By Mike Pencavel, Channel Account Manager at WatchGuard Technologies.
Wherever we go in the workplace the threat of fire and the visible signs of the measures we take to protect against such an occurrence are all around us. From the prominent extinguishers, alarms and emergency buttons to the signing in process, assembly points and, of course, the ubiquitous fire drill.
The latter is usually a quarterly undertaking; a means by which organisations take a proactive measure to ensure their staff know how to respond in an emergency.
In the last 12 months, there were 15,894 incidences of fire in non-residential buildings across the UK and, with an estimated stock of 1.8 million non-residential buildings, the chances of your office catching fire is around 0.88%.
Compare that to the alarming fact that two thirds of UK businesses are at risk of falling victim to a data breach and you can see the sense in the suggestion. Granted, a fire poses the more serious risk of loss of life but a cyber-attack can have a devastating impact on a business; in some cases, it can be so catastrophic it can cripple the company’s finances.
Independent research company, the Ponemon Institute, recently undertook a survey of 450 IT and cyber security professionals at medium to large organisations in the UK to determine how prepared they were for a data breach. The results were unsurprising yet still make disturbing reading.
Whilst over three quarters (76%) of those who responded recognised the importance of having an effective and well managed incident response plan, 43% reported that the businesses they worked for did not have one at all.
Disturbingly that means almost half of medium to large businesses in the UK are unprepared to respond to an incident of a breach of cyber security.
Given that businesses are over 100x more likely to experience a data breach than an incidence of fire it seems prudent that organisations should invest more focus on the former.
Not only should all organisations have a cyber breach action plan in place but it should routinely be tested and practiced to ensure that it remains an effective and deployable response to such an incident.
The benefits of regularly performing cyber drills will not only enhance the capability of the IT security teams response time and focus but can also highlight proactive ways to avoid such an occurrence from happening at all.
Fundamentally, routine cyber breach drills can inform and enhance the global strategy for network defence and, maybe not save lives but, save time, money and reputation.