Cyber Security is more important than ever but how do you know if it applies to your business and if it does, how do you know whether you have the right security in place to detect and prevent cyber-attacks?
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is a term used to describe the protection of a computer system against digital threats. Digital threats covers a multitude of external attacks including:
- Breaches to data
- Data corruption
- Data theft
- System compromise
- Denial of service attacks
- Whaling attacks
- Social Engineering
The types of attacks that cyber security aims to prevent normally originate from the Internet and so any computer system that is connected to the Internet is a potential target and thus a device that needs to be protected. However, not all attacks originate from or require the Internet to take place. Many advanced cyber criminals are now using social engineering in order to extort money and/or information from businesses and these methods of extortion do not necessarily originate over the Internet.
Does Cyber Security Affect me?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to Cyber Security is this: If you have a computer system that contains any type of sensitive information then you need to worry about Cyber Security. Factors such as the size of your business or the amount of money that you generate are irrelevant. In fact many hackers are now targeting small businesses intentionally because they know that Cyber Security is taken far less seriously in most smaller companies – whether that is because of budget restrictions or lack of understanding is irrelevant.
How to Implement a Cyber Security Policy
Now you know that you need Cyber Security measures in place, how do you go about implementing a Cyber Security policy and preventing your systems from being compromised?
There are a few key areas that you can begin working on when it comes to Cyber Security. Some of these steps are basic and can be easily implemented but the crucial ones tend to be more complex and it is normally advisable to get an IT company involved in the process if you want to do it efficiently.
Auditing and Assessment
The first step to introducing an effective Cyber Security policy is to audit your existing systems. This means undertaking risk assessments for all the areas of your IT operations as well as all the crucial applications and data within your business. Things to take note of here are the ways in which your data is stored, transmitted and handled as well as who has access to that data. The results of this auditing stage will normally give you a good idea of where to concentrate when it comes to hardening your IT systems and security policies.
Security Software and Hardware Implementation
The next stage is the introduction of security systems which could include both hardware appliances and software applications. In its simplest form this could mean the introduction of a managed antivirus solution into your business network environment. In a more complex computer network this could also involve the introduction of managed firewalls and web filtering hardware to detect and prevent external attacks at the perimeter of your network.
Regular training is something that is often overlooked but is a crucial part of cyber security. You should not only train your onsite IT staff in cyber security detection and prevention but all of your staff members. Non-IT staff are far more likely to be the target of a Cyber Security attack, especially when it comes to social engineering and other information gathering exercises carried out by hackers. The reason for this is simple – Staff members who are not IT literate are far more likely to fall victim to these attacks.
For this reason, Cyber Security Training is extremely important within any business and without having this training in place most of the other preventative measures will be all but useless.