Digital technologies tend to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Smartphones, search engines, social media, and the Internet in general can provide enormous benefits to both businesses and private individuals. These innovative tools can improve efficiency, streamline communication, maximize ROI, and provide creative solutions to countless challenges. Unfortunately, these tools aren’t always used with the best intent, and cybercrime is becoming increasingly common as such technologies proliferate. Cybercriminals take advantage of the relative novelty of email, text-messaging, and Internet-connected devices to compromise individuals and various organizations. To counter these malicious actors, the growing field of cybersecurity has become essential for the safe, successful operation of digital systems. The following are a few reasons why cybersecurity is so important in the 21st century.

1. A Growing Numbers of Users, Devices, and Online Interactions Exist.

As more people connect to the Internet and electrical grids, the number of devices and online interactions increase dramatically. The net outcome of this transition is arguably positive, as more education and higher standards of living tend to follow. However, along with more users, connected devices, and online interactions also comes greater opportunities for exploitation. Basic cybersecurity practices are fairly uncommon, especially among new and inexperienced users. For example, simply repeating a weak password for multiple accounts exposes users to brute force hack attacks. Technical literacy is often the only thing preventing users and their data from being compromised by malicious actors, and, sadly, this knowledge is also uncommon. Education must be made a priority if proper cybersecurity practices are to be maintained among new and veteran users alike.

2. Over 90% of Breaches Are Due to Human Error.

Hackers commonly manipulate the inexperience of technology users for malicious intent. They often employ deceptive tactics like phishing emails, which may appear harmless, but are actually designed to coerce a user to click a fraudulent link and deliver sensitive data. These emails are commonplace, and can be fairly effective, especially when automated to target vulnerable populations. Phishing may be classified as social engineering, as it involves the psychological manipulation of individuals into performing compromising actions. This form of exploitation preys on the innocence and ignorance of users in general by impersonating legitimate authorities or personalities. Hackers use social engineering to steal sensitive data, gain unauthorized entry into accounts, or even physically access important facilities. Simply being aware of these scams and their potential for harm reduces their effectiveness significantly. Proper cybersecurity protocols will inform users of how to best avoid such exploitation by staying vigilant, verifying identities, double-checking email addresses, and scrutinizing any bizarre requests or activities.

3. Hacks Attacks Occur Almost Constantly.

The sheer number of hack attempts occurring daily is staggering. According to a recent University of Maryland study, malicious agents attempt to gain unauthorized access to online devices and accounts every 39 seconds. Automation and various software programs assist hackers in this endeavor, frequently overwhelming digital and physical systems, as well as their respective security measures. This astonishing fact proves the growing necessity of robust cybersecurity protocols for both businesses and private individuals. Furthermore, recent trends suggest an increased number of breaches of private information held by large corporations like Facebook and Yahoo, as well as government agencies such as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In order to protect valuable user data, private and public organizations must take extensive measures to secure their digital systems and technologies.

4. Cyberattacks Cost Businesses Millions

Cybercrime is certainly on the rise, and it’s incredibly costly for businesses. IBM estimates the average cyberattack costs businesses an average of $4 million, making this one of the most expensive and damaging exploits to plague modern organizations. Given that hackers prey largely on the ignorance of inexperienced users, simply promoting awareness, education, and technical literacy can reduce instances of disastrous compromise. Experts suggest that cybersecurity will grow to be more than a $1 trillion industry in order to counter the increasing number of new users and techniques available to hackers. Modern businesses cannot afford to compromise on cybersecurity if they wish to remain accountable and competitive.

We understand the importance of cybersecurity here at Tech Allies. We seek to simplify digital systems and protect the privacy of end-users’ sensitive data. We encourage you request a free, comprehensive IT assessment for yourself or your business. You’re always welcome to contact us with questions or concerns regarding technology or cybersecurity—we’ll do our best to provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.