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Cybersecurity – The necessary ‘evil’ of technology

Cybersecurity – one of the most critical areas in the protection of information systems and data of companies and organisations globally, and Cyprus is no exception. In 2023, Cyprus was faced with a series of cyberattacks that harmed dozens of companies and organisations, making cybersecurity a top priority for the island’s business community but also for the Government itself.

The need for enhanced cybersecurity stems from the businesses’ ever-growing reliance on digital technology and the internet, as well as from the widespread use of teleworking, which heightens the risk for cyberattacks. These attacks include ransomware, phishing, DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks and other forms of cybercrime aimed at stealing sensitive information, disrupting system operations or even making them inoperable.

The Cyprus government, aware of the escalating cyber threat, has taken important measures to strengthen national cybersecurity. These include the development and implementation of cybersecurity strategies and policies, the creation of specialised cybersecurity centres, as well as the organisation of training programmes and awareness campaigns for companies and individuals. Furthermore, Cyprus participates in international networks and partnerships for the exchange of knowledge and information on cyber threats and good cybersecurity practices.

For their part, companies in Cyprus are compelled to take proactive measures to protect their digital assets. These include strengthening their systems and networks with advanced security technologies, regularly updating and upgrading their software, conducting regular security audits and assessments, and training their employees on cybersecurity.

Despite these efforts, the evolving nature of cyber threats poses a constant challenge, requiring companies to maintain vigilance and adapt their security strategies to stay ahead. Companies need a holistic approach to cybersecurity that includes prevention, detection, response and recovery from cyberattacks. It is also important for them to have a well-defined incident response plan, as well as the ability to quickly recover from a cyberattack, in order to minimise the impact on both their operations and reputation.

To summarise, 2023 marked a year where cybersecurity has become central to Cypriot companies. Current challenges have underlined the need for continuous awareness, training and investment in advanced cybersecurity solutions. The cooperation between businesses, government authorities and international organisations will continue to be imperative to effectively dealing with cyber threats and strengthening digital security on the island.

Cloud computing provides a widespread response to the growing need for cybersecurity in today’s business world. Cloud solutions offer a number of advantages including flexibility, scalability, and the ability to rapidly integrate advanced security technologies. In addition, cloud service providers offer automatic security updates and infrastructure maintenance, reducing IT teams’ workload, thus allowing companies to focus on their core business activities.

However, migrating to the cloud also brings a major issue with it: the increasing dependence of businesses on Big Tech companies. Businesses are not only dependent technologically but also financially, as Bic Techs, due to lack of standardisation, can charge as they wish for the provision of their services. The pricing of cloud services is often complex and opaque, as prices vary depending on resource utilisation, data storage, network performance and other factors. This means that businesses may find themselves facing surprisingly high charges, particularly during periods of increased demand or escalating storage needs.

This dependency creates a dynamic where businesses become captive to the policies and pricing strategies of cloud service providers. While these services often offer significant benefits in terms of cybersecurity, businesses should guard against losing control of their technological and financial autonomy. It is crucial that they negotiate contracts with clear terms and predictable pricing, study the market for possible alternatives, and maintain a high level of preparedness for the possible need to switch to a new technology or IT provider.

In conclusion, while cloud computing can provide effective cybersecurity solutions, growing reliance on Big Techs requires the need for careful balance of risks and benefits. Businesses should be able to develop strategies which will allow them to take advantage of new technologies without undermining their financial independence or jeopardising their information security.

*Written by Panayiotis Dionysiou, Head of Technology at PAPAELLINAS Group