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Testing your business network security - where to start

18 Jan 2021

A recent Microsoft report revealed 35% more cyber attacks in the first half of 2020 than in the second half of 2019. The global shift to remote working is likely a contributing factor, as more devices are accessing business networks without the usual security measures in place.

Perimeter defences are no longer enough. Instead, businesses need security measures built into their network to withstand attacks and threats, no matter where their employees are.

According to the IDG Security Priorities Study 2020, the pandemic caused a sizeable minority of businesses to increase their security budgets. The study reported 41% of survey respondents planned to increase their budgets. It also showed that whatever other areas might be reduced, security was not one of them with 53% expecting budgets to remain unchanged and just 6% expecting a decrease.

Are they spending it well?

Spending money on the problem does not guarantee that your network and IT systems will be fully secure. What exactly are you spending your money on? What does it get you?

The same IDG study found 87% of security leaders felt their organisation was not adequately addressing cyber risk. Almost a third said they weren’t investing enough budget, people and technologies to address the risks, which might explain why the survey found 41% planned to increase their spend. But there were other concerns with 28% confessing they were not proactive enough with their security strategy.
No business wants to hear about a security incident from a customer.

Confidence in your network is important

Improving cybersecurity to address any shortcomings offers several benefits. There are clear productivity savings if your company network is more secure. It can help to make your business more efficient by reducing your costs from downtime, for example.

In addition, it can cement customer trust and loyalty if your network has a reputation for being secure and reliable. A good reputation for security could also be a strong differentiator for customers when comparing your business to competitors.

How secure are your employees?

Confidence in the security of the business network is not confined to the technology; it relies on the people using it too.

Employees need to be a key part of your security strategy and understand their role in maintaining it.

This element cannot be ignored, especially as more employees work remotely.

A recent report by Ponemon Institute illuminates this problem. It found that 71% of respondents were very concerned remote workers were putting the organisation at risk for a data breach and 57% felt they were prime targets for cybercriminals.

Only 39% believed their organisation had the expertise to manage and mitigate cybersecurity risks caused by remote working.

If you want to help protect your business network from these risks, you need to consider a number of factors. Employees should be aware of the company’s cybersecurity policies for remote working. They should be trained on them, supportive of the policies, understand why they are there and what they are there for. It is important that you keep them up to date with any changes to the policies.

Are your policies fit for purpose? Employees need to be confident in your ability to address security challenges. You need to be assured that they are using approved devices to access the network. If they are using their own unsecured devices, you need to be aware of that and address any security concerns.

And then it might be time to ask yourself again: How secure is my business network?

Learn more about cyber security and how an effective strategy can help protect your organisation.

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