Cybersecurity is important to every business. As soon as you collect a customer’s personal information, credit card information, or any other data, you are obligated to ensure that it is protected and used properly at all times.
This is not just a moral obligation. It is a legal one, and the recent General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) passed in the EU means companies must be even more transparent about how information they collect is stored and used.
What does all this mean to an international business? It means there are challenges, including regulations in the countries where you do business, the protection of data while it is being transmitted, and the threats that are unique to individual countries and territories.
Challenges of Running a Global Business
Of the most important challenges of running a global business of nearly every CEO is cyberthreats. While other concerns like over regulation, geopolitical uncertainty, and changing customer demand also impact the efficiency necessary to run a global business, cyberthreats are a prominent part of any conversation.
The reasons? Everything is run digitally in today’s market, and if network security is breached in any way, both data and efficiency can be lost. Also, it is vital for companies to maintain a reputation for keeping customer data secure; one breach can cost millions in business.
This is especially challenging when servers and other physical data locations may be in countries that have differing security protocols. This is one thing GDPR tries to address: a uniformity of regulation. However, physical security and the risk of compromising human assets goes up with international trade.
This obstacles can be overcome, but they require leadership that is agile, adaptable to a variety of circumstances, and understands the nature of those risks.
Insuring Your Digital Assets
What about insurance? Normally, digital assets should be covered by your business policy, but when dealing with international business, it is especially important that you pay attention to the type of policy you have and the terms related to incidents overseas. There are some important questions to ask when you look at which of your digital assets are covered.
- What is your policy for? Does it include data breach coverage? This is an important component of your small business insurance package.
- What situations does it cover and not cover? Does the policy cover cyberthreats? Physical damage to servers? How much cost does it cover?
- What happens with international incidents? The key with global business is that much of what can happen to your small business can happen outside of the U.S. What does your insurance cover when this is the case?
Small business insurance should not be seen as a cost, but rather as an investment — but it is up to you to make sure your investment is sound. Global business demands an international policy, and while the cost may be greater, this is inherent in the risks involved.
Adaptive Security and Global Business
There is a new kid on the block thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning: adaptive security. Instead of simply focusing on responding to an attack once it has already happened and recovering lost data, this method works differently. Here are some of the features of adaptive security that appeal to many businesses:
- Prevention: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are enabling protection programs to predict types of attacks and move to prevent them before the data breach even happens.
- Detection: Even if a threat gets through the firewalls and encryption, if a system can detect the breach before any damage has been done, it can be isolated and neutralized.
- Response: An adaptive security system can do one of two things: First, it can immediately respond to a threat to either neutralize it as mentioned above or, at worst, mitigate some of the damage before it is beyond recovery. Secondly, it can respond with long-term changes in policy and data storage methods and identity verification.
- Prediction: Probably the most powerful aspect of an adaptive security system is that it can predict future attacks through behavior analysis, adding yet another layer to prevention.
Adaptive security is likely to become the norm for most businesses going forward simply because, as threats become more sophisticated, a sophisticated answer is the only thing that will be effective.
Doing business internationally has many challenges, but one of the biggest is cybersecurity, and battling threats worldwide is much more difficult. It is important to understand these challenges, ensure that your digital assets are insured, and use the most adaptive security tools possible to protect your business and your customers’ data.