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Cyber Risks Threaten Businesses – But Detection and Response Can Help

Cyber risks top the latest Allianz Risk Barometer, with data breaches, attacks on critical infrastructure, and ransomware being the most pressing concerns for businesses. However, these risks are just the tip of the iceberg according to Gerhard Swart, CTO at cybersecurity firm Performanta. He argues that the interconnected nature of digital environments means that cyber risks can easily spiral out of control and lead to issues like accidental data loss, infrastructure failure, and employee misconduct.

“It’s enough to make one’s head spin,” says Swart. “Traditional businesses have a lot of risks to track. If we’re honest, most don’t and hope they don’t get into too much trouble. The problem with digital and cyber risks is that they tend to be present everywhere in a business and by their nature can escalate very quickly. For example, if a Point-of-Sale platform or payment service goes down, it could stop transactions at several branches. But that’s a lot of extra elements to track and most businesses don’t know where to start or what to prioritise.”

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The common thread underlying these cyber threats? A lack of visibility into complex digital systems. Without comprehensive monitoring and detection capabilities, the “cracks and crevices” of IT ecosystems allow threats to remain hidden. Performanta likens this to cockroaches lurking out of sight, poised to wreak havoc.

Swart advocates starting with improved cybersecurity visibility and detection to shore up defences. Leveraging extended detection and response (XDR) platforms is key. These tools combine endpoint, network, cloud and other data sources to reveal suspicious behaviours and patterns at machine speed. Importantly, XDR automates containment and remediation steps after threats are discovered.

The upshot? Enhanced cybersecurity visibility lays the groundwork for managing wider digital risks too. Understanding data flows and employee actions is useful not just for halting malicious attacks, but for improving governance, compliance and general system oversight.

So while cyber threats may seem overwhelming, prioritising visibility and detection capabilities can help businesses gain control. As digital permeates every aspect of operations, integrated security becomes paramount. An ounce of XDR prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to today’s cyber risk landscape.

Read next: New KnowBe4 report reveals spike in public sector cyber attacks

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