Cyber security and sustainability 

Sustainable cyber security

What we mean by sustainable cyber security is ensuring the reduction and mitigation of cyber risks without wasting resources, causing harm to the environment or to the people working on those issues. Sustainability means that the company or project can be sustained for a long time, without burning through resources and by allowing us to have well distributed financial, social, environmental, reputational and other gains. Sustainability helps us meet the needs of today while also ensuring that we can keep meeting our needs in the future.

Sustainability is usually regarded through environmental, social and economic points of view – the pillars of sustainability, however when we talk about security there are other things we need to consider such as technology and processes. Ensuring that people within companies are continuously educated and taught how to best prevent new issues is a good way towards more sustainable practices. Not having a big turnover of employees means less resources and money spent having to teach new people everything from the start all the time, but investing in people who stay and helping them grow while saving time and resources. 

Technology is also a huge part of this, and by trying to use partners and vendors who prioritize repairs and replacements of small parts, we can avoid throwing away big pieces of technology due to minor faults or dead batteries. This saves a lot of money and time, but also reduces technology waste. If all tech companies focused on fixing and upgrading instead of replacing completely when there is a problem or new version of a machine, there would be significantly less waste and the need to safely take care of it.

ESG framework

The ESG framework is an approach for identifying and evaluating the economic, environmental and social impacts of a business on society as well as the environment. This framework can be used when talking about sustainability, but it is also something to discuss when looking at cyber security. With many cyber attacks and risks happening in recent years, cyber security should be looked at from a more integrated point of view, as a real part of the ESG (Environmental, social and governance) policies of companies, and not just as an unrelated technology issue.

Cyber threats are a big financial risk present nowadays for most companies. This is why they should regulate their cyber security and push for good governance on the issue, strive to use quality tools and metrics and ensure fast responses in the event of threats. Those who accomplish this well will be more resilient and sustainable, ensuring their prosperity and future, as well as the stability of communities and governments.

Data is important as the currency of organizations, and data is most in danger when cyber attacks happen. These events can ruin the reputation of a company and make it lose all profits and business, but more importantly it can cause personal data to be lost and endanger individuals whose data was stolen. This data can be highly sensitive and personal, and when it concerns healthcare or banking it can cause wider issues for whole communities, not just for individuals. If we rely on the mitigation of these events after their occurrence, we are not investing our time and money well. The prevention and integration of such issues into a comprehensive ESG strategy can help look at things from a better perspective and take into account all relevant factors and influences.

Considering cyber security as an ESG metric is a new idea, but it seems to lead to better and more sensible solutions. Cyber security is not just a technology issue anymore, and it needs to be regarded as a more complex issue with an approach which includes many different factors than just technology.

Importance of sustainability

Sustainability is not just important for the organizations and sectors directly working on environmental solutions or social issues. If we want to achieve a truly sustainable world we need to incorporate sustainability practices in every possible sector. It doesn’t matter if we focus on agriculture, waste disposal, infrastructure and organization of cities and communities, tourism, banking, engineering or security, all of these as well as every other sector can benefit from sustainable solutions. 

The goal is to work on finding sustainable practices for all of the aspects of our lives, and replace our old habits with better ones, which can directly influence the quality of our lives and our future. When everyone works to be better and implement better solutions within our work and daily lives, the whole world and all of our communities can benefit from this effort.

Some extra sources:

https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/tip/How-to-put-cybersecurity-sustainability-into-practice
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/03/three-reasons-why-cybersecurity-is-a-critical-component-of-esg/
https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/research/why-is-cybersecurity-important-to-esg

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