How To Align Cybersecurity To Business Model: Your Strategy
Cybersecurity is different for every business. What one business needs, another business wouldn’t.
Do you think an in-store retail clothing brand would have the same cybersecurity needs as a free app? No! But both have cybersecurity risks.
Every business has to protect its cybersecurity.
And every business model has different cybersecurity needs that you can base your cybersecurity around. However, as I’ve mentioned, every business is different. So your cybersecurity will also be different even in comparison to those with your same business model.
But you can still learn how to align cybersecurity to business model as a general rule (and then dig into your cybersecurity strategy more).
Understanding Your Business Model
Every business is there to solve a problem. But, not all problems are the same. Business models are there to provide the best solution to a problem. Your business is likely the way it is to provide the best solution for your customers.
If you want to learn how to align your cybersecurity to business model, you need to know which business model you have. If you need a refresh, here are some of the most common Business Models:
1. E-commerce: this is where you sell products or services directly to your customers online. Products/ services are usually sold through your website, or another digital platform.
1. An example of an E-commerce business model is ‘Amazon‘ which sells products online directly to the consumer.
2. Subscription: this is where customers pay a recurring fee to access and use your product or service over a specified period.
1. An example of this may be your gym membership (whichever gym that may be).
3. Retailer: this is where customers can go direct to a business and buy products and services in person.
1. An example of this is a local retailer that may have no online presence.
4. Marketplace: this is where buyers and sellers are on the same platform but the platform takes a fee or commission for a sale between buyer and seller.
1. An example of this would be ‘Etsy‘ as sellers sell their products to customers, and Etsy takes a fee per transaction.
5. Freemium: this is where a basic product or service is offered for free, but any additional features or premium versions are available to buy.
1. An example of this would be ‘LastPass‘ as they offer a free version, but for more security, they offer a premium version.
6. On-demand: this is where a product or service is available whenever it is needed.
7. Franchise: this is where you license a known business but pay a fee to the known brand, system and support service.
1. An example of this is with many ‘McDonalds‘. Many local Mcdonald’s restaurants may be owned by a local owner, rather than McDonald’s themselves.
Overall, there are so many different types of business models and all of them are so different from each other. But they all have something in common – there are cybersecurity risks in each of them.
Identifying Cybersecurity Risks To Your Business Model
Depending on what type of business model you’ve identified your business to be in, your business could have the following cybersecurity risks:
- Payment card data breaches and thefts.
- Unauthorised access to customer accounts and personal information.
- Website and application vulnerabilities which lead to a hack or data breach.
- A Distributed Denial of Service attack.
- Private customer data breaches (e.g. payment details, email addresses).
- Unauthorised access to customer subscription accounts and personal information.
- Point-of-sale breaches where payment card details are stolen at the time of the sale.
- Social engineering attacks targeting employees or customers.
- Fraudulent activities such as fake sellers or fake products being sold.
- Unauthorised access to customer or seller data.
- Malicious code added to product descriptions or communications to customers.
- Unauthorised access to premium features or content.
- Privacy concerns related to the collection of user data.
- Inadequate security measures in the free versions as fewer security efforts have gone into the free versions.
- Privacy concerns related to the collection of data.
- The exploitation of vulnerabilities in the on-demand platforms (websites) and applications.
- Data breaches on both the franchisors and franchisees (e.g. the local Mcdonald’s Franchise owner and Mcdonald’s).
- Unauthorised access to customer and franchisee data.
- Compliance and security gaps across all the franchises.
Overall, each business model has cybersecurity risks. But what can you do to protect your business from these?
How can you align your cybersecurity to your business model?
Your business model has cybersecurity risks – it’s normal. Every business has them and usually, each business has different risks. However, you cannot just ignore them and hope they go away. You need to find a way to mitigate the cybersecurity risks you have before your business is overcome by these cybersecurity risks!
To align cybersecurity to business model, you need to implement cybersecurity into your business strategy.
Aligning Cybersecurity Goals With Overall Business Objectives
Likely, your business will have a goal or objective that you work towards.
Is it to improve your financial performance (e.g. increase revenue and ROI)? Or is it to expand into new markets or geographies (e.g. diversify products or services, and open new areas of work)?
Whatever business objective you strive for, you need to align these with cybersecurity goals too.
If not you could face a whole load of problems.
If you want to improve financial performance but don’t align your cybersecurity, you could increase revenue but lose it all after a ransomware attack.
Or, if you want to expand into a new geography and don’t align your cybersecurity, you could become the victim of a ‘physical penetration’ in the new location (where the hacker physically gains access to your new business premises to infiltrate systems).
If you don’t know the cybersecurity risks of your business objectives, how are you going to ensure all your hard work doesn’t go to waste?!
You need to add cybersecurity to your long-term business strategy.
Prioritising Cybersecurity As A Fundamental Aspect Of Strategy
In today’s world with the constant threat of cyberattacks and ransom demands, prioritising cybersecurity should be fundamental to your business strategy for long-term success and resilience.
By recognising the significance of cybersecurity from the start, you will demonstrate a proactive approach to safeguarding your business, reputation, and trust.
To align cybersecurity to business model, you will need to allocate resources, establish clear objectives, and integrate cybersecurity into every area of your business.
But firstly, how much do you know about the regulatory and compliance standards your business needs to meet for your cybersecurity? The first step to integrating cybersecurity into your business strategy is to know the regulatory requirements you are required to follow.
Here in the UK, there are specific regulations every business must adhere to, and some which depend on your industry/ business model.
- GDPR: Any business that processes the personal data of those based within the EU needs to implement appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data.
- NIS Directive: Any operators of ‘essential services’ or ‘digital service providers’ are required to take appropriate security measures, and report significant cyber incidents to an authority.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard: Any business that processes payment cards needs to comply with a set of security standards for the secure handling, storage and transmission of the cardholder data.
- Financial Conduct Authority: Any business in the financial sector (banks or financial institutions) must adhere to these cybersecurity requirements to protect customer data, maintain operational resilience and prevent financial crime.
If you’ve got all these already, perfect! You’ve just completed the first step to aligning cybersecurity with your business model. However, it’s not all over yet.
It’s all well and good to meet the cybersecurity requirements required of you by law, but this just isn’t enough to protect your business comprehensively. You need to do more.
Identifying Critical Assets And Data That Need Protection
By conducting a thorough assessment, you will be able to pinpoint the specific information, systems, and resources that are essential to operations and hold significant value. Typically, these are:
- Customer data
- Intellectual property
- Financial records
- Trade secrets
And any other sensitive information that, if compromised, could result in severe financial, legal, or reputational consequences.
Anything that relates to these categories should be known as your ‘Critical Assets’.
These ‘Critical Assets’ are where you need to add extra cybersecurity policies. Once you identify these, you can prioritise your cybersecurity efforts in those areas, and protect your business better.
Developing A Cybersecurity Strategy
To develop your cybersecurity strategy, there are a few things you need to consider.
You need to think about the regulations that cover your business, your critical assets, and your business model’s needs.
Your Cybersecurity Strategy and Your Business Model
Depending on what business model your business works on, your prioritisation of cybersecurity efforts will be different.
Just think about the cybersecurity needs of an e-commerce store in comparison to a retail ‘in-person’ store. An e-commerce store will need more advanced web filters; whilst a retail store would be better with staff training and keeping point-of-sale systems free from breaches.
The cybersecurity strategy for each model is completely different. And it’ll work like this for every business model.
Here are some examples of how your cybersecurity strategy will differ depending on your business model.
1. E-commerce: Robust web filters should be implemented to protect against unauthorised access and application-level attacks. Secure payment gateways and encryption should also be used.
2. Subscription: Employ strong access controls and user authentication mechanisms to prevent unauthorised access to subscription services.
3. Retailer: Maintain secure point-of-sale systems with end-to-end encryption. This will protect customer payment card data.
4. Marketplace: Regularly monitor and analyse user behaviour to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions or suspicious activities. You could use software to do this as well.
5. Freemium: Implement secure coding practices to prevent common web application vulnerabilities such as SQL injection. This should be done on both the premium AND free versions.
6. On-demand: Employ secure communication protocols to protect data transmitted between users and service providers.
7. Franchise: Regularly audit franchisee systems and networks for any potential security vulnerabilities.
Similarities Between The Business Models
So, now you know how you can align cybersecurity differently depending on the business model you have. But, do you also know that you need to align your cybersecurity in the same way as all the other business models?
There’s a massive part of your cybersecurity strategy that we haven’t mentioned yet. This is ‘Staff Training’.
Every business should include staff training in its cybersecurity strategy.
Educating and Training Your Workforce
One of the biggest gaps in every business’s cybersecurity is people. Humans. Your employees.
Employees are the biggest cybersecurity vulnerability your business has, as employees are at the root of 95% of cyber attacks! To create a great cybersecurity strategy throughout all the business models, you need to include staff training.
Without educating your employees, your cybersecurity efforts will be nothing but a waste of money.
Educating Your Workforce
There are many different education platforms out there to train your staff, but, very few platforms are specifically designed for cybersecurity training.
Here at Jera, we offer a platform of over 1,400+ courses all about cybersecurity.
A big part of your business strategy should be educating your workforce on cybersecurity. Cyberspace moves fast, and if you aren’t keeping your employees up with it, your business could fall down with it.
A Cybersecurity Solution Like No Other
Ensuring your employees are educated in cybersecurity isn’t the only thing you can do on the Jera platform.
You can use it too. If you’re struggling to align cybersecurity to business model yourself, you can find a course on the Jera platform to help!
It couldn’t be simpler to align cybersecurity to business model.
Utilise our course to help you with the process of aligning your cybersecurity to your business model.
If you’re in the financial, healthcare, retail or governmental sector, this course could be the easiest thing you could do for your business. The whole course will only take 1hr, and afterwards, you will be able to easily plan your cybersecurity.
Align Cybersecurity To Business Model
Sometimes in a business, you might just be too busy to think about your cybersecurity strategy.
Are you only able to put out the fires? Do you have any time to think about preventing the fires? A lot of people in your shoes do not have the time to sit around and wonder about how to align cybersecurity to business model.
So, we want you to know there is an easier way!
IT businesses throughout your area will offer services such as ‘cybersecurity strategies’ or ‘IT strategies’. You can use these to plan your cybersecurity – without you having to sort through a 1hr course, or making a wrong choice.
However, if you’re not sure what local IT company to use for creating a cybersecurity strategy, contact us here at Jera. We have over 20 years of experience and have helped businesses around Scotland create the perfect IT Strategy for their business. Could you be next?!
If you need an IT Strategy in Scotland or anywhere in the UK, Contact us here at Jera.
If you want to align cybersecurity to business model, you need to know what cybersecurity risks your business model has.
To align your cybersecurity to your business model easily, you can either work out the most critical aspects of your business and strategise about how to intertwine it all together – or take our course on how to align cybersecurity to business model.
No matter what way you decide to do it, aligning cybersecurity with your business strategy is a must for your business.