The Rise of Cyber Security

Cyber Security is an issue for businesses of all sizes. The proliferation of technology used by all organizations to manage day-to-day activities has resulted in the need to secure company data and have a plan to prevent intrusions. Spending for cyber defense is an on-going expense as the nature of cyber threats are constantly changing and result in frequent upgrades, as hackers attempt to stay ahead of the game.

Case in point – last year in testimony before a congressional panel, Frank Cilluffo, director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, made news when he reported a major U.S. bank told him it faced 30,000 attacks – including 22,000 from criminal groups and 400 from nation states – in the week before he testified. “This amounts to an attack every 34 seconds, each and every day,” Cilluffo said.

Spending on this protection may be a frustrating cost of doing business, but it is a critical and necessary expense. Defending company data from outside intrusion is paramount to protecting the bottom line. If a business is using systems and technology to manage day-to-day activities, they must be secure.

Cyber Security Tips

Businesses today face cyber threats from criminals, terrorists, nation states, hackers for profit, hackers for a cause, saboteur employees and ex-employees. Here are the top cyber security tips.

  • Do a risk assessment. What do you have? Where is it stored? Which employees and vendors can access it?
  • Insiders are the greatest threat, whether it’s a careless employee or a disgruntled one. People are the weakest link. Many data breach cases result from an employee who clicked on the wrong item and let in malware or an employee who downloaded customer information onto a laptop, smartphone or thumb drive and then lost the device. Employees have to be trained on security policies, especially handling emails that could introduce viruses.
  • Encrypt important data. Having data encrypted provides a measure of liability protection.
  • Purge old records no longer needed. Don’t be liable for a breach of data that’s unneeded.
  • Backup everything. Ransomware only works if you don’t have backups.
  • Outsource where feasible. Cloud service providers build their business on security, and given the economies of scale, can provide protection superior to that found in small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Create a breach response plan and practice its implementation.

Cyber threats can happen to any business – no matter the size. Stay up to date on tips to stay ahead of the cyber terrorists.

What cyber security threats have you encountered? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Steve Lash
Steve Lash
Steve Lash is a founding partner with BeaconCFO Plus who has a passion for developing successful businesses from start-ups to mature companies. Drawing on his financial and operational expertise he’s delivered results by emphasizing proven strategies and solutions that build profitable enterprises.
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