By Megan Nichols, Technical Writer and Editor at Schooled By Science.
Today’s landscape is one where enterprises cannot afford to ignore risks and losses stemming from failures to stop a cyber threat. However, some leaders need encouragement with getting on board with cybersecurity best practices. Here are some crucial things IT professionals should cover as they confirm the importance of detecting and addressing vulnerabilities proactively.
Discuss How Good Cybersecurity Could Prevent Catastrophes
Many people have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude about cybersecurity. They know criminals genuinely operate online but find it hard to envision being the target of their carefully orchestrated attacks.
Internet security professionals should tie cybersecurity into the other safeguards a company implements. For example, a leader wouldn’t dream of leaving the building unlocked when going home for the night. Choosing weak passwords is the internet equivalent of doing that, especially since people who reuse them could give cybercriminals access to multiple platforms at once.
It’s also ideal if IT experts mention that internet safeguards remain within a business’s control. A 2017 survey of small businesses showed that 39% of owners felt responsible for cybersecurity issues affecting their companies. The same study indicated that only 5% of respondents felt fully secure against attacks.
You can set accurate expectations for business owners by clarifying they cannot expect to prevent every kind of attack. However, it’s feasible to stop many of them by enacting robust strategies. Suggest conducting periodic cybersecurity audits that illuminate where weak points exist and how to remedy them. When security professionals speak confidently about how strong defenses make sense for a company’s prosperity, leaders should be more likely to embrace such measures.
Stress the Value of Training
A company’s workforce directly contributes to its success. Employees could also affect a company’s future through their unwitting involvement in cybersecurity issues. Recent research revealed that 43% of workers in the United States and the United Kingdom made errors that caused cybersecurity repercussions for themselves or their companies.
The report indicated that clicking on a link in a phishing email or sending an email to the wrong person were two common blunders employees made. Moreover, errors happened more frequently when people were stressed, tired, distracted or working quickly.
Business owners can invest in cyber threat reduction by learning about the most likely ways workers commit cybersecurity shortcomings. Planning relevant training to reduce those problems could pay off over time by making the workforce better-equipped to play a collective role in minimizing messes.
Mention how real-world tests — such as sending an email with a strange attachment and seeing how many employees download it — could highlight the best areas of focus for upcoming training sessions. Point out how business owners should not seek to punish people who make honest mistakes during their work. The better approach is to assess why the errors happened and how education could help.
Suggest File Backup Strategies Within a Cybersecurity Plan
When even one person does not have access to a necessary file, productivity can plummet. That’s why company leaders need to take ransomware risks seriously. Data collected in 2019 showed that 28% of breaches involved ransomware. Since those attacks can lock down whole networks, many affected businesses resort to pen-and-paper recordkeeping and agonize over whether to pay the ransom and hope to restore access.
Speak to company leaders about the most effective ways to back up files and how often to do it. Help them weigh the pros and cons of using cloud-based versus physical solutions and explain how backing up files eases the urgency people often feel after experiencing ransomware attacks.
Clarify that backing up files is only one useful aspect of an all-encompassing cybersecurity framework. This strategy helps businesses recover faster from some types of attacks but does not help fight back against possible infiltrations.
You could have conversations about how file backups help companies beyond offering a workaround from cybercriminals’ efforts to thwart businesses, too. For example, if people have vital files backed up to the cloud, they can access them anywhere, saving time and improving output.
Emphasize How Strong Cybersecurity Bolsters Reputation
Most company leaders know the importance of giving stakeholders the impression that they’re forward-thinking, stable and ready to tackle whatever the future holds. What they may not realize right away is that disclosures about cybersecurity risk management strategies can make enterprises more attractive to potential investors.
One study showed that people viewed companies more favorably when those entities publicized their cybersecurity strategies. More specifically, one group of participants got details about what a company did to stay resilient against cyber threat scenarios. They then heard that a competing company suffered a breach. Knowing about each businesses’ cybersecurity efforts made the former company more appealing both before and after people heard about the competitor’s misfortune.
It’s also worthwhile to connect customer trust and a company’s ability to avoid internet-based attacks. As news of cyber vulnerabilities reaches media headlines, people become more aware of how easy it is to lose valuable and personal data. They could do business with a company with unpatched entry point, then hear days, months or years later that an unknown party stole their details.
When a company makes it evident that cybersecurity is a constant priority, people will feel more confident about giving their money and loyalty to that enterprise. Talk to business owners about how advanced screening tools could learn network anomalies and alert security teams to problems. Explore the possibility of sharing new cybersecurity dangers with industry peers, too. Statistics showed 94% of IT professionals would divulge threat intel if doing so led to improved detection on a collective scale.
Strive for Ongoing Cyber Threat Awareness
Besides implementing the internet security measures mentioned here, ensure company owners understand that any cybersecurity plan should serve as an adaptable document. New dangers arrive regularly, and businesses must stay abreast of them to improve their chances of conquering those challenges.
Megan R. Nichols is a Technical Writer and Editor of Schooled By Science. She regularly explores how technology is impacting science and engineering disciplines. Follow Megan on Twitter @nicholsrmegan.