Can you have 100% cybersecurity protection?

A photograph looking over the shoulder of a man working on his laptop.

Cybercrime is on the rise, and with an estimated cost of $10.5 trillion by 2025, it shows no signs of slowing.

In light of this reality, you'd want to protect your data with the best cybersecurity tools, practices, and guarantees. But is a zero-risk state possible? Can you be 100% secure?

Unfortunately, the answer is "no."

Today, the only way to have total security is to turn off your internet, lock down your system, and remove human use (and, therefore, human error).

While IT providers and security experts can't provide a zero-risk guarantee, they can help you reduce your risk.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has built effective cybersecurity procedures for hundreds of clients. It is passionate about using strategy and education to protect its clients.

By the end of this article, you will learn three reasons why it is impossible to have 100% cybersecurity, three security guarantees quality IT providers will not make, and four security guarantees they can give.


3 Reasons why 100% cybersecurity protection is impossible

1. Risk changes constantly

Technology and security risks change rapidly.

Cybersecurity is a constant evolutionary arms race. Cybercriminals compete against developers and security experts to discover security vulnerabilities first.

New hardware and software introduce new vulnerabilities and risks. Developers may address these vulnerabilities, or cybercriminals may exploit them.

Once developers deal with those vulnerabilities, cybercriminals work to find and exploit new vulnerabilities. Then those vulnerabilities are corrected by developers, and the cycle begins anew.

Technology considered secure a month ago is not necessarily secure today.

To address vulnerabilities, developers release frequent security updates for their software. It's essential to apply these updates within 30 days of their release to reduce risk.

2. Cybercriminals and their tools are becoming smarter

Cybercriminals and their tools are becoming more intelligent, sneaky, and efficient. The internet and internet use have changed drastically in the last two decades, and cybercriminals have taken advantage of faster internet speeds and resources.

Once upon a time, spam or phishing emails were easy to spot. Today, cybercriminals can purchase phishing kits off the dark web and create perfect, branded mimics.

Cybercriminal malware can sit silently in a private network for months, gathering intel before launching a full attack.

With cryptocurrency's introduction, cybercriminals could demand enormous, untraceable ransoms. As a result, random cyberattacks on individuals, large corporations, and small businesses occur daily.

Cybercriminals will continue to develop better hacking tools for as long as cybercrime is profitable.

3. Human error

Statistically, 30% of computer users will fall for a phishing email or link. That means three in ten users could create a security breach.

As long as humans continue connecting to the internet, they create security risks.


3 Security guarantees your IT provider should not give

Quality IT providers understand that risks and security are constantly evolving. Therefore, honest and knowledgeable IT providers will not make the following guarantees:

  1. They provide zero-risk or 100% security
  2. They offer a quick fix, set-it-and-forget-it security
  3. They know everything about security

1. They will give you zero-risk or 100% security

Honest providers know that changing technology, evolving risk, and human error will never allow for a zero-risk environment. It's statistically impossible.

If an IT provider makes this claim, ask them how they will achieve it. For example, what tools will they be using? But, more importantly, what programs, systems, and users will they lock down?

Currently, the only foolproof way to have zero cybersecurity risk is to have zero users and not connect to the internet. For most modern businesses, this is not an option.

2. They offer a quick fix, set-it-and-forget-it security

Cybersecurity is not a one-time fix. Due to the evolving nature of cybersecurity risks, security methods and programs require regular maintenance and monitoring.

An expert can not walk on site, alter a few settings, declare your business "secure," and never return.

Instead, systems and practices are regularly evaluated through risk assessments to make sure new and old vulnerabilities are tracked and addressed.

If no one regularly checks your system for risks, your business is vulnerable to cyberattacks.

3. They know everything about security

The best security experts will admit that they don't know everything and are constantly learning.

In a rapidly changing landscape like cybersecurity, no one can claim to know everything all the time. For example, once a security expert masters all current knowledge, a new risk, tool, or solution develops, and there are new things to learn.


4 Security guarantees IT providers can give

While IT providers can't promise a zero-risk environment, they can make four guarantees to help reduce risk and keep your data safe.

These promises include:

  1. It will use effective security tools
  2. It will utilize quality security experts and grow their knowledge
  3. It will communicate openly and honestly about risks
  4. It will reduce risk (but not eliminate risk)

1. It will use effective security tools

Quality IT providers and security experts will utilize quality security tools that fit your business needs.

It will use the tools and practices outlined in an approved security framework like NIST or CIS. Examples of these tools include multifactor authentication, firewalls, and email filtering tools.

Of course, while all businesses should use a firewall, the firewall level will vary based on your company's unique needs. For example, what works for a massive corporation may not be necessary for a small mom-and-pop shop.

Your IT provider will assess your IT setup and suggest the best tools for your size, needs, and risk levels.

2. It will utilize quality security experts and grow their knowledge

A solid IT provider will ensure that it hires the best security experts and that these employees continue to learn. It understands that cybersecurity is not static and that education is vital to reducing risk.

The cybersecurity field is growing to face the looming cybercrime industry. It's becoming a more specialized and essential field. Quality IT providers continue to seek the best experts to help meet their clients' needs.

3. It will communicate openly and honestly about risks

Honest communication is critical for all relationships, including the one you have with your IT provider. A quality IT provider will tell its clients their risks, risk solutions, and risk trends (whether the risks are increasing or decreasing).

The provider will be honest about its and the client's roles in cybersecurity risk management. For example, if a new tool or policy increases risk, the provider will alert the client, and together, they can find a possible solution.

4. It will reduce risk (but not eliminate risk)

While it cannot erase risk, a quality IT provider can reduce your risk and track this reduction through risk assessments.

Your provider can reduce risk through actions like:

  • Using a cybersecurity framework like NIST or CIS.
  • Performing regular software security updates.
  • Matching you with the right security tools.
  • Monitoring and managing security tools to ensure they're working.
  • Identifying "End of Life" or "End of Support" technology.
  • Identify user cybersecurity weaknesses and provide training or training materials.

For example, your risk assessment reveals several employees are opening phishing emails and clicking potentially harmful links. Your provider will suggest that we address this behavior through email training.

They may also suggest you add spam filtering and phishing reporting tools to your email system.

In your following assessment, you should see a decrease in the number of users who click phishing emails.

Over time, your risk will trend down according to your risk tolerance. Of course, it will never reach a zero-risk environment, but you and your provider can keep your cybersecurity risk at a manageable level and downward trend.


Next steps toward decreasing your risk and increasing your cybersecurity

No one can reach a 100% cybersecurity level because of three factors:

  1. Risk changes constantly
  2. Cybercriminals and their tools are becoming smarter
  3. Human error

However, IT providers can help you significantly reduce your risk by:

  1. Using effective security tools and practices.
  2. Hiring quality security experts and growing their knowledge.
  3. Communicating openly and honestly about risks.

If you have questions about your current cybersecurity setup, talk to your IT provider and review your last risk assessment. If it's been more than three months or there's been a significant change since your previous risk assessment, you can request a new one.

If your IT provider is unwilling to perform a risk assessment or discuss the results, this is a service red flag. You may consider looking for a new provider.

WEBIT Services is passionate about helping clients define their acceptable risk levels and reach their cybersecurity goals. We believe education and knowledge are the first steps in building effective cybersecurity practices.

If you’re looking for a new IT provider, schedule a 30-minute consultation to see if WEBIT Services might fit your company.

If you are not ready to speak to our team of experts but would like to learn more about cybersecurity, we recommend the following articles: