By Neelesh Kripalani, Chief Technology Officer, Clover Infotech
Organizations as well as governments are increasingly adopting and relying on digital systems to manage their day-to-day activities. However, with the increasing adoption of digital, organizations face a new challenge – the rising urgency of cybersecurity.
In this digital era, cyber threat actors not only use conventional methods such as phishing, malware, ransomware etc., but will also explore new technologies to gain access to organizational systems and sensitive data. This implies that organizations as well as individuals should take extreme precautions in order to ensure cybersecurity.
The below mentioned practices will help to a great extent.
#1 Back It Up
A comprehensive backup and recovery strategy are vital elements in a business continuity plan. Backing up your data entails making and storing copies of your business information. The main reason for data backup is to save important files if a system crash or hard drive failure occurs. Cloud backups are an excellent option for providing additional redundancy and security for businesses that want to ensure that their important data is available in case of an attack or a disaster. You can consider the 3-2-1 rule for data back-up i.e., there should be 3 copies of data on 2 different media (devices) with 1 copy being off site.
#2 Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
At a basic level, authentication requires proof that users are who they claim to be. As the name implies, MFA blends at least two separate factors of authentication. It is important, as it makes stealing your information harder for the average criminal. MFA reduces the risk of a security breach drastically, and sensitive data stays protected. It can help an organization to achieve zero-trust security remotely.
#3 Keep an Eye on Shadow IT
Shadow IT refers to any IT system, solution, device, or technology used within an organization without the knowledge and approval of the corporate IT department. In most cases, employees find an organization’s IT solutions inefficient. Instead of sticking to them, workers adopt new technologies that help them to do their jobs faster and achieve better results. The risk of shadow IT can be mitigated by building a flexible corporate policy i.e., consider solutions that are both secure as well as user-friendly. Organizations must educate their employees on the consequences of shadow IT.
#4 Create a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Policy
When we think of cybersecurity, the first thing that comes to our mind is the IT team. However, cybersecurity is not the IT team’s responsibility alone – it is everyone’s job. Thus, there should be a comprehensive cybersecurity policy in place for all stakeholders. It should set the standards of behaviour for activities such as the use of personal devices, social media usage for business, information sharing, email communication etc. An effective security policy will help an organization to effectively protect its data thereby enabling them to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack.
#5 Train Your Employees
Human error has a well-documented history of causing data breaches. Human error means unintentional actions (or lack of action) by users that allow a security breach to take place. This includes a vast range of actions from downloading an infected attachment to failing to use a strong password. Thus, training users and employees on how to recognize cyber risks is crucial. Cybercrime is on the rise and new threats are constantly emerging, so it’s necessary that the training sessions are ongoing and repeated at regular intervals with mandatory attendance. It is also important to have periodic reviews to gauge the level of understanding acquired by all employees. While the time and effort that organizations spend on this will be significant, it will be beneficial for the organization to take such steps to proactively mitigate the risk of a cyberthreat as against remediating it after an incident occurs.
#6 Opt for Cyber Insurance
Having an insurance plan is like having a safety net, which can safeguard you in the event of any mishap. Similarly, cyber insurance provides you a coverage in case you suffer a loss due to cyber threats. However, it should not be considered as a substitute for cybersecurity. Even if you have a health insurance, you still want to look both ways before you cross the road. Similarly, even if you have a cyber insurance, you should have a robust cybersecurity architecture in place. Remember that cyber insurance can help you recover from the financial loss but it can’t help you recover from the reputational loss. As there is not much data available and the nature of attacks is varied and dynamic, insurers and their underwriting teams may find it difficult to price such products. However, it is important to create campaigns and awareness programs for organizations to understand the importance of Cyberinsurance and to embrace it positively.
No one exactly knows what the future holds for the cybersecurity arena. However, it is certain that the cyber threat actors are here to stay. Proactively pre-empting their moves, identifying your system vulnerabilities, and anticipating where attacks might come from will allow you to mitigate the risks. The above-mentioned practices will help you to bolster your security.