Cyber Security: the opportunity and risks of digitalization

5 min

The shift from analog to digital has generated a flood of opportunities for companies related to data analytics. However, it was obvious that the presence of so much confidential information on the web was tempting to web criminals. Identity theft, password access, and duplication of sensitive data are just some of the threats you can protect against with Cyber Security. Let’s look at the opportunities and risks of digitization and how you can ensure Cyber Security in your company.

Antonio Grasso's Book

The growth of connected devices

How long have we been living in a connected world? If we think about it, it seems like a few years, but if we look at our desk in the office, we realize how many connected objects are now part of our lives. Devices that we use constantly and that we can no longer do without. Digitalization, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence have radically changed our private and professional lives. Like any self-respecting medal, in fact, even the sharing of data on the network has a reverse side, as hidden as it is dangerous. A good manager must know how to find the right compromise by asking himself a question that we will try to answer: How to guarantee IT security in the company?

Siemens’ infographic, which illustrates the exponential growth of connected devices over the past 20 years, shows us how risks have increased along with opportunities. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to control all information gateways. Despite the existence of technologies or software to do so, the use of devices in professional and personal contexts makes it difficult to control all possible accesses of a cyber attack. It is enough to leave a small door open to run the risk of being hacked.

Opportunities and risks of digitalization

The opportunities of digitalization in a connected world

Getting into your car and uttering the phrase “Ok Google, call home” is an action that is only possible thanks to a series of connections, software, and technologies that relate to the sphere of digitalization, IoT, and AI.

The benefits of a connected world are many. In general, they offer us, for example:

  • the ability to monitor a patient’s health status remotely and communicate diagnosis and treatment without intermediaries;
  • the personalization of products/services to be offered to customers thanks to data extracted from customer satisfaction and the possibility, with IoT, to improve the customer experience in retail;
  • Control the correctness of processes and be alerted, in real-time, in case of anomalies. An alert that informs me of a malfunction in an electrical network allows me to act without interrupting the service;
  • Virtual team management, smart working, and the ability to collect and share large amounts of data. These aspects generate a significant increase in productivity.

If we want to think, instead, about our private life, we can’t help but notice how much objects such as tablets, smart-tv and smartphones have simplified and enriched our daily life.

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The flip side of the coin: the risks of digitalization

Just as the loot in banks tempts criminals who handle cash, so Big Data is a source of illicit gain for the most skilled computer hackers. Cybercrime is too big a risk for a company, and a major investment in technology could be wiped out in a short period of time. Data, both sensitive and non-sensitive, on the network is attackable.

Industries 4.0, digital and connected, in order to ensure interoperability and the exchange of information flows must necessarily open their computer systems. This exposes their data to strong risks. In most cases, attacks occur from outside, but there are also cases where the source is internal to the company. This is why it is essential to understand how to protect oneself and, above all, how to prevent it.

Digitalization offers new opportunities but also exposes the company to new risks. Relying on a good Cyber Security system is the best strategy. Share on X

Cybercrime attacks mainly through:

  • viruses such as ransomware, a virus that prevents access to the infected system, encrypt files and requires a sum of money for its removal;
  • social engineering that is the use of techniques that do not act from a computer point of view but from a psychological one. They leverage people’s naivety and weaknesses. An example? Phishing attacks that simulate an authoritative source by sending emails. In reality, they are used to obtain confidential information, such as access credentials to bank accounts. A distracted or naive employee can fall into the trap and provide emails and passwords voluntarily, even if unaware of the damage they are doing to the company:
  • Denial of Service, also known as DoS, is the interruption of service. The cyber-attack, in this case, targets servers, distribution networks, or data centers connected to other computers. Sending massive requests to these computer systems generates a high level of slowdown that also affects the connected computers. An example of the severity of the damage? The interruption of service related to a bank’s operations;
  • Data Leak, which is mistakenly associated with Data Breach. In the first case, the intrusion occurs through an opening left unknowingly open. For example, it may be that the computer system has a flaw that has not yet been identified or that an employee inadvertently shares information through insecure channels. In fact, this danger can be averted with a good IT security system. On the other hand, Data Breach identifies cases where data theft occurs on commission, i.e., it is a deliberate act against an organization, a web service, or a company. In this case, the effectiveness of Cyber Security software depends on how well known that threat is.

“The devil is strongest when we don’t realize it”. Mr.Robot

How to ensure Cyber Security within companies?

The decision-maker who must choose how to protect the business will do so by carefully evaluating the value elements. Collecting company data is essential because it optimizes processes, makes production more efficient, and reduces costs. Connecting them in the cloud and being able to find them anywhere is a great opportunity, but you should never forget to have your back. How? With the study of proactive and reactive strategies. In the first case, with the Cyber Risk Assessment, you can map the risks and vulnerabilities of a computer system and assess the weight of possible damage. With the reactive strategies of the Cyber Emergency Response Plan, on the other hand, a guide is drawn up that highlights the actions to be taken in the event of a cyber attack.

A successful, growth-oriented business will necessarily implement digitalization paths and encourage the connection of devices and people. At the same time, however, it is imperative that it act by constantly monitoring the security of its information systems.