Why is Cyber Security an Essential Business Practise?
In today’s modern world, there are always reports of a cyber breach or attacks happening. Take the recent Capital One data breach for example, hackers gained access to over 100 million Capital One customer accounts.
Highlighting the importance of ensuring businesses have not only an effective cyber security plan in place but that it is also being implemented. It is imperative that reviews on these practices are carried out regularly. This is due to cyber criminals constantly evolving their tactics to access your valuable information; meaning that your cyber security plan should be updating continuously in order to protect itself against these threats as well.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is defined by its governance as “technologies, processes and controls designed to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber-attacks.” Having effective cyber security strategies in place reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and protects against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.
Essential cyber criminals want access to your personal data, which given unauthorised access to can have harmful consequences on your business.
As the volume and sophistication of cyber-attacks grow; companies and organisations, especially those that are tasked with safeguarding information such as financial records, need to take steps to protect sensitive business and personal information.
By implementing an effective plan, you can protect your valuable information from being taken, and used to harm not only your business but your client’s important data as well. With the shocking statistics that 60% of businesses which suffer a cyber-attack goes out of business within 6 months. Not having an effective plan in place could potentially see the end of your business.
Assess the Current State of the Security Environment
To know where to start with your security plan, you need to understand the current practices you already have in place. From assessing these polices an understanding can be taken as to how these polices work and how effective they are. If they are no longer in place, why? Was it a problem with implementation, lack of resources or maybe a management issue?
Once you have reviewed former/current security strategies that are in place, it is time to assess the current state of the security environment. Is the system maintained or has it been neglected? What do your staff know regarding the security of your business?
Once you have all this information, a strategic plan can be put into place. This will help set goals towards the management and processes that need to be implemented. It is also a good idea to track how these processes are working and how effective this is towards your future business. Ensuring all information is centralised will help to understand what is working and what improvement can be made moving forward.
Prevention is the key tactic to ensuring you are prepared for any type of attack. Ensuring you are monitoring your networks can help to spot any slow or weakening components that might be a risk to your system.
“Network monitoring is a critical IT process. Where all networking components such as routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and VMs are monitored for faults and performance and evaluated continuously to maintain and optimise their availability.”
If the system picks a potential threat or breach up, the system will then notify and alert the IT provider/department. Once this alert has been received, the threat can be fully assessed and figure out the best cause of action to take.
Setting Security Measures and Controls
Once you have established what risks you are vulnerable to and the impact this can have on your infrastructure, you need to establish how you can contain them. A popular model to use is the prevention, detection and response one.
Either your IT provider or department needs to have a responsive plan in place. All the information you need should ideally be in one place so when/if a breach occurs all the information required can be accessed quickly. This is essential as timing is everything once a breach has arisen. Within the plan there should be instructions on how to deal with the breach and the procedures which need to be implemented.
Also keeping a log report of all incidents which occur allows you to adapt any strategies which aren’t providing the best security for the business.
There are various legislation and compliance’ which businesses must follow as a legal requirement, this includes any data you have on your employees or customers. This is even more important since GDPR came into effect in 2018. If these compliance’ aren’t met, you may face a substantial fine.
Whilst ensuring you are meeting the basic requirements, going beyond these can help improve business reputation as one that cares about how they deal with information.
A few other useful processes to put in place:
- Encrypting your data. Also protect files from unauthorised users to ensure all important information is contained.
- Efficient filing system. Only withhold information you require, holding onto data from years ago can be ineffective
- Record everything and keep it centralised. This allows procedures to be reviewed constantly with all the information needed to make informed decisions on how best to proceed and develop your existing procedures.
- Implementing procedures in the work environment such as “Bring your own device” policy
- Create a data map which can help located where, how, who has access to all your files.
Awareness, Communication & Culture
A business’ most valuable asset is its employees, without a workforce a business wouldn’t be there. So, ensuring your employees are undertaking the basic security processes is essential for any business. Shockingly “almost 90% of cyber-attacks are caused by human error or behaviour.”
Showing the importance of training your staff with the correct processes includes simple tasks such as changing passwords frequently and enabling two factor authentications.
Training on the latest security practices is also key, ensure employees understand the implications. Embedding these into the culture of the business ensures everyone is working towards the same goal. If this isn’t clearly defined your business can lose focus and drive on the task at hand.
Also having a plan in place isn’t going to be effective if you don’t tell people about it. Communicating and being transparent about any plans or issues which may arise will be far more effective and will ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. If a business does experience a breach, being open will help build/keep trust amongst the employees and stakeholders.
When you are reviewing or implementing your financial budget, factoring in cyber security measures is an essential cost a business must account for. You don’t need to spend masses of money to protect a business from cyber threats. Having an effective firewall and anti-virus plan in place, along with knowledge and skills about cyber security can be far more valuable than investing thousands and thousands on elaborate systems which your business may not actually require.
Here at TwentyFour IT our dedicated team can offer the best solutions and processes which your business requires to ensure you are protecting your business.
For more information please contact us here.