Cybersecurity is a vital component of every business strategy and as such, every business person must be aware of the intricacies and basic components of a competent cybersecurity defense system. As you read this, there are currently vast amounts of your personal and your business data online and so many ways to access this data. Yes, it is convenient, but it is also a significant threat.
This article will attempt to unpack the key aspects of a cogent cybersecurity strategy, noting the various components and associated rationale for these.
Network and cloud security can be dealt with together and they form a large component of the cybersecurity plan.
The irony of starting with endpoint security to discuss basic cybersecurity is obvious, but e endpoint security or endpoint protection is the frontline of cybersecurity. It is not simply the use of antivirus software alone, it has now evolved into protection from malware as well as zero-day threats. Professional Endpoint Security must be able to speedily detect, analyze and block active attacks, and sometimes several of these at the same time. Storing required data on threats in the cloud (and being able to update these constantly) speeds the time at the endpoint for threat analysis and removal.
At a basic level, this is one of the simplest ways of ensuring your business is secure and safe on any network or cloud-based platform. We have all heard the tips around making stronger passwords, simple things like a combination of phrases, making it longer rather than shorter, and changing passwords regularly. However, not many of us actually follow these guidelines. One way to ensure this is done by employees is to establish a password policy within your organization and ensure enforcement of that policy. Research shows that across users that had passwords stolen in 2020, 60% reused the same password across accounts, significantly increasing the risk of further attacks.
Using a password manager is one way to ensure some additional levels of control and security and avoid password fatigue which leads to employees using the same password across different accounts and platforms.
Network access security
The act of keeping unauthorized users and devices out of a business network is referred to as network access control and is a key element of any cybersecurity strategy. If an organization allows certain devices or users from outside of their organization access to their network, then it is imperative to ensure that those devices and users meet strict security regulations and compliance procedures. Network access security protects the functionality of the network and ensures productivity and efficiency are not put at risk.
Internet of things
There is extraordinarily little protection provided to the various items that you are now able to connect to the network and the data centers of your business. These must be seen as additional ways into the network and as such prevented from unauthorized or unauthenticated access. With an estimated 14 billion devices making us the internet of things (and expected to grow exponentially to over 30 billion in the coming years), this is a key element of security management required in any organization.
There will be no need to protect all the networks, the data, and the linkages to the cloud, but if the critical infrastructure such as electricity and telecommunications systems are compromised, then your business needs to have the relevant backup provisions, recovery strategies, and a process to ensure continuity for the business.
Human engagement and training
The one piece of the puzzle that many organizations neglect is the human component. Those who use and access the data store, the network, and cloud computing capabilities must be trained to understand the inherent threats and the specific mitigation strategies to minimize risk. Training topics would include:
- Using emails, which ones to open and which to avoid
- Web browsing on the company browser
- Why not download any unauthorized software
- Password strength requirements
- Individual worker responsibilities related to company data
Setting up and implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy in the data age is a little more complex than downloading the anti-virus software, updating it from time to time and running a scan every time you remember; or backing up the weekly work on an external hard drive and locking this away. It has become a complicated and intricate response to criminal activity that has proliferated throughout the internet and its related business functions and processes.