With an increasing number of companies opting for enterprise mobility solutions, the question of securing data and seeking protection from cyber attacks has become an issue of paramount importance. It is now becoming clear that companies need to subscribe to enterprise mobility management (EMM), and strong security services in order to protect data and privacy. While data, technology, infrastructure, and productivity are all hit when cyber attacks take place, there can also be legal and unforeseen implications that may put businesses at risk, if adequate measures aren’t taken.
- By 2021, the cost of damage caused by cyber crimes is expected to shoot up to $6 trillion, twice the amount since 2016.
- Companies spent $80 billion on cybersecurity services and products in 2016. By 2021, this expenditure is likely to exceed $1 trillion.
- More than 4 billion people will be online by 2020, which means, there will be so many potential hacking victims.
- Bloomberg reports that the next WannaCry attack can cost insurers $2.5 billion.
- There are dozens of Android devices that come pre-loaded with malware.
- An astounding 8.5 million cyber attacks were conducted in 2016 just on mobile devices.
- Ponemon mobile security survey revealed that only 39% of respondents had some level of mobile security feature in place. The rest were unprotected.
Let us take a look at the top implications of cyber attacks on enterprise mobility solutions.
- Loss of data
Most cyber attackers are now aware that a large amount of data is stored on applications and mobile data servers. If they are trying to harm a certain corporate entity, this is where they usually go. Moreover, cyber attacks may take down entire sites, including mobile data, which can lead to irretrievable loss of data.
In a survey conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently, private intra-company communications were held to be the most important asset by 14% of respondents, while strategic plans & initiatives and regulated data were held to be important by 12% of respondents each. Customer information was deemed to be the most important asset by 10% of the survey respondents. This study was sponsored by VMWare.
The solution is to invest in data storage plans that secure all your files and ensure against loss of data. Also, these services make copies your data so that nothing is lost forever, even if you are attacked sometime. Consider contacting both cloud and on-premises storage companies.
- Data theft and misuse
A potential cause for concern is cyber-attacks leading to theft of data. This is a more serious situation than the loss of data, as sensitive information may be used by malicious entities for their own ulterior motives. In fact, theft of data and its misuse has been described as the single most serious implications cyber-attacks.
McAfee recently revealed that dead apps which haven’t been updated or secured are particularly vulnerable targets for cyber-attacks and data thefts. McAfee Mobile Threat Research revealed that more than 4,000 apps on Google Play were discarded without informing users, making their data vulnerable to misuse.
To protect yourself against theft of data, invest in a good encryption service and make sure that all your dates encrypted and saved securely. It is also important to restrict access to sensitive data depending on time, place and person. Consider an overhaul of your BYOD policy as well.
- Impersonation and identity theft
While theft of data is a serious concern, what troubles many e-commerce entities is that cyber attackers can easily steal consumer information and customer-related private information. This can lead to serious implications such as impersonation and identify theft, both of which have been described as anxiety-provoking for companies.
Luka Malisa et al (2016) published a conference paper in 2016, in which they revealed that among the 150,000 mobile apps they analyzed, more than 40,000 impersonation cases were detected. They concluded that impersonation detection was possible if closer scrutiny was given to user interfaces of these apps.
To protect yourself and your customers from impersonation and identity theft, invest in encryption and secure data storage services. Ensure that backups are encrypted too, so that identity cannot be stolen easily. Identity theft is a reality and millions of customers and consumers are already victims of these cyber-attacks. It is also important to focus on the UI/UX of the app so that it’s not vulnerable to impersonation.
- Legal consequences
What could be worse than being attacked by hackers and losing data? Being sued by your clients and customers for loss of data and identity theft. Thousands of companies have faced litigations costing them millions of dollars because critical information was either leaked or stolen, leading to loss and other consequences. Legal consequences of being victims off cyber-attacks can be quite serious and it is something that you should seriously consider.
In the UK, individuals can sue a company for causing them distress, while in the US, individuals can file class action suits against businesses that have rendered their data vulnerable. In the UK, fines can run up to 500,000 pounds, whereas in the US, 2-5% of annual turnover maybe confiscated as fines, according to an article published in the Infosecurity Magazine.
To protect yourself from legal consequences of being victims,cyber-attacks ensure that you insure your service against hacking attacks and lose data. While insurance provides a layer of legal security, a better option is to make sure that you are protected from hackers themselves.
- Financial consequences
An important consequence of cyber-attacks is a loss of money and financial losses. Financial consequences can be multi-faceted. You might have to spend money on retrieving data, on bolstering existing infrastructure, paying compensation, hiring detectives or cyber sleuths, legal expenses, etc. Financial consequences alone should force you got consider strengthening your cybersecurity.
It is reported that companies spent a staggering $80 billion in 2016 alone on cyber-security products. This figure is expected to cross a trillion dollars by 2021. As an example, just WannaCry attack cost insurers more than $2.5 billion. If you were wondering how much the actual damage is going to cost the companies, it is going to be around $6 trillion by 2021.
A good way to minimize expenses when cyber-attacks duo takes places to make sure that all your data is encrypted and backed up. Make sure your mobile services are up and running in no time, by hiring good mobile developers and enterprise mobility management vendors.
- Loss of productivity
When cyber-attacks take place and you are going through downtime, your employees are going to experience loss of productivity. Not only that, loss of productivity may result in damages in various ways that are unforeseen.
A study conducted in 2016 revealed that by 2021, 72% of the American workforce will use mobile devices while at work. While BYOD will help enhance productivity, the report concluded that Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions will need to be turned on in order to stop security threats from developing or occurring.
To make sure that there is no loss of productivity when your mobile data services are attacked, invest in EMM, backups and alternatives so that your employees and customers do not have to endure downtime. Nothing is worse than having to experience loss of productivity especially when you are a victim of a cyber-attack.
- Downtime and denial of service
If you have read the news, you will know that many companies such as Twitter and others have experienced both downtime and denial of service when they were attacked. Denial of service is a serious issue when hackers take control of your enterprise mobile platforms and deny you and your customers from using it. This can result in panic, confusion and genuinely mortifying fear.
With an increased number of remote access tools (RATs) and SQL-based denial of service attacks, researchers have found that applications found in Google Play store can be particularly vulnerable. An article on Radware blog lists DNS amplification attacks and reflection DoS attacks as other threats. A possible solution is to purchase mobile device management (MDM) to keep mobile devices safe and secure.
While you can’t stop hackers from attacking you, you can always secure your data and ensure that everything is encrypted. Also, investing in a great mobile device management (MDM) service will help you to get back on your feet as soon as possible.
- Damage to brand image
Think about it. When your company is attacked by hackers, you are going to pre portrayed negatively in social media, and also in mainstream media. Of course, you might generate sympathy that you are a victim of a hacking attempt, but what would that say about your brand to your followers? That you do not have critical infrastructure and security policies in place. It also makes you look weak and vulnerable, and in a cut-throat environment like today’s, weakness and vulnerabilities are signs of failures.
In a survey that was published in 2016, titled “Cyber-security: The gap between the C-suite and the security team”, reputation with one’s customers was cited as the most important asset that needed to be protected from cyber attacks, by 25% of the respondents. This is because, when a company is attacked, customer reputation is the first victim.
To protect your brand image from being hurt consider investing in bolstering your mobile services more than investing in marketing. After all, if you create a reputation for being a safe and secure mobile company, your brand image will be enhanced more than any marketing campaign will ever.
- Privacy risks
Though it need not even be said, privacy risks are abounded when cyber attacks take place against enterprise mobility solutions. Private information related to your employees, your company, financial details, your customers etc will be at risk when you are attacked, and that can lead to unforeseen consequences. Most importantly, it will harm you financially and image-wise.
Aalto University and the University of Helsinki jointly published a paper on practical attacks against privacy in the context of 4G/LTW mobile communication systems. The researchers concluded that it was very easy to attack mobile devices using LTE networks and that Facebook’s “Other” messages and WhatsApp’s ‘typing notification’ were particularly vulnerable to attacks. Reallocating GUTIs, and other solutions have been described in the rather technical paper.
Invest in mobility services that focus on privacy and security more than anything else. Without adequate privacy measures, hacking attempts can make critical information public, and you don’t want that happening.
- Damage to infrastructure
Cyber attacks can bring down entire mobile networks and throw your infrastructure out of gear. There have been instances where entire hardware networks have been damaged remotely. Speaking of mobile solutions, it is critical to ensure that mobile network security is ensured in order to avoid damage to infrastructure. Any damage to infrastructure usually is going to be very expensive.
8% of the above-mentioned survey respondents felt their own applications and services were their most important assets. The survey, which was conducted by EIU and sponsored by VMware, suggested that attacks against infrastructure and services are quite possible, and when that happens, business will likely suffer.
Always invest in Information as a Service, as that can be protected by third-party vendors, even if you are attacked. EMM and cloud solutions can be surprisingly helpful when it comes to cyber attacks.
Time to invest in enterprise mobility management
As you can see, it is never a great thing when your mobility solutions are attacked by hackers or malicious entities. There can be loss of data, legal and financial consequences, denial of service, impersonation and other kinds of serious implications. In order to avoid these serious negative effects of cyber attacks, it is important to subscribe to an enterprise mobility management solution, which takes care of protecting you and your consumers from malicious attacks. In the long run, you will not only protect everyone involved but will also help your business to last for a long time without hurting your brand image.