What is a cyberattack to a business? It is reputational damage, substantial financial losses, fines, and sensitive data leakage. And unfortunately, WFH arrangements open up even more opportunities for hackers. There are various types of cyberattacks today that disrupt even the most protected entities. Yahoo!, eBay, Equifax, Adobe, Sony, Marriott, and other industry leaders were attacked by cybercriminals leading to multi-million damages. How can executives deal with that and ensure business safety? In this article, our team shares workable ways on how to protect your business from cyberattacks and what to do if that happens.
Conduct a risk analysis to assess your organizational vulnerability
As managers, we all know that cybersecurity is crucial for every IT product in the company. But what we can’t say for sure is when and where a cyberattack may occur. Even so, assessing business’ vulnerable areas and reducing the likelihood of any potential threat is in our hands. Testing all possible attack schemes and evaluating the state of existing security measures with the risk analysis can help you identify weaknesses and put reasonable effort into the risk areas. Once you’ve conducted such research, you can build a risk mitigation strategy based on the data acquired. In this way, you’ll be prepared for any ‘what-if’ scenario and avoid a negative impact on your corporate processes and business operations.
Our advice: Use quantitative risk analysis method and patch management practices to test various “what-if” scenarios and identify potential attack vectors. We also recommend building a dashboard to track actionable metrics (such as number of risks identified, predicted risk severity, number of risks that reoccur, and others) and report directly to the CISO.
Review your cloud infrastructure security
As we know from our experience, cloud computing is a more secure place for data storage than the on-premises model. Proven cloud providers employ extra security measures to ensure reliable remote access, avoid cyber crimes, and protect their reputation. However, cloud storage has its vulnerabilities to be managed:
- Data transmission from the user’s PC to the cloud provider’s node;
- Shared resources among various users;
- Lack of control over resources from the data owner’s side;
- Weak credentials and vulnerable protocols in the SaaS environment;
- Unreliable physical security of the infrastructure in the IaaS;
- Error-prone code access and transmission in the PaaS.
To respond to all possible threats, safety groups such as NIST and cloud security alliances are now working on detecting a cyberattack and strengthening cloud storage security.
Our advice: What can companies do to avoid data breaches? Start with a comprehensive review of your cloud architecture and development approach, including connection, physical security, and utilization of third-party providers or tools. Choosing a location for your data center, opt for stable and credible countries to ensure less latency and easier regulatory compliance. Partner with qualified cloud providers only and consider creating a virtual private cloud (VPC) to guarantee the highest security level.
Promote cyber resilience across the company
Cyber resilience becomes more and more significant for businesses in the digital era, especially amidst remote working. A company with well-established cyber resilience protects itself from security incidents, recovers quickly if a breach happens, and reduces their impact on business operations. Additionally, recovery capabilities decrease financial losses, protect your reputation, and enhance internal processes.
To make your company cyber resilient, you should balance efforts between technology, people, and processes. As follows:
A technological strategy is a rather broad term dependent on various factors. Your IT team plays a significant part here. With all the knowledge, experience, and skills, they’re in the driver’s seat of the entire strategy implementation. Additionally, we shouldn’t forget about the hardware both your employees and customers use. Thus, to achieve solid IT security, and ensure your business continuity, it’s recommended to:
- Use virtual private networks to protect your remote infrastructure;
- Implement multi-factor authentication for network security;
- Use compensating controls for facility-based applications that are now accessible to remote workers;
- Consider cloud-based solutions for faster device virtualization and data backup;
- Apply AI and automation technologies to detect new types of cyberattack in business at machine speed.
People are one more component of a successful IT resilience strategy. Even if your technology is protected enough, human error, telecommuting, and non-acquaintance with some restrictions can lead to data breaches. To avoid social-engineering attacks and educate your employees on cybersecurity, we advise the following:
- Hold focused training to educate workers on social-engineering attacks and malware;
- Identify high-risk groups of employees who work with confidential data and monitor their behavior;
- Communicate regularly with your employees to address any of their risk concerns.
Processes should also be taken into account when creating a cyber-resilient company. To strike the right balance between risk mitigation measures and streamlined workflows, we suggest to:
- Add capacity to those departments that need extra resources to ensure secure remote working;
- Expand your monitoring capabilities of all the activities and update security information;
- Ensure that your external providers follow security protocols.
Our advice: Consider automated scanning and testing to identify vulnerable areas of your system. Also, adopt data-centric security with such protecting techniques as encryption, tagging, tokenization, segmentation, and others. This will help you strengthen your company’s cyber resilience and safeguard your critical systems from advanced types of cyberattack in business.
Consider investing in cybersecurity insurance
Insurance is already a way of life for many enterprises as it protects their personnel and property. Besides, today it can save you from cybersecurity incidents too. Since digital criminals continue finding new ways to compromise systems and steal data, even businesses with the most robust security measures are at risk. An average cost of a data loss globally is USD 3.86 million, where the United States is the most expensive country in terms of breach costs. That is why a lot of companies start to invest in cybersecurity insurance. It can’t detect a cyberattack and protect an organization against hazards, but it can help to maintain financial stability if hacking occurs.
Our advice: To decide what insurance policies to choose, identify the real risks and most vulnerable parts of your system. For instance, you don’t necessarily need to pay for a full service package, but just for those that meet your business needs.
All companies worldwide are vulnerable to hacks since digital thieves and scammers find or create new types of cyberattacks to challenge businesses every year. Furthermore, COVID-19 work-from-home conditions increase the risk of security breaches and make it hard for executives to maintain business stability and thriving.
But there are reliable ways for business owners to predict possible threats, improve weak areas in the core systems, and build strong cyber resilience across the company. Conducting risk assessment, reviewing critical systems regularly, and deploying advanced automation technologies alongside thorough employee education on cybersecurity will ensure the highest protection and business continuity.