What is Cyber Security?

Without getting into technical definitions, cyber security is simply concerned with the security of cyberspace. Why should anyone care? Well, more than ever we all ‘exist’ in cyberspace, both personally and professionally. Our collective cyber activities range from online shopping and banking, through all types of social media interaction, to entertainment, global business and commerce, economics and politics. Not to mention the so-called ‘dark net’ where many illegitimate and illegal activities are on going.

First consider how you and/or your business would be affected if all of a sudden cyberspace wasn’t there? We call it ‘denial of service’ meaning you can’t access the Internet or the many services it provides, and upon which we all rely so heavily. At home you might last a few days without Netflix or Amazon Prime, but at work it’s likely to be a very different story if access to the Internet is denied for even short periods. In some cases an interruption lasting only seconds can be disastrous.

Second, consider the data – think about how much information is now online, whether personal or business related – and how difficult it would be if you were denied access to it without warning. Consider also how much confidence you have that your personal and business data is properly protected. Are you sure that it is secure? An equally valid and important question is just how ‘secure’ does it need to be? These are all issues of confidentiality.

Third, consider data integrity, and the consequences of your data being deliberately or accidentally modified in some way. Medical records, tax information, savings and pensions data, exam results, criminal records – the list is endless; even the slightest modification that will typically go unnoticed at first can have serious and sometimes life-threatening outcomes.

Maintaining service availability, and data confidentiality and integrity are just three facets of cyber security; there are many others, often reported in the media and popular press including cyber-bullying, cyber-extortion and cyber-terrorism. Just as there are multiple facets of cyber security, so there are multiple approaches and solutions. Where cyber security is concerned it is a truism that one size does not fit all. Almost as bad as ignoring cyber security, a bit like the ostrich burying its head in the sand, is trying too hard, leading to a disproportionate and costly response – so-called ‘gold-plating’. It’s our job to make sure that never happens, and we spend a surprising amount of time advising businesses to do the minimum; more security does not always mean better security.

What makes Amethyst different is that we have no pre-defined solution or product. We approach each individual scenario with an open mind, looking first and foremost at the business, its plans and objectives. If necessary we can identify critical business processes and information assets, as without this information it is impossible to define an appropriate response.

We want to enable the business to succeed. Cyber security should not be seen as a cost-centre but as a revenue generator.