Global Interconnectivity: Benefits and Threats
Technological Benefits in the Modern World
The digitization of the economy is revolutionizing the way day-to-day business is conducted on all levels of commerce, from Fortune 500 companies and financial institutions, to mom-and-pop retail stores. Similarly, as automation continues to advance, more people are depending on technology for communication, entertainment, travel, education, scheduling, and general organization (to name a few).
By 2020, Domo estimates that for every person on earth, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second. Domo also reported that every minute in 2019, there were 4.5 million searches on Google, 18 million texts were sent, Americans used 4.4 million gigabytes of Internet data, and 390,030 apps were downloaded.
The new technology, including hardware, software, and social media, is benefiting consumers’ lives in ways previous generations couldn’t imagine, even in the most prescient works of science fiction. In just the past decade, constantly improved cell phones, for example, have eliminated the need for separate cameras, watches, alarm clocks, radios, GPS, and many other devices. In addition, phone applications allow consumers to use their phones for thousands of activities, including paying for goods at retailers; hailing taxis or ride shares; listening to any song they desire; navigating their car; and staying in touch with people around the globe on sites like Facebook and Instagram. In short, modern life would come to a screeching halt without technology.
As part and parcel of these digital advances, computer systems and networks are becoming more and more interconnected with the fusing together of Internet-enabled information, operational systems that control manufacturing, and consumer technologies; i.e., end-user products and services that include home automation and sensor-enabled automobiles. Interconnected systems include automated buildings and homes; utilities; manufacturing plants; automobiles; aircraft; oil and gas production; personal medical devices; and virtual assistants.
Threats, Hacks, and Attacks
With the advancement of technology and the world’s growing interconnectivity, the critical infrastructure of the United States—including electrical power grids; financial systems; telecommunications; healthcare; transportation; water; defense; and the Internet—is highly vulnerable to cyberattack. A cyberattack is defined as an attack launched from one computer or more against another computer, multiple computers, or networks.
Cyberattacks are a growing global menace, with almost daily reports of costly threats, hacks, attacks, or major cyber events. The sources of all these attacks are evolving from rogue programmers, to organized crime rings, to state-sponsored bad actors. The Identity Theft Resource Center’s “2018 End-of-Year Data Breach Report” found that there were 1,244 data breaches in 2018, with hacking being the most common form of breach. Though the total number of reported breaches was down 23 percent from 2017, 2018 saw a 126 percent increase in the number of records that contained sensitive personally identifiable information. Monthly reports in 2019 showed that in July 2019 alone, 110 data breaches occurred, exposing 104,546,381 sensitive records and an unknown number of non-sensitive records.
On average, it takes 279 days to identify and contain a data breach, according to Ponemon Institute and IBM Security’s “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2019.” The global average cost of a data breach for 2019 was $3.92 million, up 1.5 percent from 2018. This represents an increase of 12 percent over the last five years (from $3.5 million in 2014 to $3.92 million in 2019).
The average cost of a breach in the U.S. is $8.19 million, more than double the worldwide average, which increased from $7.91 million in 2018. In addition, the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased from $148 in 2018 to $150 in 2019. The study also found that the formation of an incident-response team reduces the cost of a data breach by an average of $360,000.
According to Ocean Tomo’s “Intangible Asset Market Value Study”, companies and government agencies are more vulnerable to cyberattack now than in 1975, when just 17 percent of S&P 500 firms’ market value was tied to intangible assets. That trend has now reversed. In 2015, for example, the percentage skyrocketed to 84 percent, with many firms susceptible to theft of their intellectual capital that resides on company hard drives or in the cloud.
These threats are now a top concern for executives. The World Economic Forum’s “The Global Risks Report 2019” placed cyberattacks and massive data fraud among the year’s top five risks (4th and 5th, respectively)—marking the second time two technological risks were among the top five. With the barrage of cyberattacks, it should come as no surprise that people who can defend companies from these threats are in great demand.
If you’re looking for qualified cybersecurity candidates to help protect your organization’s computer networks and systems, reach out to us today for more information.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 29 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit https://www.sigconsult.com. Signature Consultants is the parent company to Hunter Hollis and Madison Gunn.