The success of every business type lies in the strategy. The strategies are usually defined by management, but all employees take an important part in them. Strategies contain all plans needed for defined goals, including all risks which can occur. Due to technology development, cybersecurity strategy is a very hot topic. That strategy should be designed to prevent unauthorized users to access the company network, servers, hardware – all IT assets. Various kinds of successful cyber-attacks can enable unauthorized access to a company’s IT assets. To prevent it, companies should work on their IT strategies in a detailed manner, anticipating all risks to which they are exposed.
How to start building cyber security strategy?
To find out all the risks that can affect their business, companies must learn and understand how their IT infrastructure works. This applies to understanding the company network, software, tools, devices, and knowing what is exposed to the internet and which data is accessible to employees.
Companies must know who is responsible for which data type and be able to list all users who have access to data.
If companies ignore this, they are in real danger – every company’s IT asset can be exposed to cyber-attacks. Sometimes, the importance of understanding how IT infrastructure works is forgotten. Sometimes, these actions require more people involved. In these cases, it is best to outsource IT security to cyber security companies. These companies will be your security partners and protect your data and complete IT infrastructure (network, devices, software, etc) from malicious attacks.
Users are the first line of defence from cyber attacks
All users – employees can help to protect the company’s IT infrastructure and carry-on cyber security strategy. However, if they are not well educated, employees can make more harm than good. In order to prevent it, companies organize cyber security training. Every user, every employee should take part in this training. Basic education includes the recognition of phishing emails, the consequences of data leaks, passwords security, data security, and risks of exchanging information online.
Additional training should be provided per department – different cyber risks can occur in the finance department than in technical or sales departments. Most companies engage the cyber security company to make sure that all risks are covered in these pieces of training. This way, cyber security partners will externally educate your employees with all important topics from their field of expertise.
To trust your software or not?
All certified software suppliers take care of their products when they are in use. They maintain them with updates and patches. Basically, the patching system should modify the product in order to improve its performance or security. Very often, updates will provide additional features to the software, making its use wider and making the product better. Patches and updates should be done on regular bases. If not, your system is exposed to malicious attacks and hackers. It is important to know that patches are showing up only when a vendor notices some issue in the system. If we keep postponing updates and do not check for patches, the risk is getting bigger and bigger.
The server needs to be patched and the desktop itself.
Since the server consists of a lot of business applications (internal working tools, browsers, text editors, etc) it means that all these applications are vulnerable if we do not take care of them with patches and updates. The server security patching system will make sure that every patch for every component on the server is installed in the proper way and in time.
Desktop security patching will do the same but on the desktop level. Patches are created by the supplier and users just have to accept the update that the system is offering to them. If users keep postponing the updates, they are putting the system in danger. The most important thing with desktop patching is to be aware that one missed update on one desktop can damage the complete system.
Take care of your data
The easiest way for taking care of the company data is to use antivirus and firewalls. This step is one of the mandatory steps – if the staff is educated, the network is understood by users, and we trust and maintain our software in a proper way. Antivirus and the firewall are the shields – antivirus is the shield for malware and the firewall is the shield for the network. These two components should be the basic layers of IT protection.
Companies can notice system changes or strange behaviours while executing daily activities. An important activity for preventing system damages by external attacks is to integrate the monitoring into the system. If the company continually monitors its IT network, it can notice every security threat and get insight into the security system to prevent any anomalies.
Backup goes hand in hand with data protection with antivirus, firewall and monitoring. These days, it is mandatory to backup company data somewhere secured. If a cyber-attack occurs, companies can easily access their data or restore it, if something is lost. Very often, data backup is done on external devices (hard drives) or in the cloud.
Establishing and maintaining IT security is important for every business. Business owners and managers should start from the strategy. In different management theories, it is recommended that strategy should be a document which will contain:
- important IT security concerns,
- risk assessment for possible cyber-attacks which can affect everyday activities and possibility for goals achievement,
- plans how to deal with risks in order to secure company IT system and improve company productivity at all levels.
Companies have to be aware of the whole IT system – physical and non-physical components, users, data. It is recommended that all users are educated before accessing the company’s IT system, its data, and getting the data exposed to the internet. For this point, companies can hire IT security experts or outsource this activity to a third-party cyber security company, which will educate the company employees with all-important theoretical and practical explanations.
Together with users, it is important to pay attention to the security of server components which are in every day-use. Companies have to pay attention on maintaining and securing the servers – they are containing all company applications and data, and, on the other hand, securing the desktops – as an individual working station for every employee, also very open to malicious attacks.
Nowadays, the data is presented as a commercial good. The person who owns a lot of data is considered powerful. Company data is very sensitive and very desired good. In order to protect their data, companies must follow IT experts’ advises for antivirus and firewall. With monitoring of the data and the entire system, companies ensure that nothing will pass unnoticed through their system. Also, it is especially important to have all data and software saved on some other secured place – a hard drive or the cloud. In case a company loses something during a cyber-attack, the data can be easily accessible.
These basics of IT security can be carried on by cyber security companies. Everything mentioned is their field of expertise, and company owners and managers should think about outsourcing all these activities before making the decision to proceed by themselves.