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Last year, high-profile cyberattacks affected businesses all across the globe. Hacker groups using the WannaCry and Petya ransomwares held computer systems of some of the largest corporations in the world hostage, including WPP, Maersk and hundreds of companies running Microsoft Windows. It is no surprise that 2018 started out with another wide-scale cyber threat. Interestingly, the latest crisis was not a malicious attack, but a critical flaw discovered in microprocessors in nearly all of the world’s computers. Luckily, the flaws were found and fixed before hackers could act.

The flaw, discovered in mid-2017 by several teams of researchers, is actually two separate bugs called Meltdown and Spectre. They primarily affected Intel processors, which are embedded in the majority of computers worldwide. The bugs created vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit to steal confidential information within computer systems. Furthermore, the Spectre flaw actually extended to many other types of devices, including mobile phones, thermostats and almost anything containing a chip. Fortunately, the research teams created patches to help fix the flaws; however, the solutions are partial and temporary. While businesses are lucky to have evaded this cyber crisis, for now, Meltdown and Spectre highlight the ongoing need for businesses to be wary of a possible cyberattack.

Preparation Strategies

To address the issues that have arisen, businesses and their IT departments should be aware of the different steps they can take and products and services they can implement to protect their data systems. Here are three steps businesses can use to mitigate risk and safeguard themselves from cyber threats.

  • Step 1: Implement the Necessary Data Security - Organizations can implement data privacy consulting services and data center services to help them design and manage secure network databases. Data privacy consulting services secure network databases to prevent unauthorized third parties from accessing or stealing buyers’ data, while data center services are used to process, store, network, manage and distribute data. ProcurementIQ anticipates prices for both of these services to increase in 2018, so buyers should procure services soon, before prices increase.
  • Step 2: Invest in Proper Network Services and Equipment - To improve digital security, there is a range of network services and equipment that buyers can invest in. For example, network planning and design services can help organizations build networks that are resistant to hacking. These services include the evaluation of network requirements, network architecture selection, detailed network analysis and design, product and technology recommendations and license coordination. While these services can be helpful for creating secure IT systems from scratch, they may require a lot of investment to revamp a business’ IT systems, which can cause operation interruptions. Moreover, ProcurementIQ expects the increase in demand for network planning and design services to cause prices to rise 2.6% in 2018.
  • Step 3: Purchase Cybersecurity Insurance - In light of recent attacks, cybersecurity insurance has become increasingly popular, particularly for large corporations with massive data systems. Cybersecurity insurance mitigates financial losses incurred due to data breaches and other forms of hacking. Furthermore, some cybersecurity insurance policies will even cover government fines imposed because of breaches. Due to the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks, insurers were forced to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in claims. Because of this, insurers are extremely likely to raise premiums in 2018 and beyond to offset these rising costs. Due to growth in demand and the number of attacks, ProcurementIQ expects the cybersecurity insurance market to reach $3.2 billion in 2018, representing a 15% annualized growth rate over the last 3 years.

Cybersecurity for 2018

The question is not if hackers will exploit your business’ IT vulnerabilities, it is when. Businesses should do all they can to protect themselves and their clients. The strategies listed above are a great place to start. As businesses’ operations continue to be transformed by innovations in technology and automation, their sensitive data will become increasingly vulnerable to attacks. Compared to the costs of a potential data breach, IT infrastructure protection and its accompanying insurance are relatively inexpensive. According to the global consulting company Accenture, the cost of cybercrimes increased by 23% last year. With the prices of the aforementioned services on the rise, IT teams should work with their procurement departments to make purchases sooner than later. Since the markets are expected to see moderate price growth over the coming years, ProcurementIQ recommends that businesses lock in long-term contracts to help avoid price increases.

Key Takeaways:

  • The latest cyber crisis exposed vulnerabilities in almost all the computers in the world, compelling companies to make sure they are prepared for the next one.
  • Procurement and IT departments should look into sourcing data privacy consulting services, data center services, network planning services and cybersecurity insurance to protect their organization from cyberattacks and mitigate potential losses.
  • Increasing demand for services protecting against cyber threats will likely cause prices for these services to rise during the next three years. Since price growth is expected to be moderate, ProcurementIQ recommends that buyers lock in long-term contracts.

 

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