Cyber Security

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Have You Considered These Risks to Your Business?

The dangers of cyber risks and threats to a business aren’t at the top of the agenda for many small and medium sized companies, but they should be. In recent years, the increase in high-profile data breaches has increased dramatically, and affected millions of people globally.

And because of the increasing commonality of these threats, society is becoming somewhat desensitised to the alarming numbers of risks that affect thousands of large-scale corporations that hold masses of personal information.

It’s often reported that big businesses are hit all the time. For example, Facebook, Tesco Bank, Talk Talk, Travelex and Three Mobile are recent prime examples. It can be forgiven to think that start-ups and small businesses are less of a target, but the reality is that no business, big or small, is 100% safe in the current climate. In fact, International Data Corporation (IDC) recently revealed that approximately 71% of data breaches are now targeted at small businesses.

What is a Risk and what is a Threat?

Before you strategically plan how to prevent your business from being affected by cyber-attacks, it’s essential to understand the difference between a risk and a threat.

Risks are business issues with technical aspects that impact, and is impacted by, all areas of the organisation. The risk element is the potential for uncontrolled loss of something of value, so in the case of data, this would include sensitive information or programs, for example.

A threat can be both unintentional and intentional, targeted or non-targeted attack. A threat can come from a variety of sources, including foreign nations engaged in espionage and information warfare, criminals, hackers, scammers and even disgruntled employees and contractors working within an organisation.

In a nutshell, a risk means the potential for loss, damage or destruction of an asset due to a threat exploiting a vulnerability. While on the other hand, a threat is what we’re trying to protect against. This can be in the form of vulnerability, weaknesses or gaps in a security program that can be exploited by threats to gain unauthorised access to an asset.

In most cases, small and medium sized businesses will deploy several technical defences such as Firewalls and Anti-virus software to protect their organisation from such threats. While these technical defences help protect the business, additional steps do need to be taken.

These additional steps are often forgotten about or not considered as they aren’t seen as technologically positioned, but they are a critical starting point for reducing the overall risk to the organisation. These additional steps include:

Leadership

In all organisations, information security needs to be driven from the top down. Most information security initiatives will fail without the support and sponsorship from the Board. The information security strategy needs to align with the business strategy and objectives to ensure the business is doing all it can to prevent serious attacks.

Behaviours and Culture

Information security isn’t just about technology, people also play a critical role. Everyone in the organisations plays an active role in information security and should be tooled with the knowledge on what to do and what not to when faced with a cyber risk or threat.

Asset Management

The organisation should maintain an up to date asset register of hardware and software in use within the business. Each asset should be assigned an owner and a level of criticality. As the saying goes, “you can’t protect what you don’t know you have”.

How can I mitigate these Risks and Threats?

Leadership

Leaders of any organisation, big or small, must have support from the Board or whoever is the ultimate decision-maker and change-enforcer of the business. First and foremost, it can be beneficial to become Cyber Essentials accredited. Cyber Essentials helps guard you against the most common cyber threats and demonstrate your commitment to cybersecurity.

A business must align the information security strategy with the business strategy and objectives, ensuring that this is communicated with all employees. To get started and equip you with the tools, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers a comprehensive toolkit designed to encourage essential cybersecurity discussions between the Board and their technical experts. They also provide a free service called ‘Exercise in a Box’ which can help determine how resilient a business is to a cyber-attack.

Behaviours and Culture

The practical implementation of a measurable security awareness program can be incredibly beneficial in mitigating cyber risks and threats within a business. A security awareness program should include security news on the latest threats, information posters and regular employee training to enable your employees to detect threats within the business. What’s pivotal to employee security awareness is that they everyone within the business, no matter job role, should be trained on who to report any security threats and suspicious behaviour to.

Asset Management

Asset management is vitally important. Every piece of hardware and software that’s used within your business must be accounted for. If not already in place, the first thing to do is to create an asset register of all hardware and software within the business. Use the register to prioritise the implementation of security controls, starting with the most critical assets first.

How can CYAN help your business?

When it comes to the cyber safety of your business, it’s our number one priority. When you choose Cyan, we follow steps to ensure your business is safe against the ever-growing cyber risks and threats. Here’s how:

  • We start by understanding your business
  • We assess the security maturity of your people, processes and technology
  • We identify risks and provide recommendations
  • We can create and implement a security strategy to reduce risk within your organisation
  • We can provide and manage the latest technology to secure your company assets
  • We can provide the platform and expertise to deliver a security-aware business

For more information on how we can help secure your assets and data, get in touch.

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