The human cost of cyberattacks should never be underestimated

human cost cyberattack
Image credit | wutzkoh/bigstockphoto.com

Little has been written about the human cost of cyberattacks but the fact is that it is significant and can affect an entire organisation.

The people who feel the impact most, not surprisingly, are IT managers, who feel responsible, particularly when it comes to ransomware. The effect is to put them on the ‘back foot’.

Global research commissioned by cybersecurity company Sophos (carried out by Vanson Bourne across 26 countries) shows that IT managers hit by ransomware are three times as likely to feel ‘significantly behind’ than those who have not been attacked.

These managers also feel it is a lot tougher to find skilled security staff than those who are blissfully unaware of the real damage ransomware can cause. It is, perhaps, not surprising, the same human cost can be seen in ‘real’ situations.

One result of this impact is that ransomware victims spend less time on threat prevention and more on response, which makes matters worse – the best form of defence is to be on the front foot.

This, of course, is happening when the human cost of the pandemic, of remote working and the increase in cyberattacks is making matters so much worse. We are working in fragile environments, both technical and emotional. And the attacks are sophisticated, use conventional tools in many cases – and are unrelenting.

The good news is that in Singapore as an example, local organisations are outsourcing their security function. 73% of organisations are outsourcing some or all of their IT security already and 80% expect to be doing so by 2022. This, at least, means that IT managers are being proactive in combatting the problem, freeing them up to manage their increasingly remote workforces.

It is easy to report on the range, sophistication, technical and business impacts of cyberattacks. The impact on business reputation alone can be devastating. But we should spare a thought or two for the human cost of being attacked.

‘Cybersecurity, The Human Challenge’, with comparisons and analysis can be downloaded here, and we would recommend a read.

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