Time to Harvest a Cyber Security Plan

October 11, 2016

October: crisp, cool temperatures, caramel apples, harvest, and Halloween. But did you know October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month? The Department of Homeland Security designed this as an annual campaign to raise awareness about online risks. Advances in technology have enabled our world to be more connected than ever, whether it is through emails, instant chat, social media, or simply researching global data from our fingertips. Now an integral part of our world, the internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life.  Unfortunately, the wealth of knowledge and convenience has a sinister counterpart: cybercrime.

A question for proactive thinking: How much of your business touches the internet?

Cyber security essentially focuses on protecting computers, networks, programs, and data from unauthorized access, modifications, and/or destruction. It is our battle plan for the war against cybercrime. Cybercrime, the biggest threat to your business today, is a rapidly growing industry. It is estimated that the cost to the global economy is over $400 billion each year - more than the national income of some countries. So, why do so many businesses dangerously underestimate the risks associated with suffering such an event?

Networks Plus stands as your partner in the fight against cybercrime. We are there to help you recover from security incidents but we’d prefer to help you prevent them from happening. That is why we recognize National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) by raising awareness about cyber security and providing our clients, with the resources necessary to combat cyber-related disasters. Proactive IT is the most cost-effective way to stay ahead of lurking dangers!

Often, small and medium businesses (SMBs) don’t consider themselves significant targets for cyber-attacks. Perhaps they think they are too small or that their data is insignificant. The truth of the matter is, small businesses are prime targets as their cyber security is often less developed than that of larger corporations. As a result, the data of SMBs is more open to risk. While your employee and customer records, bank accounts, general ledgers, and other data essential to the health and well-being of your business might not be all that valuable to a cyber-criminal – they know it is important to you. The majority of the latest cyber-attacks have come by way of ransomware – which essentially means your data is held hostage until you pay the demanded ransom.

A question for proactive thinking: How long can your company survive without access to its data? 

According to a study conducted by Experian, SMBs impacted by a security breach not only lost revenue, but also saw increased costs associated with acquiring new customers. In many instances, these same companies had to lay off employees while they tried to recover from the damages. Many SMBs reported being down almost an entire year while they worked to overcome the damages and repair their reputation.

Another question for proactive thinking: What could that much down time do to your organization?

As October is dedicated to the awareness of cyber security, you will hear us speak frequently of Proactive IT. We want to help you not only plan how to recover from a potential breach in your cyber security, but especially to devise a plan with you to prevent such events.

Some of those steps include:  

  • Implementing a formal data protection and security program to address cyber security risks.
  • Conducting a risk assessment to identify potential threats.
  • Identifying your sensitive and confidential information and implementing a strategy to protect it. Remember – this information is the lifeblood of your business. As such, it should be secure and protected at all times!
  • Establishing corporate security objectives and setting actionable metrics to measure that those goals are in fact being met.
  • Educating employees through on-going training and awareness programs on the importance of following proper security procedures. Employees can’t be expected to avoid dangers they are unaware of.
  • Making a business case for investing in cyber security, including both proactive protection and recovery strategies. Your bottom line depends on it!

It is essential to remember that no matter how large or small your business may be, the importance of protecting your data assets should always be the first priority in your cyber security plan.