In a recent article, Forbes cited a study by Lloyd and Juniper that estimated the cost of preventing cyber attacks globally “is expected to rise from $400 billion to $2.1 trillion by 2021.” Given that this is just the cost of prevention, what does the cost look like when prevention is inadequate? As CNBC noted, “In 2017, data breaches cost companies an average of $3.6 million globally,” then went on to observe, “For smaller businesses especially, that price tag could wipe out the entire firm.” Your first line of defense isn’t infrastructure or software, however. As Ambit IT knows all too well, it’s your employees.
Why Employees are Your Cybersecurity Achilles Heel
Let’s start from the assumption that your employees are dedicated to their jobs, your company, and your mission. They’re good people — you wouldn’t have hired them otherwise. But a combination of human nature and human vulnerability leaves your employees open to everything from phishing attacks to social engineering and hacking. It’s not enough to harden your servers and the different SaaS products with which you interact; you also need to harden your human assets against attack. How do you do that?
Conduct a Cybersecurity Audit
You can’t fix what you cannot see. It doesn’t pay to assume you’re protected, nor does it help to address problems as they come up — by then, it’s already too late. Begin by conducting a comprehensive IT security audit that accounts for your current processes, policies, and infrastructure. You’re likely to find some glaring omissions in at least one — if not all — of these areas. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; understanding the problem now is a significant first step toward fixing your cybersecurity vulnerabilities before catastrophe strikes. We can follow up with a full battery of cyber security services.
Devise Security Policies
Just as you need to be aware of your company’s risk profile, your employees also need to know their role in your business’s cybersecurity. The clearer your policies in this respect, the better. Consider each of the following:
- Strong passwords that are difficult to crack
- Privacy settings applied across employees’ social media accounts (a corporate social media policy also helps)
- Effective phishing detection
- Frequent antivirus and software security updates
- Secure storage and file transfer systems
- Secure use of portable devices and portable media storage
- Open lines of communication with your internal IT staff or managed information technology provider about lost or stolen devices, errors, or suspicious activity
The nature of cyber threats is constantly changing. To keep pace, you need to be at least as vigilant, agile, and persistent as your attackers. That means keeping yourself and your team — whether you’re a three-person office or a company that employs hundreds across multiple locations — on top of the latest trends and best practices. We are uniquely equipped to address both sets of challenges; we can safeguard your IT security, but we can also help with the equally vital work of making your employees an integral part of your cybersecurity defenses instead of a potential source of trouble. To see how we can assist you, contact Ambit IT today to inquire about our full range of managed IT services.