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Cybersecurity should be a major concern for every organization in business today. Cybercrimes affect all types of organizations (large, small, well-known, private, public, etc.) and seem to be making news headlines nearly every day. The impact of a breach on your organization can mean significant profit loss, regulatory fines, reputation destruction and the loss of valuable customers.
When customers trust your organization, you are expected to protect their customer data. That’s why organizations need to learn how to collect, properly utilize and eventually eliminate customer data, all while maintaining robust security posture. Customers need organizations to be transparent, prepared and vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity. So, how can you do that?
As the CEO of a cybersecurity software and solutions company, I have worked with over 150 companies worldwide and have extensive experience with cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, organization development, mergers and acquisitions and the banking industry. Here are a few of my must-do steps as you evaluate and implement cybersecurity practices for your organization.
• Make cybersecurity and risk management a priority throughout your organization. Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue — it extends to the entirety of the organization. Make sure everyone on your team understands its importance.
• Regularly communicate with your customers on your cybersecurity plans and how they will protect their data. Being fully transparent allows you to build trust.
• Do more than just the minimum antivirus software. Use multiple layers of protection. Go above and beyond to protect your customer data.
• Prioritize the data that needs protection and protect your organization’s crown jewels, such as customer payment details or private information. Understand where your greatest assets are located and take action to protect those assets in particular.
• Ensure that vulnerability testing is a common practice in your organization, not just penetration testing. Don’t wait to deal with threats until they occur; anticipate threats. Test, test, test and then test again.
• Educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices to create awareness and build a multilayer defense.
Of course, it can be challenging to figure out what steps to take, the most important data to protect and the best direction to go. At times you will feel as if you are building a plane while in flight. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started:
• Is cybersecurity a business or IT department responsibility?
• Have we aligned our business and cybersecurity strategies?
• Have we allocated an appropriate cybersecurity budget?
• Does our company culture promote cyber awareness at all levels of the organization?
• Have we prioritized the most critical data to be protected?
• Do we have or need cyber insurance?
• Have we tested/simulated a cyber breach mock disaster and are we prepared to respond appropriately?
• Do we have the basics covered (patching, firewalls, encryption, vulnerability management, penetration testing, behavioral biometric continuous authentication, etc.)?
Becoming a secure organization will not happen quickly and it will not be inexpensive. Gartner forecasts that worldwide information security spending will exceed $124 billion in 2019. Organizations are in competition with hackers, whether they want to be or not, and they must keep up.
If organizations expect to survive the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, they must take the necessary steps of putting cybersecurity at the forefront of their business strategies. Gone are the days of simply finding the right software to counter individual cybercrimes; rather, having an enterprise-wide cyber strategy is what organizations need in order to win.
While absolute security is not possible, organizations need to be working daily toward becoming cyber resilient. A structured and holistic approach to managing cybersecurity offers the best chance of protection.
May 15, 2019 at 09:05AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs