With the continuous advances in digitization, businesses are finding themselves in new scenarios that put them at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. Digitization means there are more devices that need enhanced security. It is predicted that with advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning we are providing more tools for attackers to perform complex attacks.
As a business owner, you want to provide value and great service to your customers. As you grow your company, you serve more customers which gives you more customer data. Customer data that you need to keep safe and secure. Cybersecurity can be expensive as it involves a variety of tools, software and occasionally consultants in order to be implemented properly. As the concept of security continues to become a growing concern, customers often find themselves thinking twice before they give out their personal information. Having the ability to show your customers that you have security measures in place adds value to your organization.
Business owners should know that cybersecurity is their responsibility:
The breach of customer data is an event that can have large, well-recognized brands quickly finding themselves in the middle of a media frenzy. Many of us have heard about the British Airways, Target and Equifax scams that resulted in hefty fines and left customers doubting their trust towards the company. The publicity around these organizations leaves small and medium sized businesses thinking that this will never happen to them. There is a large misconception that they are simply too small to ever be a target. According to Symantec, over 43% of cyberattacks in 2015 were targeted towards small businesses. Attackers know that smaller companies still have valuable customer data, and often are not prepared in the event of an attack.
Therefore, business owners must recognize that cybersecurity is their responsibility. It is no longer a topic that is quickly discussed and then passed along to the IT team. Organizations that have seen the most success, are those that have open communication around the topic so that everyone in the company is involved, learning and ultimately held responsible.
Take time to understand your organization’s vulnerability:
Every organization collects different types of data, uses different IT systems and serves a diverse group of clients. Protecting your organization means taking the time to think about what a cyberattack means to you and your company. It is important to understand what type of business data you collect, which IT systems you rely on the most, and what could be at risk as a target for an attacker. There are different types of information attackers are normally looking for. These can include:
- Customer names and addresses
- Social Security numbers
- Email or telephone numbers
- Banking information
- Clinical or Claims forms
- Usernames and passwords
Taking the time to recognize what types of vulnerabilities apply within your organization is one of the first steps to staying protected.
Have an action plan:
Now that you have a strong understanding of what might be a high vulnerability for your organization it is time to implement a cybersecurity plan. As a high level overview, in order to keep your data secure you will want to ensure you have a firewall in place for your network security. A basic firewall is designed to block any unauthorized access to your network. It is also a good idea to implement a network management solution so that your network infrastructure can be maintained and monitored. Lastly, you will want to protect your organization’s endpoints which include laptops, desktops and mobile devices. Here are three key points that should be included in your company’s cybersecurity plan:
- Keep software installed and up to date: As part of a business review meeting, all software and applications that your company uses should have scheduled updates.
- Make sure your data is backed up: Your data and documents are directly correlated with your day to day operations. Having your data and endpoints backed up will result in a shorter downtime and a limited loss of revenue. Many companies now use cloud storage as one method of backing up their data. There are a variety of benefits to implementing cloud technology, click here to read about them. It is also recommended to have an offsite backup solution.
- Implement employee training: Any employee that has access to your business information should understand the seriousness and impact of a cyberattack. Implement employee training to take the opportunity to educate your staff on things like phishing emails, attachments, and links as well as to reinforce the importance of strong passwords.
Many organization forget to ensure that their cybersecurity plan is working. It sounds simple, but organizations fail to successfully measure and report cybersecurity ROI. It has been found that only one third of organizations report back to their businesses on the success of their programs and have regular reports to show key metrics. When you know the ROI of your cybersecurity, it does more than just protect your organization, it also allows IT decision makers to secure a better buy-in and demonstrate the value that their security strategies and solutions are bringing to the organization.
If you have any questions or concerns about your organizations cybersecurity plan, feel free to connect with one of our technicians below.