Why sustainable cyber security should be high on every company’s agenda By Martin Riley, Director of Managed Security Services at Bridewell Consulting

Sustainability and cyber security are two of the biggest challenges facing society in 2022, yet all too often they are thought of in isolation. But as responsible global citizens, organisations must approach both as inseparable aspects of protection and preservation.

A growing focus on improving sustainability has reached all areas of business, and as a result, IT and security are now under the spotlight. A study from Microsoft shows “an impressive desire from UK organisations to build back greener from Covid-19 and accelerate progress towards net zero.” To succeed, companies must drive improvements in every decision they make, and that includes choosing the right cyber security vendors and suppliers.

Sustainability: a key cyber security consideration

Traditionally, it’s fair to say that sustainability has not been front-of-mind when devising a cyber security strategy. After all, cyber security and environmental and climate issues are not words that are commonly thrown together. Yet there are several key touchpoints between cyber security and sustainability.

Research indicates that the IT industry could use 20% of all electricity produced at emit up to 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2025. When seeking to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of their systems, environmental sustainability must be high on the radar of all IT decision-makers, otherwise cyber security risks adding to an already gargantuan carbon footprint.

The recent shift towards green technologies also highlights the interconnectedness of cyber security and sustainability. As systems are modernised and connected to improve efficiency and minimise carbon emissions, they can become more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Therefore, security by design is essential to the development of the new technologies required for climate transformation.

A cyber security breach can even result in the loss of control over critical national infrastructure, potentially causing severe damage to human health and the environment. Sustainability and cyber security can no longer be considered in isolation: instead, sustainable cyber security must be front and centre of every organisation’s security posture.

Making the right choices

When it comes to driving improvements in cyber security sustainability, companies need the right support. They should carefully consider which vendors and suppliers can provide the transparency and consistency needed to make the important decisions – quickly.

Most importantly is the ability to offset and reduce carbon emissions. The right partner will show a commitment to being net carbon negative through offsetting and community-led renewable energy initiatives, enabling companies to balance out their own carbon footprint while strengthening their cyber security infrastructure.

Forward-thinking IT and security suppliers have already embarked on sustainability plans and are taking steps to add no carbon emissions into the supply chain of their customers. However, the most innovative extend this to all aspects of their business, from the location of premises to promote the use of public transport, to the use of low-energy equipment, local suppliers and applying carbon offsetting to the new hybrid working environment, ensuring that all staff are carbon negative regardless of location.

By choosing a partner that takes sustainability as seriously as cyber security – and recognises both as interdependent – companies can step into the future with an improved cyber security posture and a clearer conscience.

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