Five Ways To Make Your Business More Cyber Secure in 2022
The following article was first published in the Insights section of Whittlesey’s website. It is reposted here with permission.
As cyberattacks become more frequent, ensuring your business is secure is vital, as not doing so could mean a loss of business, assets, and reputation.
This article outlines five key areas to ensure you’ve implemented the proper cybersecurity controls in your organization.
Review Business Compliance Requirements
Regulatory compliance helps you protect your organization’s resources and reputation.
It also provides guidance on safeguarding any client data you hold and ensures that you’re not doing business in an unethical way.
You must ensure your organization complies with the most current laws and regulations. The penalties for violating compliance can include:
- Hefty fines
- A halt of your organization’s business
- Irreparable reputational damage you’ve worked hard to build in your industry
Every organization should have a designated person or department that is responsible for the organization’s compliance requirements.
This includes monitoring any changes in the laws and regulations your organization complies with.
Perform Annual Risk Assessments
Risk assessments are intended as a cost-effective starting point to increase management’s awareness of cybersecurity risks, probe supervisory expectations, and identify and mitigate IT risks from cyberattacks.
There are several purposes for conducting a risk assessment within your organization.
The primary objective of a risk assessment is to assess the security controls that should be integrated into the design and implementation of the systems and processes supporting the company’s information assets.
Another purpose of running a risk assessment is to identify vulnerabilities that leave you susceptible to damage once a cyber attacker or piece of malware makes it inside your network.
These weaknesses are vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to gain unauthorized access or otherwise cause harm to your network.
System administrators constantly patch systems to fix vulnerabilities, but sometimes patches or updates are missed.
Vulnerability scans catch missed patches and system misconfigurations. Often, breaches occur because hackers are in the system long before they are detected and have already done massive damage or stolen confidential data.
Risk assessments also help organizations communicate their risks to stakeholders and make informed decisions about allocating resources to reduce those risks.
They can also help your organization develop a plan to respond to and recover from a cyberattack.
It is also important that risk assessments are based on industry-standard cybersecurity frameworks and methodologies, as they all share a common goal.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Center for Internet Security are two of the most prominent frameworks.
Lastly, risk assessments should be performed annually, as vulnerabilities increase daily and cyber attackers become more sophisticated with their approaches.
Security Awareness Training for Employees
A comprehensive approach to security awareness will strengthen the most critical protection system you have—your people.
This is a key area of focus, as they are the first line of defense, and most attacks begin with an employee making a mistake.
A good security awareness program will educate employees on all facets of social engineering, internet security, computer use policies, account/password management, and data privacy.
Our system is proven to reduce your organization’s IT risk so costly breaches and ransomware attacks can be prevented.
The most crucial piece of a security awareness program is running frequent phishing campaigns on your employees.
In today’s world, phishing your users is just as important as having an antivirus and a firewall. Security awareness training helps employees recognize, avoid, and report potential threats that can compromise confidential data and systems.
As part of the training, mock phishing and other attack simulations are typically used to test and reinforce good behavior.
Keep Company Software Updated
While it might seem bothersome to constantly update your software and systems, ignoring them can pose significant consequences for your organization.
The objective of patch management is to keep systems on your network up-to-date and secure against hacking and malware.
When you fail to deploy the patches released by vendors to fix application security bugs, you expose your systems to potential cyberattacks.
One of the most common mistakes organizations make is not incorporating third-party software into their patch management program.
Third-party patching addresses software bugs and vulnerabilities that affect its function or security.
Almost every organization leverages various third-party software in their daily operations (i.g. Adobe Acrobat, Google Chrome, Zoom).
In recent years, third-party applications have become the primary attack vector for various cyberattacks, such as malware and ransomware.
Increase Company Login Protection
IDs and passwords are your “keys to the kingdom,” and controlling who has access to your network should be of the utmost importance throughout your organization.
Password stealing remains a top attack method used by cybercriminals.
According to the latest report from the Ponemon Institute, 54% of security incidents were caused by credential theft.
Multi-factor authentication is essential protection for your network.
MFA is a security technology that requires multiple authentication methods from independent sources to verify a user’s identity when logging into a device or network.
MFA combines two or more independent credentials: what the user knows, such as a password; what the user has, such as a security token; and what the user is, by using biometric verification methods.
In addition, when granting employees access to your network, it’s crucial not to give more access than is required for their job function.
This is referred to as least privilege access. The principle of least privilege access is that an individual should have only the minimum access or permissions necessary to perform a specific job or task.
For example, people that work in your accounting department don’t need the same level of access that your IT department requires. Their jobs are focused on two different areas of the business.
This approach limits the attack surface of user accounts should a compromise occur in your organization.
Why Being Cyber Secure is More Important Than Ever
The world of cybersecurity continues to evolve, as does the way cybercriminals attack businesses.
To be cyber secure, you must stay ahead of the latest threats by practicing good cyber health.
About the author: Mark Torello is a partner-in-charge at Whittlesey. He is the founder of Whittlesey’s technology division, and has more than 25 years of experience in consulting. For more information, contact Whittlesey.
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