Out of all attachments emailed every day, 85% of them are harmful to the recipient. While some might contain malicious content, others are aimed at launching phishing attacks to those who open the emails. In a world where interconnectivity is the norm, this can be a risk for your business.
Sadly, malicious emails are just but a tip of the iceberg of the data security threats that your business faces every day. It is only when you truly build a strong cyber-security posture that you can protect your business from these risks.
Here more about cyber-security and how to design the right posture:
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber-security is the protection of data, networks, and systems connected to the internet from cyber-attacks. These attacks can take many forms such as trying to steal the data, trying to gain access to your corporate networks, or even hackers trying to change how your business’ systems function.
While most attacks are launched against your business by hackers, some might be launched by competitors who are out to maim your business. Simply put, cyber-security aims to reduce, if not eliminate such risks, though it might be impossible to be 100% secure from cyber threats.
How Data Security Threats Can Affect Your Business
Every day, businesses tend to save customers’ data. This might include credit card information, addresses, and even phone numbers. As such, most customers are typically wary of what companies they offer their data to. In the wrong hands, this data can lead to identity theft. A good example would be the Equifax data breach.
If your customer’s data falls in the wrong hands, the chances are that you will lose customers. Other than this reputational damage, most regulations will impose hefty fines on businesses that fail in protecting their customer’s data. Even worse, you will need to spend a lot of cash trying to rebuild your business as well as the reputation that is lost. Some data threats, such as ransomware threats, might need you to offer the cyber-attackers some money in return of control over your data.
Managing Data Security
The first step to a stable data security posture would be to develop a risk management plan. This plan is meant to identify the aspects of your business that are highly prone to security threats and the measures that need to be taken to protect them. The plan should also include details on the severity of the different threats and how to prioritize them.
In a business world where limited resources are the norm, such prioritization of risks can help you learn where exactly to commit resources to first. Ideally, you will need to invest in network protection tools, firewalls, antiviruses, and even access control systems. However, tools alone cannot provide you with enough protection, and working in collaboration as an organization is wise.
The Human Side of Cyber-Security
A good fraction of cyber security attacks start with human error. Something as simple as an employee opening malicious content online or using simple passwords could be enough to bring down your business. Even worse, the fact that BYOD policies are offering employee access to corporate data and networks outside the workplace is alarming.
To create an excellent cyber-security posture, spreading employee awareness will need to be part of your plans. Employees should not only understand how to use your current security tools but also understand how their daily activities impact your security posture. For instance, training employees on the best password security tips can prevent unauthorized access to corporate accounts.
On the flip side, employee too can be the malicious enemies with disgruntled employee looking to launch insider threats. Without a strong cyber-security posture, it can be easy for such employees to bring down your business. Ideally, you will need to employ security measures such as access control and studying employee behavior to spot an insider.
It Starts With the Executive Managers
In most cases, executive managers are often in some form of disconnect with the security part of the business. Since most of them are interested in profit margins, they might turn down investing in crucial cyber-security needs in the interest of cost. Sadly, this might come back to bite them.
What’s worse is that they are a key target of cyber-security threats considering the influence they have in the organization. As a result, top business executives need to be involved in the cyber-security moves your business commits to. They should understand everything in the line of third-party threats, business-critical threats, and the entire picture of your security posture. Furthermore, having them involved improves the change management processes while increasing the success rates of security investments.
Cyber-security is a task for the entire organization. All hands should be on deck to eliminate loopholes that can lead to business failure. An excellent security posture trickles down to collaborating leadership, tools, and employees to achieve this single goal.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.