Wirtschaft digital Baden-Württemberg

IT security

Effective protection against digital threats.

Safety first: The topic of IT security is key to the success of digitalisation both for the economy as a whole and for each and every company because companies can only use the full potential of digital technologies if unwanted access and manipulation from outside can be successfully prevented and data protected. IT security is much more than just the simple use of firewalls and anti-virus scanners – these technical means are a necessary precondition, but definitely not a sufficient solution when it comes to effectively protecting a company’s IT.

Although the threat in the IT sector may at first glance seem to be more abstract than, say, stealing from a company, this threat is nevertheless very real and should not be underestimated because companies who fail to adequately protect themselves can suffer severe damage.

Malware loaded into the IT system either by hacking or from a USB stick can cause an entire business to collapse. Companies using smart machines in production are particularly at risk because these machines are susceptible to targeted manipulation and disruption. This can cause damage not just as a result of defective products but, in a worst-case scenario, can even bring the production to a halt.

Legal consequences are also conceivable if, for instance, a company’s customer database is stolen. Since this database contains personal data, the Federal Data Protection Act applies to such cases of data theft with fines of up to 300,000 euro being possible. The damage that this can cause to a company’s reputation must also be considered.

What makes IT security so special

Cyberattacks cannot be fully compared with other security risks, such as intrusion or theft. Because unlike thieves, offenders of IT security adapt very quickly to the state of the art and find increasingly targeted and clever ways to bypass or break into new security systems. This means that protection measures must be developed on an ongoing basis to counteract cyberattacks and in order to remain up to date.

But not only the attacks themselves, also the offenders’ motivation has changed considerably over time. While it was formerly often some kind of competitive ambition that motivated hackers, today’s cyberattacks are often driven by professional crime or industrial espionage. The background is that activities, such as online banking and online shopping, as well as the increasing level of interconnectivity of devices offer more and more starting points for business models like identity theft and blackmail.