Our world has evolved into an ever more increasing digital space that spans throughout all forms of business, banking and government, and even these massively protected entities are vulnerable to myriad breaches that makes engaging the cybersecurity world necessary for anyone participating in the digital space at any level even at a personal level. This is important because globally criminals extract almost a half billion dollars in ill-gotten monetary gains annually. In America alone, over 2,900 businesses were breached in some form or another in a single year. Additionally, it is estimated that globally, all but ten percent of businesses feel that their business’s defenses are secure enough to withstand even crude cyber-criminal attempts.
Companies as large as Equifax, Target and Home Depot have been digitally invaded in attacks in which criminals were able to extract millions of customer’s data including their credit card information stored internally by companies with the resources to have very well protected systems. Furthermore, often thesecriminals looted company and personal accounts, sequestered entire business and personal networks and have received major ransoms to restore services in doing so. These criminals are even employed by legitimate businesses in illegitimate ways like spying on the competition and extracting proprietary information. These practices no matter how devastating to these large companies would be lethal to even the most successfully operating small businesses.
Digital World War
Government entities and private sector industries around the world are on a continuous search for effective cybersecurity, and with the requisite preparation and specialized assistance, damages can be mitigated and recovery is possible from the consequences of the cyber-attacks. However, the criminals are always innovating new ways to protect their interests also, so this has become a virtual digital world war against highly organized criminal organizations with the backing of even some foreign governments. These attacks have the ability of depressing the entire global economy, so businesses large and small need to have cybersecurity strategies in place to protect their own personal and business interests as well as those of their customers, and the data stored from these valuable customers from the ever-expanding cybersecurity threat.
However, just like large corporations will be consulting the most qualified professional help, so should small businesses. There many well organized and effective companies that offer multiple effective options for small business cyber security and for the security of their websites. This is important because unlike large companies like Home Depot that have multiple levels in which people engage their businesses including their brick and mortar stores, websites are often the only point of contact with customers for small businesses. Criminals and nefarious competitors know this and often target these small business’ websites. One of the main tools competent companies will employ is a risk analysis or risk assessment. Furthermore, many of these cybersecurity firms utilize a standard risk analysis that yields great reviews and this is called an ISO security assessment.
The risk analysis is complex, but it is an integral part of the ISO security platform, so its implementation is key. The assessment and the remedies the process renders are the foundation for information security on your website and in your company in general regardless of size. It is important because the purpose of the ISO is to find out which incidents are probable and then prescribe the most appropriate methods to prevent incursions. Even when the probable risks are identified, the process then determines which of those is most likely and thus more important to defend against. Businesses use the assessments to set protocol so that any entity performing an analysis will follow the appropriate process. After these measures are set and the analysis is run, it is important to put in place the methods prescribed rather than using them for general advice.
Once the correct assessment is in place and has rendered an opinion, and these policies are implemented, risk can be displaced by decreasing the risks with certain security controls. The risk can also be transferred through the use of financial instruments like insurance. Additionally, the risk can be avoided by changing company policies and procedures that place the company at risk of incurring a security breach. However, when the cost of mitigating the risk exceeds the damages caused by the risk itself, the risks must simply be accepted with the idea that if more cost effective ways of mitigating the risks are found, they will be implemented. In any circumstances, all activities that deal with security should be documented so that when auditors are brought aboard because of issues, they will have a road map of activities that may have led to an incursion in the shortest amount of time.
Additionally, there are common protocols that can be implemented that offer a basic measure of security. First, information on networks and computers can be protected by installing the latest browsers, operating systems and security software. Employees can be trained in updated security principles like utilizing strong password use as well as instituting penalties for exposing the company to risk with inappropriate web and network use especially in handling sensitive customer and company information. Companies can also provide and continuously upgrade the company’s Internet firewall protections, and this includes firewall protections for those that work from alternative locations like home. Inhibiting employee’s access to certain information and parts of the system can also be a simple way by which risk can be mitigated. Even this level of access should be discontinued before any terminations take place. Data like processing documents and databases etc. should be constantly backed up to some off-site or cloud capacity. There are many other capacities by which security can be bolstered, but increasingly a cybersecurity plan should be made for mobile devices also.