There has been a significant financial strain on business’ across Australia over the past few months, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many companies to adapt to a working from home environment, restructure their business operations, or shut their doors completely until they have the greenlight to reopen. Unfortunately, difficult times like this can lead to several unexpected operational challenges, stemming from the business attempting to restructure its practices to a changing market.
Particularly, in times of financial hardship, business’ may be operating at a reduced capacity, which runs the risk of them not being as fastidious as they would be under normal circumstances with issues such as business information security. However, this can lead to significant problems for organisations, as taking a nonchalant approach to information security can lead to the business being exposed to a multitude of information security threats and concerns that they were previously guarded from, which can threaten the stability of the entire operations.
To ensure the continuity of their operations, in times of financial hardship, business’ should be weighing up two different organisational concerns: The need to keep operational costs down, and the importance of a strong business information security system, which protects their information assets from potential threats which stand to undermine the stability of their operations. Fortunately, there are some demonstrably effective strategies available for business’, to help them juggle the issues of heightened cyber threats with diminished budgets, and it ultimately comes down to strategic planning though a cyber cost optimisation approach.
The implementation of this strategy can work at helping business’ to adopt a level of cohesion to their information security practices. This is seen in ways such as minimising outgoing expenses through strategically altering business information security practices to keep them cost effective, and working to minimise external operational costs, such as business insurance and downtime, as the adoption of this strategy works at getting the business’ information security practices to operate in a unified, cohesive manner. This is a more cost-effective strategy than running several conflicting information security systems in conjunction with one another. The cyber cost optimisation approach has the added benefit of streamlining operations, which works at minimising outgoing expenses.
Effective Cyber-Defence Comes Down to Preparation
A fundamental operational strategy that leads to business success is that of spending money to save money. More specifically, this strategy sees business’ invest a small portion of their funds now into something that aims to have substantial cost-saving benefits in the long-term. When it comes to increased business information security concerns, business’ that invest now in the implementation of an Information Security Management System (ISMS) stand to save significant time and money later on, as its implementation across the organisation will see them unify their information security strategies, identify and safeguard against potential information security and cyber threat weak points, and in general, strengthen their entire business operation, which can lead to trickle-down cost benefits, including reduced insurance premiums, minimised downtime, and increased customer and stakeholder confidence.
The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Standards is an internationally certified set of information security standards and guidelines for organisations, which address the issue of strong business information security through a risk management process. This sees the standards working with organisations to recognise, assess, and then prioritise potential information security risks, through a unified, strategic process, in which there is a clear, systematic process in place for what to do in the event of any potential information security threat, and the ways in which the organisation should deal with it so that its impact on operations is minimised.
The implementation of these standards will help your organisation keep its cyber and information security costs down, as the standards can help your business adopt an effective cyber cost optimisation approach to cyber threats, which sees the operation look at how to enhance their information security standards through a number of ways, including:
- Ensuring the survival of the business operations. In a financially difficult, challenging marketplace, for many organisations it is adapt or die. That is, there is no room for ineffective, cumbersome information security practices in such a tough marketplace, so business’ must fine tune their information security practices or risk falling behind, being seen as behind the times, and not up with current industry trends. These standards can help your business ascertain which of their existing information security practices are out of date, and not industry competitive. The business can then work at either eliminating them altogether in favour of more industry relevant information security practices or amending their weak points to ensure that they are adequately modified to be inline with current business information security practices.
- Helping the company adopt a tactical approach to information security, which works at shifting its existing practices to enhance performance, based on existing workplace systems and capabilities. For example, business’ may have an existing information security procedure that has long been in place, and it has not been changed out of tradition, lack of willingness to alter existing practices, or simply not being aware of possible information security alternatives. This tactical approach to information security sees the standards work with companies to streamline their services, to make them more efficient, productive, and cost-effective. The potential cost benefits to business’ are viewed from a holistic approach, in which any cost benefit, however minimal, is viewed as preferable to the alternative. So, if tactically shifting information security business practices from one method to another will result in a minimal cost saving to the organisation, it is seen as worth implementing, as even a minimal monetary benefit is preferable to none.
- Working with the organisation to help it eventually adopt a complete structural realignment ofexisting cyber threat and information security practices, to ensure that the entirety of its operation is using the most effective, efficient information security system available to it. This step requires long-term planning and strategising, as management must work with the standards on a regular basis to ensure that their information security practices are as strong as possible, in-line with industry trends, and applicable to the business operation. For example, a strategic shift from in-person technical support to self-service portals could see the organisation significantly minimise its operational costs, paper trail, and potential downtime, as employees are trained on how to identify potential information security threats, and what steps need to be taken in the event of an issue, significantly reducing the time and effort required to deal with issues.
Cyber Cost Optimisation results in a Clear, Controlled Operation
The ways in which we work is changing every day, due to a combination of increased cyber security awareness, COVID-19 concerns, and a range of other factors that stand to impact business operations. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, and there may be heightened concerns about effective business information security due to a public incident, new COVID-19 rules that may see workplaces yet again have to modify their existing practices, and so on.
There are two types of ‘unknown’ factors that can impact business operations: known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Broadly speaking, a known unknown is information people do not know but they are aware of their lack of knowledge regarding the issue. An unknown unknown is something people do not know, and they are not even aware that they do not know it.
The best defence for unknown unknown factors impacting your business operations is to use your knowledge of the known unknowns to plan a strategic response to it; while we do not know exactly what information security risks the future holds, we do know that through the methodical planning, strategising and implementation of an effective Information Security Management System we can ensure the future success of business’, the continuity of their operations, and that they have the ability to handle information security threats in a strong, cost-effective manner.
If you would like to know how the ISO 27001:2013 standards can strengthen your business’ operations in a cost-effective manner, then please give Anitech information security consultants a call today on 1300 802 163. If you give them a brief rundown of your business, the kinds of information security issues you want to address, and the particular cost issues you are concerned about, they will be able to discuss with you how these standards could be effectively applied to your business, to ensure that it gets the maximum benefit from them. Isn’t this the kind of security you want for your business?
Please click here to read more about how a strong Information Security Management System protects business’ and strengthens customer confidence.
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