all over the world due to the lack of cyber security on various systems, thereby making them vulnerable to exploitation.

Ransomware, as the very term implies, effectively hijacks the system’s data and demands a ransom for its release. In case the ransom is not paid within a specific period of time, it is doubled. And, if no payments are made after the second deadline has passed, the data is erased by the hackers.

As a matter of fact, creators of this particularly odious virus were so bold that they even allowed the owner of the infected system to take a ‘peek’ at some of his own data files to see that they were all there. Just like a real-world kidnapper allowing a victim’s family members to have ‘one last phone call’ with the kidnapped victims.

Many hospitals that needed access to the files of critically ill patients ended up forking out the ransom amount to ensure that their critical services remained operational.

Such ‘easy money’ has only served to further embolden similar attackers, and now it is a ‘free for all’ as increasingly sophisticated hackers use cutting-edge tools and technology to constantly probe for weaknesses in vulnerable systems to further their nefarious cases and activities.

This is the part where ‘cybersecurity’ comes into the picture. Since it encompasses a whole gamut of preventive measures to ensure that such an eventuality does not come to pass.

o The role of cybersecurity in today’s age of universal digital transformation

With time, more companies and organizations embrace the various rapidly developing technologies such as big data, cloud, the Internet of Things as well as the easy access of data on handheld mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Therefore, Cybersecurity is no more the afterthought it had hitherto been.

Rather, in today’s increasingly fast-paced digital age, the focus has now shifted from securing various network perimeters of the information technology environment of an organization to safeguarding data that may be spread across multiple devices, systems, as well as the cloud.

o Emerging technologies and their impact on overall cybersecurity

Several cutting-edge technologies such as the IoT or the ‘internet of things’, big data analytics, the upcoming blockchain technology, the security risks of digital currencies, and the increasing use of mobile computing have combined to effectively reinvent the way various companies handle their tasks from mission-critical decision making to customer service, on a day to day basis.

As a matter of fact, the rampant automation of all business processes, along with the increasing digitalization of services and processes and their inter-connectedness across the value chain creates a lot of agility

At the same time, many such innovations can also significantly raise the cybersecurity-related risks as well as the threat levels. Should such cybersecurity be breached in any way, the effect may turn out to be calamitous for the entire organization.

The all-important key to addressing many of these cybersecurity threats and risks is to effectively build security into the hardware of these connected devices as well as the software. This is not very easy to do since different viruses and malicious codes are consistently being developed by savvy hackers who are as good at their unsavoury tasks as they are unethical.

However, here the age-old refrain that ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’, is still as true today as when the phrase was coined.

No organization can truly afford to treat cybersecurity as a piecemeal activity. Rather, it has to take into account each and every aspect of the security paradigm. Ranging from teaching the staff members of the organization, the importance of keeping personal information (passwords and login IDs) hidden to weeding out the vulnerabilities of the system through periodic vulnerability assessments as well as determined penetration tests.

o Conclusion

In the light of the above, it would not be wrong to state that cybersecurity is one of the single most critical aspects of any company’s information and communication technology environment, and should it be penetrated in any way, the potential of loss can be exceedingly horrific, to say the least.