This year alone, cybercrime will cost the world $1 trillion in revenue. A business can lose about $4.24 million after just one data breach, according to IBM. Let’s say that you do have the revenue necessary to survive the financial havoc a hack might wreak. The revenue loss would be a massive problem, but it wouldn’t be the only one. While your business works to repair compromised systems and return to productivity, you run the risk of hemorrhaging skittish clients who just saw their sensitive data become public property. Your company’s brand and credibility run a serious risk of being irreparably damaged with current and future clients. No company, regardless of size or rainy day reserves, can afford that.
So, whether your company’s rapid growth recently outstripped your existing IT protocols or you’re a well-established brand looking to shore up your network security before disaster strikes, it may be time to invest in a smarter, techier future for your business.
The first steps are easy
IT professionals like to say that your company’s network is only as secure as its least secure device. If one telecommuting employee leaves his laptop unattended in his coworking space, or another is charging her phone in a Starbucks wall outlet, everyone else may be at risk.
The first step in shoring up your network is to issue company devices to employees. In one step, you can eradicate the hazards that personal laptops and phones create. Also, you can control what software lives on work computers and phones, only using software from vendors you trust. The second and equally important part of the puzzle is mandating two-factor identification on any devices your employees use for work.
Now, let’s complicate things
All the above is great, but it’s table stakes. Encryption isn’t the silver bullet that people outside of cybersecurity think it is. It only protects against lost or stolen devices. But your network (probably) has more vulnerabilities than just physical theft, right? Which brings us to...
The people problem
You don’t have to look very far to find the most glaring weakness in any cybersecurity system. It’s us. We human beings are, by a country mile, the biggest liability to the brilliantly complex and well-protected systems we create.
Once spyware or other malignant software has made it onto a computer, encryption and two-factor identification are about as useful for cybersecurity purposes as an umbrella in a hurricane. So how do you prevent malware from ever coming within spitting distance of your network?
Low-hanging fruit: Employee awareness
One of the first steps you can take if you’re (rightly) concerned about spyware is to make sure your staff is up to speed on how and why to follow correct security protocols. Some of this may seem obvious to someone in IT (e.g. don’t click on suspicious attachments), but a refresher course can decrease some of your network vulnerabilities.
This isn’t purely a tech problem; it’s an end-user problem. That means the only thing that can stop a data breach is a smarter, better-trained group of end-users. Cyber security training shouldn’t just be basic orientation drudgery for employees. It should be all-encompassing and accessible.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT department...
You’ll need to ask yourself: What will the impact be if one of our employees is hacked? What would be the consequences of phishing, malware, or some unrelated data breach? Sometimes, simply re-using a substandard password can blow your network security wide open.
If your company has grown quickly, chances are your employees are interacting via a cloud service, where permissions are shared fairly loosely. If every employee has access to all the files on the company’s Google Drive, for example, the consequences of a single individual breach are potentially catastrophic, not just for proprietary company information — but for any and all protected client data.
So, with or without a dedicated SWAT team of cyber security professionals, you might want to beef up the permissions that people need in order to access those documents. That means mandatory two-factor identification again, not just for computers and phones, but for accessing the cloud itself.
The delicate balance between security and productivity
That’s not all, though. You’ll need to weigh the competitive advantage of having more people in the loop against the possible fallout if one of those people’s devices gets compromised. Perhaps there are benefits to be gained from selectively restricting permissions to certain documents.
All this is to say that protecting your data is a balancing act. Imposing too-tight security measures may impinge on employee productivity, bogging people down with task after task. But failing to have any precautions in place puts your company at grave risk. There is a middle ground, a sweet spot that’s just right for your business, and the key is determining exactly what that is.
Finding the right cyber security guidance
Every company needs specific measures and tools for combating cyber security breaches. The probability that your network will be hacked and the nature of those risks are likely different from another company’s. To protect your assets and information, you’ll first need an evaluation of those potential dangers.
Need to review your security protocols but not sure where to start? That’s where we come in. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1 (888) 969-2983 to book a complimentary consultation.