A Growing Digital Economy Means More Cybersecurity Threats

As we enter 2021, financial experts are forecasting a 4.2 percent GDP growth despite the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. This is not surprising, since today’s economy is largely driven by technology. In every sector — from agriculture to healthcare — the intense infusion of digital technology has created a thriving economy.

Through the development of the Internet, new doors have been opened for businesses. Local “Mom and Pop” shops and small businesses alike now have access to resources and tools that enable them to compete against big box stores. Large corporations have massive, scalable reach unlike ever before — allowing their business to reach from coast to coast, and across the globe. It is fair to say that business deals are sealed with a keyboard, instead of a handshake.

This growing digital economy is largely consumer-caused. The new-age customer prioritizes accessibility and convenience in their research and buying habits. This has led to the rise in online traffic, regardless of good or service. It is undeniably easier to order groceries online, rather than push the shopping cart up and down aisles. It is more efficient to order that vinyl record off Amazon Prime than it is to thumb through boxes at your neighborhood record store. eCommerce has further exacerbated the power and importance the internet has on the economy. In 2020, eCommerce saw a considerable increase in the percentage of retail sales. In Q2 of 2020, eCommerce accounted for 16.1 percent of all retail sales — compared to 10.8 percent the year before.

Many economists are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the landscape for consumer behavior — and thus, the economy. With so many Americans being forced to adjust to a “full-time home life,” people have altered how they work, exercise, entertain, and shop. Throughout this past year, the dynamic flexibility of the internet has held together the sluggish economy — and human connection. Now that it has proven itself to be relied upon so heavily (and successfully), even after the pandemic has ended, the investment into the digital economy is only expected to further accelerate. But what does this mean for cybersecurity?

A Bigger Digital Economy Calls For More Cybersecurity Investment

As more and more businesses seek to meet their customers online, a greater opportunity exists for cybercriminals to capitalize. Internet crime is on the rise, and it is resulting in both financial and personal loss. In 2019, the FBI reported a 40 percent increase in daily cyber crimes compared to the previous year.

Software vulnerabilities are putting businesses and consumers at risk — while the convenience of a digital economy is enjoyed. These data breaches target sensitive information that can range from Social Security numbers to bank accounts and more. The exposed access to this sensitive information can kill the future of any organization — and harm the everyday life of innocent consumers.

While a growing digital economy is to be celebrated, business leaders are too slow to invest in cybersecurity — compared to other business needs, such as shipping logistics. As a result, it often takes organizations months before a data breach is detected and even more months before the incident is resolved. In 2019, the FBI calculated over $3.5 billion in losses to individuals and businesses due to cybercrime.

In a survey of various CEOs, roughly 80 percent of respondents said the advancement of the digital economy will be severely hindered unless there is significant improvement to online security. With countless backdoor vulnerabilities presented in the digital architecture of many businesses, the time is now to: assess, strategize, implement, and monitor. The digital economy isn’t going to disappear, and the threats are only going to become more costly.

In order to transition and thrive in this economy, organizations must make the conscious commitment to cybersecurity day-in and day-out — their long-term success depends upon it because a cyber attack isn’t a question of if, but when.

Ready to Strengthen Your Cybersecurity?

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to move your cybersecurity program forward, CDG can help. Founded in 2016 by cybersecurity expert Lou Rabon, Cyber Defense Group was designed to address the growing demand for experienced cybersecurity consulting for innovative cloud-native and cloud-reliant organizations.

Our unique combination of Fortune 500 leadership experience, with deep knowledge of cloud security and incident response, as well as our commitment to Outcomes-Based Security, enables CDG to fully protect their clients’ security posture while delivering desired business outcomes in an agile environment. Get in touch, and see what results are possible for your organization.