Data Security is Essential for the Growth of Digital Businesses

The digital revolution has paved the way for a total reformation in business operation – most notably, their rapid adaptation into providing digital services. This implementation has been accelerated through innovations in cloud computing, mobile platforms and applications programming interfaces (APIs). Said APIs have made new types of services a possibility, contributing to the flourishment of the digital economy – but as it grows, so does a necessity for data security.

With the shear amount of sensitive data that digital businesses have on clients and staff, a scenario of data compromise becomes apocalyptic. Cybercriminals are tenacious, willing to go after any business and extract confidential information. Cyber threats are starting to become more and more troublesome, as huge organisations such as the NHS fall subject to ransomware, and data leaks become normalised.

From the financial year of 2016, just over 60% of big UK businesses had suffered a cyber-attack in the months prior, with seven out of ten attacks on all firms involving viruses, spyware or malware. 74% of small and medium-sized businesses reported breaches of information in 2015 – a marked increase from the prior years, and troubling sign for business security infrastructure. Sarah Green – a cyber security expert at Training 2000says that one of the most dangerous phrases used by small businesses is: “It’ll never happen to us.”

Digital businesses find themselves in a concerning situation. Developers are breaking down applications and publishing them as web APIs, creating more interfaces and ultimately a greater attack surface. APIs can provide a map that details the underlying functionality of an application – details that typically would be buried deep below layers of app functionality. This can clue hackers into finding attack vectors they might otherwise overlook. APIs tend to be predominantly clear and self-documenting, providing insight into internal objects and even internal database structure – all valuable intelligence for hackers. 

Digital businesses however are willing to take these risks. APIs are a necessity for digital businesses to stay agile, and have becoming a significant part of money-making operations. This can unfortunately lead to security becoming a last priority, ultimately endangering staff and clients.

Being successful in the digital industry requires the delivery of a secure experience, that extends across a range of products & services. A data compromise impacts a business’s greatest virtue: Customer Trust – especially if said business relies on the digital economy.

With the knowledge that cyber-attacks are on the rise, digital businesses need to start prioritising secure operation.

How do digital businesses keep themselves and their APIs secure? Staff training, rigorous authentication and liberal use of secure socket layers (SSL) from the back end is a good start. Providing substantial sums of budget to security maintenance and updates, will ultimately go a long way into providing digital businesses with proper security. Businesses should start investing in outsourced penetration testing from professional virtual agencies such as this one, allowing the limits of their security to be tested, and to find the weak link in the businesses structure.

It is the adaptation of multiple defences that will keep businesses secure, which is why time and investment in such a thing is the key. This is the only way to maintain the wellbeing of those important, and as James Scott – Senior at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology – noted, “There’s no silver bullet solution with cybersecurity, a layered defence is the only viable defence”.

Author: Ryan Southall

Date: 14/07/2017