Today’s project managers need to be well-versed on a wide array of subjects, from budgeting to time management. One area that they cannot afford to overlook is cyber security. If you do not have adequate cyber security knowledge, you could be leaving an organisation wide open to a breach. This is the last thing you want to happen during your project, which is why it is important to get to grips with cyber threats and how to deal with them.
Did you know that cybercrime now makes up 40 per cent of all criminal incidents that are recorded? This statistic alone shows why you need to be bothered. Educating yourself on cyber security principles is a must. You may find that some project management training courses offer a brief overview of this, but doing a bit of self-education is also advised. After all, the security of your workplace projects is more important than ever, especially as GDPR have introduced new data privacy reforms, meaning fines can reach $17 million.
Moreover, experts are predicting that 2019 is going to be the worst year yet for data breaches. On average, such an incident costs a business $3.2 million, and that is without factoring in the long-term damage to the company’s brand and reputation. If project managers do not consider the value of data, who should have access to the data, and the implications if the data was breached, then they could be responsible for millions and millions of pounds of damage to their clients. It is safe to say that this would wreck the project manager’s reputation, and is the sort of thing that can result in contracts being termination. From VPN implementation to encryption, you need to learn about how to protect your projects.
As a project manager, it is also important that you factor in how much data and of what nature will be impacted if a breach took place. If you are working for a client that holds highly sensitive data, for example, health records, whether their full records, or specific criminal records, like the results of a drug mouth swab test, it is your responsibility to ensure it is protected, no matter the cost. Being unaware of the type of data you are dealing with is one of the biggest mistakes. If you feel that protecting data is going to be expensive and stretch your project budget too much, it is time to talk to the client. Discuss the technology that is necessary to provide the level of protection required, and explain the risk of a data breach.
It does not matter what type of project you are in charge of; cyber security is crucial – even if the data you are dealing with is not sensitive. You can never be sure regarding what potential exploitation points your project could open if cyber security is not considered. With that being said, now would be a good time to ensure that you are up to speed with cyber security, and make sure that this is a point of consideration in every project. Having a formal plan is highly advised. That way, everyone can be on the same page regarding what is and is not expected in order to protect data.