Contrast this with such real-world analogies as building construction practices where building and electrical codes are the result of assessing prior disasters for what we need to do differently in the future. When enough electrical fires are caused by similar wiring practices, the electrical codes change to “design it out” for future electrical work. This is hardly what we do with IT. When there are breaches, we generally do not learn any lasting lessons from them other than within the small teams that undo the fiasco.
So, other than build better IT systems what can we really do to reduce the cost of cybercrime? We can value the information by protecting it throughout its life-cycle. I am not advocating that whole disk encryption or encrypted pipes are enough- just the opposite. I am advocating that if you value a piece of data- a sensitive file or record- then you should be using technology that allows you to control who can do what with it and under what conditions they will be allowed to do so.
This isn’t simply encryption, it is encryption combined with what we variously describe as Information Rights Management or Digital Rights Management. Doing so entails a mind shift toward data governance and IT maturity and a shift away from “wishing for the best.” There are various real-world solutions in this space, and they are getting real traction as we share more in a mobile and cloud-friendly IT world. If every copy of a piece of data has equal protection, and if the originator of such data can control access regardless of where the data is, only then do you “own your data.”
As potential victims we present very different opportunities to attackers and our defenses and awareness about the risks are all over the map. Everyone seemingly knows that they are at risk, but the evidence suggests that few of us take the kind of cyber measures which would reflect that we understand that we must protect not only our IT networks and systems but also the information itself.
As data moves further from the center of the organization and business is increasingly conducted over untrusted networks and devices, it seems logical and rational to expect the cost of cybercrime to rise. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the costs of cyber crime exceeded the projections made by the 2012 Ponemon Study and continued on an upward path.
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