• Why Your Business Needs Stronger Information Security Feb 8, 2019
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    Cybercrimes are growing more sophisticated today, which is why it’s also becoming more common for us to see companies undergoing security breaches. Major corporations are falling victim, which means that small and midsize corporations don’t stand much of a chance either. This is something you can’t overlook as a business owner because, more than likely, you heavily rely on your information systems to help you conduct business. When there’s a weakness therein your whole organization is at risk. This won’t only interrupt you internally, but you’ll be subject to fines from the government and your own industry. You may also be faced with lawsuits, but what’s even worse is your reputation is tarnished.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to protect your business against cyber threats. However, you can implement security controls and policies then keep them updated as you proceed.

    Inventory Your Data

    Digitalist Mag says it’s important for every business to know and properly document the proprietary information (e.g. personally identifiable information, a.k.a. PII; and personal health information, a.k.a. PHI) and intellectual property that they have, where they store it, and how they protect it. When disclosed these things could impair your firm’s competitive advantage – something you don’t want to have to deal with.

    Identify Zero-Day Threats and Update Security Patches

    The phenomenon of zero-day vulnerability is an epitome of cybersecurity’s constantly changing nature. This classification includes any previously unknown threats such as ransomware attacks. Oftentimes these occur when someone least expects it. They’ll click on a link in a spam email and launch malicious software (a.k.a. malware) that will then encrypt your files, rendering them inaccessible unless you’re willing to pay the malware creator a hefty fee. Unfortunately, many large businesses have fallen victim to such attacks, which is why your business needs a way to identify these threats along with an updated policy in regards to your antivirus and anti-malware libraries.

    Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

    Symantec and Verizon teamed up to conduct some research in 2015. It showed how one million new malware threats were released every day throughout the previous year. This demonstrates the need to have updated anti-virus and anti-malware software deployed on all devices throughout the organization. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why this doesn’t always happen. However, strict internal auditing is the best way to handle things here.

    Make Sure Your Data is Encrypted

    All your secured data needs to be encrypted, especially when you send it outside your company or store it in the cloud. This is important because hackers may be unable to access your internal network, but they can still intercept internet traffic.

    Create a Service-Level Agreement Outlining Your Cloud Computing’s Security Specifications

    Many of today’s businesses are using cloud for software and storage purposes. In fact, there are now many software applications that are offered only as SaaS (software as a service). This is great since it allows for scalability. However, managing these operations is typically something that’s automated, especially since an unfathomable amount of data now available. Herein lies a unique set of risks for businesses who use the cloud. There’s the physical security risk that comes from not knowing where your business’ information is stored. This occurs because it’s impossible to make sure the data centers are physically inaccessible so people may steal information.

    A framework is being created to make sure that your SaaS procurement is secure physically, virtually, and storage-wise. You can see this outlined in the cloud service provider’s service-level agreements (SLA). This SLA should provide for security in terms of location, transmission, and encryption. It should address all security concerns. Make sure you review this document for each cloud solution you use.

    Implement Controls for When Data Loss Occurs

    When a hacker can access your system, they’ll try to remove all your data. You should have tools (e.g. intrusion detection system, intrusion prevention system, firewall) available to monitor all your outbound traffic. You must have prevention techniques an alert logs available to analyze and act on too. All these things need to be documented. Remember, the following items are involved in correct change-control procedures:
    • A “change request”
    • Gaining approval from the proper management levels
    • Planning
    • Testing
    • Scheduling
    • Communicating
    • Training
    • Implementing
    • Documenting
    • Verifying the procedure’s effectiveness
    Review Previous Hacks and Document Your Findings

    Only two types of businesses exist in America today: those who’ve been hacked and those who’ve been hacked but don’t know it. You’ll know your firm has weak information security when it’s been hacked in the past. Such hacks happen quite frequently anymore since there are thousands, if not millions, of hackers continually trying to get into companies and steal their information and revenue. This should make you feel urgent about taking steps to ensure your security. One of the important steps you shouldn’t overlook here has to do with exploring and documenting previous hacking events.

    Have Annual Security Training Seminars

    Another complex subject companies must deal with today is information security. This highly detailed field requires everyone (e.g. employees, customers, vendors) know what their role is. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to require your employees, vendors, and stakeholders to complete an information security awareness training course annually, if not more often. You can have in-house personnel provide training in their area of expertise or hire an outside firm to provide training for you. This isn’t as important as ensuring that everyone understands the importance of information security and how to play their role.

    Hire a Third Party to Conduct White hat External and Internal Vulnerability Scanning Tests

    With everything that’s involved in information security, it’s possible that an attack goes easily undetected. This is why you should engage in a third-party “white hat” vulnerability scan every year. Ideally, this will use the same techniques that are used by a black hat hacker so you can identify any potential weaknesses. This will help you remediate them and strengthen your information processing environment.

    Make Sure Everything is Executed Properly

    Digitalist Mag says what it really all comes down to is how you execute your digital risk management plan. Focusing your efforts here will help ensure that your main concerns are addressed and that you’re set up for recovery when everything else fails. This is the only way you can turn your great plans into effective efforts, but it requires enforcing compliance at all levels of your business. When all these things are given their proper amount of consideration you can typically fend off the worst-case scenarios.
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