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Cybersecurity is the buzzword doing the rounds these days. But what is Cybersecurity? Well, “Cyber” is a collective term referring to computers, computer networks, information technology, and virtual reality. Therefore, the armoury of technology, processes, and procedures used for securing the IT infrastructure from attack, damage, or unauthorized access constitutes Cybersecurity. Next, it is good to understand the importance of Cybersecurity in protecting business interests.
How does Cybersecurity help?
After understanding what is Cybersecurity, the question arises, how it helps? The increasing hype about Cybersecurity is primarily because attackers are growing smarter. In other words, systems are increasingly growing vulnerable. This poses a growing threat to the military, government, financial, and medical organizations dealing with sensitive data. This data demands the highest level of protection not only when it is used, but also when it is stored and shared.
Else, the personal data used by these organizations can be misused. In fact, according to intelligence officials, cyber-attacks and digital spying rank highest on the list of threats to national security, even surpassing terrorism.
The seriousness of cyber attacks obviously explains the importance of Cybersecurity.
So, you are now clear about what is Cybersecurity. To better understand how Cybersecurity helps, let me first list down the different types of Cyber threats.
Types of Cyber Attacks
The common forms of Cyber attacks include:
- Hacking – attacks that aim to compromise the security of computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks
- Social Engineering – attackers cleverly disguise themselves as trusted individuals and lure employees into sharing sensitive data or granting system access
- Physical Security Attacks – Tailgating, stolen documents, and entry of unauthorized visitors etc, are some examples of these attacks
- Viruses and Malware: code written specially to harm computers, servers or entire networks
- Ransomware: a special type of malware in which the attack threatens to expose users’ personal data or block access unless they pay off a hefty ransom.
To tackle the diverse range of cyber attacks, the Cybersecurity arsenal must be rich with the latest weapons. However, for any organization to invest in strengthening Cybersecurity, it will be good to understand all possible ways in which Cybersecurity can help.
Therefore, let me first list down the top 10 reasons explaining the importance of Cybersecurity for IT companies. Thereafter, will explore the importance from the perspective of Nigeria.
Top 10 Reasons Explaining the Importance of Cybersecurity
1. Cyber attackers make no discrimination
A couple of decades ago it was a common belief that cyber threats plagued only big companies. But we now increasingly observe that cyber attackers target companies of all sizes. In fact, a survey conducted by the University of Maryland shows that hackers attempt to break computer systems every 39 seconds.
In fact, there are automated scripts randomly searching for vulnerabilities in computers connected to the Internet. This means the Cybersecurity team in such companies must realise the importance of Cybersecurity and design a robust Cybersecurity policy to thwart all malicious attempts.
2. Increasing digitization of data
In contrast to earlier days when documents were created using pen and paper, modern-day documentation is all digitized. Further, these documents are shared over email or other social media apps like WhatsApp, all of which are linked to the Internet. This means the information contained in these documents runs a high possibility of getting compromised. Additionally, data is now being stored in Cloud, another source of vulnerability.
In other words, while technology has enabled faster and easier communication of information, the risk of information security breaches has increased manifold. This further explains the need to understand what is Cybersecurity and proactively identify all failure modes and treat them effectively.
3. E-commerce boom promotes cyber threats
One fallout of the Covid pandemic has been the proliferation of online shopping. You now realize the fun of making online purchases from the comforts of your home instead of visiting the shops. Important to note that each online purchase involves an e-commerce transaction. These transactions involve sharing of sensitive data eg, credit card information over the Internet.
Put otherwise, the more you resort to the convenience of online shopping, the more you expose yourself and your data to the hackers waiting for the kill. Understanding what is Cybersecurity helps digital marketers to install appropriate Cybersecurity tools to preempt such attacks. In other words, the importance of Cybersecurity once again takes centre stage.
4. Cyberattack remediations are expensive
Cyber attacks can be so fatal that they can question the survival of an IT company. That is because companies may need to spend a fortune to revive themselves after one such attack. Particularly this applies in the case of ransomware.
Therefore, clarity on what is Cybersecurity and the importance of Cybersecurity helps you proactively fortify your IT landscape. This always scores better than the reactive approach of hiring specialists to identify the point of the breach and restore the systems.
5. Businesses face loss of productivity
Companies hit by cyber-attacks need to shut down their IT systems with immediate effect to prevent the spread. Consequently, business transactions are impacted and productivity dips. It is important to note that this disruption is not just during the attack but much beyond as the company attempts to revive its system.
Under such trying circumstances, the importance of Cybersecurity once again comes under the spotlight.
6. Cyber attacks spoil reputations
Apart from huge investments involved in restoring an IT system post a cyber attack, the company may never be able to recover its reputational damage. In other words, one cyber attack can cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation. As clients lose their trust, the company loses its customer base, current as well as potential.
Moreover, shareholders too find it difficult to have faith in the company and may opt to offload their shares. This further jeopardizes the financial health of the company already reeling under the impact of the attack. This explains the importance of setting up a robust Cybersecurity framework that helps companies guard themselves against any such perilous attacks.
7. Individuals are equally prone to cyber threats
If you think it is only companies that are susceptible to cyber attacks, you are wrong. Every time you make an online purchase, play a digital game or communicate over social media platforms, you are exposed to the cyber threat.
This threat turns even more dangerous when you share personal data over the Internet. Hackers searching for any kinks in your armour can resort to data ransom or blackmail to force you to sacrifice something to stop the harassment. It is, therefore, crucial for all of us to understand what is Cybersecurity and the importance of Cybersecurity.
8. Cyber crime litigation is expensive and long-drawn
A company falling prey to a cyber attack is wronged. However, that does not simplify the litigation process. Instead, the company is forced to invest colossal amounts of time and money to fight the case. Additionally, the company may need to shell out huge amounts to the client in the form of penalty payments.
Studies also reveal that the company suffers a fall in its stock value. This further deepens its financial crisis. Overall, therefore, the importance of Cybersecurity is indisputable.
9. Threatens national security
While terrorists can cause immense loss of life and property, cyber attackers are equally or even more hazardous. Breaching a country’s database, networks, or overall Information system can bring an entire nation to its knees. To be precise, such attacks can damage the country’s infrastructure, infect its economic machinery, steal state secrets, and instil terror in the minds of its people.
Overall, cyber attacks can hold an entire nation to ransom. This once again explains the importance of Cybersecurity for not just individuals and companies, but entire nations.
10. The dark web deepens the cyber crisis
The dark web is a collection of Internet sites accessible from a particular Web browser. Its unique feature is that the users remain anonymous. So, hackers surreptitiously launch illegal attacks on IT systems. To prevent such scary attacks, it is important to build cyber resilience in your systems, possible only when you realize what is Cybersecurity and its crucial role.
With this, we come to the end of the discussion highlighting the importance of Cybersecurity.
Importance of Cybersecurity in Nigeria
The question now arises why is Cybersecurity so important, particularly in Nigeria.
Well, the good news is that Nigeria understands what is Cybersecurity and has already made significant progress in setting up a robust Cybersecurity framework. This framework defines guidelines that apply to the nation’s burgeoning digital financial economy.
Fortunately, the 2021 Nigerian National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) acts as the guardian angel strictly monitoring all economic transactions.
In spite of the progress, the economy is trying to deal with some challenges. These include:
- Lack of a defined framework to report Cybersecurity incidents
- Inadequate capacity of financial institutions to deal with cyber fraud
- Low levels of consumer awareness about the perils of cyber attacks
Collectively, these inadequacies impact the confidence and trust levels of commoners in the country’s financial institutions.
Hence, the Nigerian government needs to invest more in setting up a sturdy Cybersecurity framework. The next step is to provide adequate capacity to implement this framework. Finally, there must be awareness campaigns amongst the people. This education is crucial for individuals and companies to figure out what is Cybersecurity and protect themselves against cyber attacks.
Additionally, it helps them realize that Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility.
By now, I trust, you are well-versed in what is Cybersecurity and the role it plays in securing IT systems. With growing digitalization engulfing all aspects of our lives, the need for building cyber resilience is basic for the survival of individuals, businesses, as well as nations.
As the proverb goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.”. In other words, the power of Cyber security lies in accepting the importance of Cybersecurity and being proactive, not reactive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, with the growing proliferation of online purchases and digital transactions, commoners in Nigeria are increasingly falling prey to cyber fraud. Therefore, the rising vulnerability of the nation’s digital economy is rendering Cybersecurity an absolute must.
The biggest issue currently bothering the nation is the lack of information available t commoners on Cybersecurity breaches. While some countries make it mandatory for companies to share information on breaches and the remedial action taken, Nigeria is yet to implement this control. Hence data breaches and their impact remain unknown.
If you are planning to study Cybersecurity in Nigeria, the cost ranges between
N 50,000 to N 900,000, as of 2022.
The institutes that offer the 3 best-rated online Cybersecurity courses in Nigeria include Henry Harvin, Udemy, and upGrad. They train you not only on the basic concepts of Cybersecurity but also impart hands-on exposure to real-life industry problems.
According to an industry survey, it is observed that a Cybersecurity engineer draws a monthly salary of
N 100,000 at the entry level. An experienced engineer, however, can expect a salary as high as N 500,00 every month.