Building an Effective Cybersecurity Strategy
Cyber Awareness Topics
Cyberattacks happening every 39 seconds. Is your business adequately protected to defend against these evolving threats? Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2025, the world will lose $10.5 trillion to cybercrime, affecting businesses of all sizes and industries. Not only will this signify the largest transfer of economic wealth in history, but the rise in cyberattacks will also be more detrimental than all the damage from natural disasters in a single year. Cybercriminals are also becoming more organized and sophisticated, and the likelihood of detection and prosecution is often incredibly low. As more critical infrastructure, data, and personal information migrate online, the consequences of widespread cybercrime will be incredibly damaging.
Don’t let your business be another victim in the headlines. Building an effective cybersecurity strategy can feel complex and overwhelming, but we’re here to walk you through the necessary steps.
In this guide, we will break down:
- What is a cybersecurity strategy?
- Why a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is necessary
- Critical cyber threats to consider in 2023
- How to build a multilayer cybersecurity program
What Is a Cybersecurity Strategy?
Much more than multi-factor authentication or firewalls, a cybersecurity program is a blend of activities, security policies, and controls designed to work together to prevent and detect cyberattacks. A cybersecurity strategy also has a formalized plan for disaster recovery and business continuity in case the worst does happen. Cybersecurity strategies are also documented, proactively, drafted, agreed upon, and distributed throughout the company. They should be easily accessible and viewable by anyone in the company.
The benefits of a cybersecurity strategy include:
- Protection for devices, data, and confidential information
- Protection against online scams like phishing
- Proactive compliance with industry regulations like HIPAA
- Protection for your business’s reputation
- Reduction of your overall risk of cyberattacks
- Proactive plans for disaster recovery and business continuity
Why a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy Is Necessary
Without a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, your business is at incredible risk. You might think your business will never be a target, or maybe you’re under a false sense of security, believing your IT programs are stronger than you think. However, cybersecurity attacks are not only detrimental to revenue, customer trust, and business growth. They can also be a business-ending event. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 60% of small businesses that experience a cyberattack close their doors within six months.
Small businesses can lose hundreds of dollars for every minute of downtime, which quickly adds up to tens of thousands of dollars if systems go unrecovered. If downtime is caused by a ransomware event, those costs can increase. Monetary loss can include lost business revenue and ransoms paid, but it also includes lost employee productivity when networks are down for days or weeks. Cybercriminals can also steal valuable intellectual property, harming the business’s long-term future.
Customer trust often takes a big hit with a cybersecurity breach. Fleeing clients might take business elsewhere, and 76% of consumers wouldn’t buy from a business they didn’t trust with their data. Companies face reputational damage, negative customer reviews, and more.
Not only do you face paying a ransom to cybercriminals, but you might also pay fines to government or legislative bodies. If your cybersecurity program cut corners, ran outdated software, or failed to comply with guidelines, you could pay hefty fines for violating federal regulations such as HIPAA.
Critical Cyber Threats to Consider in 2023
When creating a cybersecurity program, it’s important to consider the real-world threats you’ll face. Your cybersecurity program should be built to defend against the latest, ever-evolving threat strategies and attack vectors that cybercriminals deploy. Below, we’ll cover the most common threats and how to prevent them.
Cyber Attack Vectors
An attack vector is a way for attackers to infiltrate a computer system or network. The most common attack vulnerabilities are weak passwords, poorly trained employees, missing encryption, misconfigured devices, malware, ransomware, and more. This bucket of cyberattacks encompasses many threats that can steal data and information and are often the first point of entry for criminals.
Ransomware is one of the most popular cybercrimes. It involves a virus infiltrating a network and locking businesses out of their files, software, and systems. Then, cybercriminals make a hefty demand for money. According to Sophos State of Ransomware Report, only 57% of businesses are successful in recovering their data when they are locked out by malicious attackers. Over 155 million ransomware attacks occurred in Q4 of 2022, making ransomware one of the most widespread and damaging issues facing businesses.
Phishing is a social engineering attack where criminals send fake emails or text messages with the goal of exposing sensitive personal information or data. A fraudulent email pretending to be a legitimate company will appear in your employee’s inbox, encouraging them to click a link or send over information through a time-sensitive ask or “request from a boss.” Phishing is the most common type of cybercrime and has increased 29% year over year. These fraudulent scams can be devastating to your business and can often bypass basic security protocols. Employees are especially vulnerable to phishing scams, and 90% of cyber breaches are due to human error.
How to Build a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy
To build a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, businesses must first understand their existing infrastructure and unique vulnerabilities. Security advisory services are an excellent place to start building your unique approach to security. An expert managed services provider can evaluate systems to define critical missing protocols and specifically address needs within your organization.
If building a cybersecurity plan from the ground up sounds overwhelming, comprehensive security consulting can create a customized strategy and solution specific to your business. By working with a managed service provider, your take advantage of security advisory services to complete a gap assessment, network vulnerability and penetration scans, network security assessments, and more. These methodically evaluate your current systems, focusing on areas with the highest likelihood of incidents and breaches. Hiring full-time, in-house expert security help is expensive and difficult, so leveraging a managed security services provider helps bridge the talent gap through a team of specialized security operators.
Components of a Cybersecurity Strategy: A Multi-Layered Approach
A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy leverages multiple levels of defense across everything from mobile devices to inbox monitoring to individual user security. A multi-layered approach to cybersecurity prevents single points of failure and creates a robust defense system from top to bottom. Let’s take a look at the different components of a cybersecurity strategy.
As one of the first layers of defense, firewalls monitor and filter incoming and outgoing network traffic. It’s the initial barrier of defense between the outside world and a private internal network. Managed firewall services provide 24/7 continuous monitoring, and next-generation firewalls use automated technology to detect and stop threats.
Endpoint security protects data and devices such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and more. With employees working remotely and utilizing different Wi-Fi networks, endpoint security is especially important when team members are outside the physical office. Endpoint security helps protect software, applications, and files from every device your employees might use.
Domain name system security protects your domain names from cybercriminals directing users to a fraudulent website. DNS attacks are one of the most painful for businesses, costing roughly $942,000 in damages when cybercriminals hack your users and overload your systems.
Managed Detection and Response
Managed Detection and Response is a must-have for businesses, as these services work with both humans and technology to detect and mitigate threats. Technology monitors for unusual or suspicious activity, automatically detects it, and then triggers a series of responses. All of this can happen during offline hours or without the oversight of a human employee, keeping your business safe 24/7.
Cloud Disaster Recovery
Cloud disaster recovery proactively replicates and hosts servers and data in a third-party location in case of a cyberattack. If a breach occurs, systems and data are not affected, and the business can get back up and running sooner. Compared to traditional on-site backups, cloud-based servers are often more protected and offer increased reliability and flexibility for businesses.
User security encompasses employee best practices through security awareness training and tools like Managed Inbox Detection and Response. These programs work together to educate employees on potential threats and consistently reinforce good cybersecurity habits. This proactive measure enables employees to be the first line of defense.
Cyber Awareness Training
Cyber awareness training continuously educates team members on growing threats and consequences and helps heighten your company’s overall cyber education. It helps increase productivity, protect your business against cybercrime, and potentially preserve your business reputation while lowering your costs and liabilities.
How Your Cybersecurity Strategy Changes Based on Your Industry
While there are basic components to every cybersecurity strategy, depending on your industry, you might have specialized regulations if you’re dealing with healthcare data, credit card information, operating in specific regions, and more. Pay close attention to regulatory bodies in your industry, as some organizations might require specific security protocols.
Healthcare organizations are required to comply with HIPAA to keep patient data secure. Healthcare businesses are one of the biggest targets of cybercriminals due to the sensitive nature of their patient data. Also, healthcare data is incredibly attractive to criminals, as it is almost 50 times more valuable than credit card information. Criminals can sell and re-sell healthcare data multiple times with little chance of detection.
While you might think that as a small business, you fly under the radar of cybercriminals, the opposite is actually true. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study, 43% of attacks are focused on small businesses, as they often don’t have the resources, strategy, or protocols to build a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. Small business cybersecurity is critical, as these stakes for smaller organizations are incredibly high.
Retailers access and store a variety of payment information, such as credit card details, addresses, bank account numbers, and more. Through PCI compliance, retail businesses need strong cybersecurity to prevent attackers from accessing financial information. TPx recently received Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliance to better support industry best practices and provide leading protection for organizations.
Financial organizations have always been a target of cyberattacks because of the large sums of money they work with daily. With the expansion of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and FTC Safeguards Rule to further protect consumer information, your business might be considered a “financial institution.” New regulatory changes require any business dealing with financial data to have cybersecurity strategies and programs in place that align with the revised Safeguards Rule. This now includes businesses like mortgage brokers, motor vehicle dealers, and more to develop, implement, and maintain a robust information security program.
Let TPx Build Your Unique Cybersecurity Plan
Your business is unique and needs a specialized plan of protection. TPx, a leading managed IT security company, combines best-in-class technology from dozens of vendors, all within a single provider with decades of expertise. By starting with security advisory services, our team can assess your current security posture and create a customized plan to cover your unique vulnerabilities and any industry-specific regulatory compliance.
TPx provides the most advanced security strategies and solutions, protecting businesses with guaranteed performance, best-in-class technology, and the utmost customer care.
By partnering with TPx, you get experienced cyber security professionals who know exactly how to design and maintain your cyber awareness training program. Learn the details by connecting with TPx below today.
Start building your cybersecurity strategy today.
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