Across the nation, corporations are still haunted by some of the largest IT security incidents in history, such as the attack on Yahoo, the hack of the Democratic National Committee, and the difficult-to-forget Target breach. If your enterprise is like most, these types of incidents move IT leadership to action, checking to ensure that security protocols are still in place and followed. But what if you could do more to safeguard your cyber assets?
For a growing number of enterprises, a full-scale IT security strategy has become a necessity. It’s no longer enough to adopt a reactive security position. As cybersecurity threats continue to escalate and grow increasingly sophisticated, now is the time to be proactive and strategic about protecting your enterprise.
Luckily, in this age of hypervigilance over cybersecurity, there are plenty of well-established best practices to help get your IT security strategy started. Here are seven of them:
1. AUDIT YOUR CURRENT CYBERSECURITY EFFORTS.
First, take the time to assess the organization’s current state of IT security. Include key stakeholders who have the technical skills and knowledge to fully assess the risk environment and the company’s position.
Be sure to evaluate the entire security framework. Consider how well-protected the enterprise is against threats, both internal (careless employees, poor data security protocols, etc.) and external (stolen credentials, denial-of-service attacks, etc.). Determine what is working—and what is falling short.
This initial audit should be a starting point for a more in-depth review. When necessary, partner with an experienced IT security consultant for a comprehensive audit.
2. DEFINE YOUR SECURITY GOALS.
Following your audit, assess what needs to change to achieve a higher level of security. Are you effectively protecting data, discouraging high-profile cyberattacks, staying in compliance, and safeguarding the company reputation? If not, define these goals and start working out a way to get there.
3. CREATE A SECURITY ROADMAP.
With your security goals in mind, create a roadmap that will guide you from your current security position to your ideal one. What steps need to be taken to achieve each of your goals? Which departments, stakeholders, or partners need to be involved? It can be helpful to gain leadership approval of your roadmap, and then share it with the appropriate department heads, to ensure everyone understands his or her role and is on the same path toward success.
4. CULTIVATE A MORE SECURE CULTURE.
The most stringent security policies will still be ineffective if your people don’t take cybersecurity seriously. That’s why it is vital to encourage a more secure culture throughout the entire organization, from entry-level employees to your leadership team.
Establishing a set of organization-wide best practices for cybersecurity can help kick-start a more secure culture. How should employees handle passwords? How will data be backed up? Who will have access to sensitive information? These are the types of questions that should have well-established answers. Create your company’s best practices and publish them in a place where everyone can gain easy access.
Then, ensure that cybersecurity is a key part of training for new employees. If necessary, provide refresher training for all employees once a year or so to remind them of existing cybersecurity policies and to introduce new ones.
5. WATCH FOR EMERGING THREATS.
New cybersecurity threats emerge all the time, and hackers grow increasingly sophisticated every year. That is why it’s important to keep an eye on emerging trends and threats that may impact your network. Even now, your organization’s use of BYOD devices or IoT technology could be exposing the network, or shadow IT systems may be gathering vital information on your customers. It’s important to be aware of these new threats so that you can account for them in your planning.
6. INVEST IN CYBERSECURITY.
Today, there is no denying that enterprises must dedicate a portion of their budgets to cybersecurity. Research shows that the average cost of a single data breach now averages $4 million—and that figure grows every year. For some companies, a cyberattack hurts the bottom line (and their reputation) so much that they cannot recover.
But a proactive investment in cybersecurity can shield you from many of the leading cybersecurity risks. A comprehensive approach should include tools such as anti-virus software, firewalls, and cybersecurity training for employees and associates.
7. SCHEDULE ONGOING ASSESSMENTS.
Unfortunately, an initial audit isn’t going to keep your organization secure forever. Be sure to hold regular audits and assessments to continually check for new vulnerabilities and ensure the company is still protected and compliant.
Internal audits are helpful every year or so, while an external assessment can help you gain a more full-fledged picture of your security position. Partnering with a cybersecurity consultant can help you stay up to date on new threats, without having to constantly worry about whether you’re vulnerable.
ADDRESS CYBERSECURITY HEAD ON
IT security threats evolve quickly, and it’s important to stay vigilant of hackers, spyware, and viruses. Centrinet protects your enterprise from cybersecurity threats while ensuring optimal uptime, productivity, and efficiency. We constantly monitor and manage your network using leading tools and partnerships to ensure you are not only well-protected but also achieving the IT performance levels you need in order to be successful.