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What Is CyberSecurity?

Stay Aware, Stay Safe

There is so much talk swirling around cybersecurity. Companies and individuals need to protect themselves and have practices and technologies in place to prevent a cyberattack. Do you, or the members of your team, understand cybersecurity? When we work with our clients, we explain what cybersecurity is, how to protect against it and what measures will amp up any protections you may have in place to protect against hacking, ransomware, phishing scams and malware infections.

When you look at your company’s infrastructure have you taken into consideration that cyber security needs to be a vital component of that infrastructure? If your company wants to remain viable and successful, you need to have measures in place to protect not only your customer data but your company’s proprietary information from would-be hackers. There is no limit on how large a company is, or must be, in order to become a victim on a hacker.

WareGeeks defines cybersecurity as: layers of protocols that companies follow to ensure information retains its availability, confidentiality and integrity. When you have the correct security in place – correct security is key – a company can more easily recover from a ransomware attack or a hacking. You want to have as many protocols in place as necessary to protect your business and its data from sophisticated hackers.

Cybersecurity isn’t a one and done business strategy; it requires ongoing and continual maintenance and checking for potential threats.

 Why is cybersecurity important to your business?

Before we answer that we want to tell you that cybersecurity needs to be at the front of every company’s operational agenda. From senior management to the mailroom, everyone needs to be involved in and concerned with the company’s cybersecurity.

From day one employees need to be trained in the company’s cybersecurity protocols, they need to understand the potential for phishing scams and what to watch out for. Training in cybersecurity protocols is especially important for those employees in non-tech positions.

Hackers and attackers know how to locate weak spots in your cybersecurity and exploit them. It’s crucial that your IT department or IT consultant test those systems to assure they are working as they should be.

What are cybersecurity challenges companies face?

The main challenge is that threats and hackers change daily. When you’ve had one cybersecurity protocol in place, it can be bypassed; if you’re not continually checking the “security gates” in your company’s cybersecurity infrastructure you run the risk of losing sensitive data or being locked out of your company’s website. Also, the bigger the company becomes, and if it has multiple locations, the threats are even greater. It’s been written that the “attack surface of a Fortune 500 company is larger than a small to medium-sized business.”

Protect your company by hiring talented and diligent IT staff and/or IT Consultants

Company owners have been bemoaning the lack of qualified IT professionals who have the skills to protect their high-end cybersecurity needs. Look for a cybersecurity expert who understands how to protect your company from sophisticated hackers.

What are the core types of cybersecurity?

  1. Critical infrastructure. Water purification plants, the electric grid, hospitals and any other business or entity that is involved in the online world (and what isn’t?) are vulnerable. The decision-makers in your company need to have a contingency plan in place for a cyber attack and need to have a thorough understanding of what could happen if there was a cyberattack on the infrastructure.
  2. Cloud security protocols. Work with your IT consultant on policies, procedures and necessary controls that will help protect company data and your cloud-based systems and services. What security measures does your company have in place to protect sensitive customer data? What does your company do to authenticate users, filter traffic and configure the cloud security for your unique business needs?
  3. Network security is what will protect your company against unauthorized access and hacker intrusions. If the network security is breached, the hacker can infiltrate, find and destroy your internal system. To amp up network security you may need to implement protocols that require extra log-in steps, two factor authentication, a requirement to change passwords regularly and more.
  4. Internet of Things (IoT) security is what our “smart homes” including items like Ring doorbells and others, operate on. The IoT security measures are defined by cybersecurity professionals as “mechanical, digital machines or objects that have the ability to access the network system to transfer data over a network without the requirement of human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

How can your company develop a cybersecurity strategy?

Your company’s cybersecurity strategy needs to be custom tailored to your business. The cybersecurity system that works for Company A won’t – and frankly shouldn’t – work for Company B. You don’t want to buy an out-of-the-box cybersecurity package. Your IT consultant needs to look at your company’s vulnerabilities and specific needs and develop a cybersecurity strategy just for you.

What will an IT Consultant look at when developing a cybersecurity strategy?

  1. He or she will need to understand the unique risks to your business and its infrastructure. The IT consultant needs to understand the vision you have for your company’s cybersecurity and what it means to your organization. You need to understand what your “acceptable” level of risk is and then you need to prioritize and budget for the potential security breaches you feel most critical.
  2. The cybersecurity strategies need to be integrated company-wide. There is no department that doesn’t need to be involved in protecting the company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Tech and non-tech employees need to be involved and trained in the company security protocols.
  3. Threats need to be siloed and protected from the inside. This includes teaching employees to understand potential phishing scams, how to recognize and report them. Lack of internal security or internal adherence to security protocols is necessary to protect data. An IT consultant should also include internal monitoring of systems as a way to prevent an insider from using his or her access in a malicious manner to infiltrate company data.
  4. Understand that hacks can happen and plan for them. Remember that hackers are continually staying one step ahead of the cybersecurity curve. In some cases, no matter how good your company’s cybersecurity defenses are, you may still be breached. Don’t sit around waiting in fear – be proactive and work with your IT consultant to put disaster recovery plans in place.

How can your company reduce its cybersecurity vulnerability?

To reduce your vulnerability you need to be aware of its vulnerability. Remember, no company is immune. You may tell yourself that “no one will care about hacking into my grooming salon’s website,” but hackers are indiscriminate in their efforts. Yes, your small business may be less vulnerable than a larger company, but conversely, your small company likely has fewer cybersecurity measures in place than a large company does and that makes you more vulnerable.

Don’t sit back and wait for an attack to happen. Be proactive. Protect your company. Put cybersecurity strategies in place today.

I run an IT & Cyber Security Consultancy. We work with a lot of professionals. Let me know what other information I should be sharing that is helpful to you or your profession. Would you be interested in being a guest on my Security Disciple Podcast? @waregeeks DM me, call (877) 653-7146, or email me info@waregeeks.com. www.waregeeks.com

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