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Getting the most out of cybersecurity for your business

21 May 2021

It’s impossible to over-emphasise how critical cybersecurity is to businesses today. A successful security breach could cost your company a fortune; not just in downtime, fixing the breach and getting systems up and running again, but also in terms of your reputation and customer trust.

Security no longer applies only to the company network perimeter as your data, documents and applications are being accessed and shared by employees in remote locations.

For many companies, much of that data is also flowing between onsite and cloud-based systems. Each device accessing these systems is a potential vulnerable spot that cybercriminals can use to access your network and your data.

What do you need to do?

Many of the cybersecurity challenges your business faces have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every company has been forced to accelerate investment in areas such as digital transformation, the cloud and remote working.

Security policies and solutions need to keep pace with these changes. Security solutions need to work across all endpoints, irrespective of the user, branch, location or device, for example.

You need to look at how well your endpoint security is aligned to the surge in remote working.

Are there authentication policies in place for your dispersed employees, for instance? Think about how you’re protecting onsite and cloud-based data and the connections between them. Can your security systems detect and prevent a breach?

Your employees need to be aware of the company’s cybersecurity policies and supportive of them. They need to understand why they are there and what they are there for. You need to ensure they are familiar with their changed security responsibilities from the increasing use of cloud and remote working.

Get back to basics

An effective cybersecurity policy starts with a security assessment – and that requires an audit of your assets.

Many companies have added devices, applications, software and connections to their operations since the arrival of the pandemic. They need to have a firm grasp of what they are, where they are and how they interact with the company network and data. Are your operations secure enough? If not, this is the time to ensure that they are.

A security assessment will help you identify gaps in your defences and what you can do to protect yourself better. It can also help you to align security more closely with your business goals going forward.

Prevention is always better than the cure

Companies face a stark choice in terms of preventing cyberattacks or remediating them afterwards. Wondering how much of their cybersecurity strategy should be focused on repulsing attacks and how much on recovering from them. Prevention is usually better than waiting for a cure.

Prevention means identifying threats earlier and dealing with them before they have a chance to spread to the network. The cost of not doing so is much higher, often running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more.

The first line of defence is the human firewall: your employees. If they have the knowledge and training to fend off attacks, they can protect your business at the earliest stages.

If employees understand the types of risk they face and how to deal with them, it creates one of the most effective forms of cyber defence there is.

You should make sure your endpoint security is effective and comprehensive. This means it should be able to identify and respond to threats before they have an opportunity to get into the network.

Your employees need to be aware of endpoint threats – such as phishing, drive-by downloads and ransomware – and how they can help defend against them. In addition, endpoint security on your devices should be kept up to date with patches.

If a breach occurs, you need a response strategy in place to recover as quickly as possible.

Factor in the cloud

The cloud played a critical role for many businesses fighting to stay operational and meet new demands during the pandemic. It provided the foundation for workforces to continue to operate remotely, with ready and secure access to the right systems and data.

Moving security to the cloud can be an attractive option, as highlighted in the Cisco 2020 CISO Benchmark Report, which found:

  • 88% of 2,800 IT decision makers identified increased effectiveness, efficiency and visibility as the main drivers for moving security to the cloud.
  • 86% said cloud security had increased visibility into their networks.

Continuity is one of the main reasons businesses are opting for cloud security solutions. Cloud security often incorporates real-time support, live monitoring of business assets and built in redundancies. Scalability and flexibility are also major attractions.

Learn more about our approach to cybersecurity.

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