Cyber Security

February 29, 2012: Calling All Cyber-Cops!

The more technology we have, the easier-and the more difficult-our lives can get. How many times in the past year have you heard about businesses experiencing website security breaches?

Cyber attacks are a problem for businesses both large and small. In response, the cyber-security industry has experienced strong and steady growth-boasting a growth rate of nearly 10 percent annually since 2006. Final numbers aren’t in yet, but the projections were that 2011 was the busiest year yet. In fact, The Los Angeles Times estimates that businesses spent nearly $76 billion in 2011 protecting their data, up from $63 billion in 2010.

Sounds like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the $96 billion the Ponemon Institute, a research firm specializing in online security issues, says security and data breaches cost U.S. businesses in the first six months of 2011 alone, up significantly from 2010.

These attacks are definitely on the upswing. Larry Ponemon, the chairman of The Ponemon Institute, told the Times that “In the last year, 90 percent of businesses have suffered at least one security breach, and more than half had at least two.”

One of the biggest problems is malware (malicious software intended to disable computers). Malware attacks are skyrocketing, with tens of millions of new malware programs detected every year. This is exacerbated by the latest tech trend, consumerization. The integration of people’s digital personal and business lives, consumerization can lead to the accidental downloading of malware on company and personal computers.

While this trend is bad for business, it’s good for cyber-security experts, who are now in great demand. While big businesses can afford to bring these experts on as staff, America’s millions of small businesses are looking to outside contractors to provide protection for their businesses. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, even if you don’t have cyber-detection skills. You can always hire the skilled labor (even on an independent contractor basis) to do the actual jobs.