With the rising number of cyber attacks, natural disasters and intellectual property theft cases, corporate security has become a priority in the business world. Each year, more than $600 billion is lost due to cybercrime. In 2016, there were over 4,000 ransomware attacks on a daily basis in the U.S. alone. Yet, many small businesses either overlook or ignore corporate security. Big companies, on the other hand, invest millions in the latest security software and equipment.

What Is Corporate Security?

The role of corporate security is to protect organizations, their technologies, employees, technical resources and customer data from internal and external threats. Its ultimate goal is to ensure the proper functioning of your company and mitigate risks. As a business owner, you can hire security personnel, purchase security software and switch to more advanced technologies to protect your company's tangible and intangible assets.

Global security spending is forecasted to reach $96 billion this year, which is 8 percent more compared to 2017. Organizations are spending large amounts of money to prevent security breaches, protect financial data and detect cyber attacks before they escalate. In a 2016 survey, 53 percent of respondents stated that security risks are their primary concern.

In 2017, companies have spent more than $4.695 million on identity access management, $57.719 million on security services, $11.669 million on network security equipment and $17.467 million on infrastructure protection. The GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation, which came into effect on May 28 this year, has forced companies to prioritize data security and reveal the extent of cyber attacks within 72 hours.

The new data protection regulations apply to all companies that are dealing with EU customers, not just to European organizations. Failure to comply can result in fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4 percent of a company's annual global turnover. Corporations and other large organizations are now required to employ Chief Information Security Officers and Data Protection Officers to ensure their compliance with the GDPR. Under the new law, companies have significantly more legal liability in the event of a data breach.

Making sure your business follows the latest security practices is important. Whether you own an online store, a dining venue or a law firm, you must take the steps needed to protect customer data, safeguard your financial records and prevent cyber attacks. Failure to do so can damage your reputation and cause revenue loss. In the worst case scenario, you could end up in jail or be forced to close your business.

The Role of Corporate Security

The ever-changing business environment along with the rising number of security risks is driving the demand for data security professionals and services. It's estimated that over 4,000 ransomware attacks, 33,000 phishing attacks and 300,000 new malware cases are detected daily in the U.S. alone. Furthermore, approximately 780,000 data records are lost to hacking. In this digital era, cybercriminals are getting better and better at stealing information and evading network defenses.

In a survey, 71 percent of U.S. companies and 67 percent of international enterprises reported suffering at least one data breach. External threats account for more than 75 percent of these attacks. In 2017, the average cost of a data breach was $3.62 million.

Identity theft is on the rise, too. Cybercriminals often use stolen data to obtain credit, purchase goods, engage in drug trafficking or enter a country illegally. Large companies like Choice Hotels International, Allstate Insurance Company, Ullico Inc., M&T Bank and Equity Resources, Inc. reported data breaches in 2017. Not to mention Equifax, Scottrade, JP Morgan Chase and other breaches that were extensively covered by the media.

Assuming that your business implements the latest technology to deter cybercrime, there still is the risk of employee theft, vandalism and burglary. Without a security team in place, your company is vulnerable to these threats.

Employee theft, for example, is responsible for losses of up to $50 billion annually. A staggering 75 percent of workers have stolen at least once from the company for whom they worked. Approximately 33 percent of U.S. companies filed bankruptcy due to employee theft. It takes about two years on average to detect this kind of fraud.

The role of security in the corporate world is to mitigate these risks and reduce their impact. This industry has several branches, including:

  • Risk management.
  • Fraud deterrence.
  • Crime prevention.
  • Compliance programs.
  • Information security.
  • Physical and personal security.
  • Crisis management.
  • Corporate governance.

Each niche has several sub-categories. Information security, for example, encompasses data security, cloud security, infrastructure protection, customer security software, identity access management and more.

Depending on your budget and type of business, you can focus on one or more of these areas. Currently, approximately 35 percent of companies are using multiple data security tools, such as data backup and encryption software. This number is expected to reach 60 percent by 2020.

Let's say you have a small retail store. In this case, you're facing the risk of employee theft and fraud, cash register tampering, false price adjustments, refund fraud, burglary and more. Therefore, it's crucial that you have a security policy in place and use the right tools to deter these crimes. Simple things such as streamlining the company's policies, implementing eligibility verification and installing surveillance cameras, can go a long way toward your security.

A corporation, on the other hand, has more extensive needs. It has to employ a security manager, hire a security team, implement awareness programs and invest in the latest technology to prevent data breaches and cyber attacks. Some companies also provide their employees with an Identity Monitoring benefit, which helps lower the risk of identity theft and increases cybersecurity.

How to Increase Business Security 

The first step to safeguard your small business from cybercrime, theft and fraud is to create a security policy. This document should outline the best security practices for your company, such as developing fraud prevention strategies, managing physical security hardware, controlling ID pass access and implementing security awareness programs for your staff.

Consider hiring a security officer to make sure your employees follow these practices. He will be responsible for keeping your business premises secure and protecting your staff. Security officer duties may include monitoring entrance of people or vehicles in the office building, maintaining order, detecting signs of intrusion and answering alarms. He may also take messages and answer phone calls on weekends and during non-business hours.

Make sure you also purchase security software and update or upgrade existing technologies in the workplace. Depending on your needs, you may switch to multi-factor authentication, use data-centric encryption for your files and email, back up your data and set up individual logins for your employees.

Your security policy should also include the steps employees must follow in case of theft, data breaches, natural disasters and other emergencies. Ask them to regularly back up the files on their computers, use stronger passwords and keep their software up to date at all times. Train your staff on corporate security so they can identify and prevent any issues that may arise.

Protecting customer data and business premises should be a priority for your organization. Take action to secure your business online and offline, instruct and prepare your staff and put strict permission levels in place to safeguard your files.