In the rapidly evolving world of technology and digitization, information security has become one of the biggest challenges for businesses. Protecting sensitive information and ensuring customer and employee privacy is critical, but surprisingly, many companies don't think about this until it's too late.
But why then are many companies still lagging behind when it comes to implementing effective information security measures? Sometimes information security has not been placed as high on the agenda because there is insufficient knowledge internally to make it discussable. It is also sometimes dismissed as a simple financial risk without substantive IT knowledge. But is it? Consider, for example, the following unnecessary expenses in such cases:
- Financial losses: Cyber attacks can lead to financial losses, such as stolen money, fraud, loss of payment information and other forms of financial loss.
- Restoration costs: Recovering systems and data after a cyberattack can be costly, including costs to restore damaged or compromised systems, restore data from backups, and implement enhanced security measures to prevent further attacks.
- Legal and regulatory costs: Companies may face legal costs such as fines, settlements, and court proceedings as a result of data breaches or other security breaches. They may also face regulatory costs, such as complying with notification obligations to data subjects or regulatory agencies.
- Reputational damage: A cyberattack can cause serious reputational damage, leading to loss of trust among customers, partners and investors. This, in turn, can lead to loss of sales and market share.
- Business downtime: As a result of a cyber attack, companies may be forced to temporarily shut down operations to investigate the attack, restore systems and improve security measures. This can result in lost productivity and revenue.
It is therefore more essential than ever for modern companies and organizations to be proactive, and to place information security high on the agenda. This prevents unpleasant (financial) situations. That right approach starts with the following 6 basic steps:
Establishing an information security policy: An information security policy should be developed and implemented to establish the basic principles and guidelines for information security within the company. This should take into account legal obligations, good business practice, industry requirements and requirements of partners in your chain. It must become clear what policy is to be pursued and whether additions should be made on top of this.
Incident Response Plan: Having a detailed incident response plan is critical to responding quickly and effectively to security incidents. This cannot wait until the first incident occurs. As soon as the calamity occurs, it should be possible to open a playbook that describes who is responsible for what, and what tasks must be performed immediately to handle the calamity correctly.
Regular risk assessment: Identifying and assessing information security risks is critical. An information security firm can conduct a comprehensive risk analysis and identify vulnerabilities to help the company take appropriate action to minimize risks. Security changes, as does risk. Therefore, update the policy and response plan regularly.
Employee awareness training: Employees are often the weakest link in information security. It is important to make employees aware of the risks and provide them with training and guidelines for safe behavior. Consider remote and flex workstations as well. And finally, what to do if devices and/or data are lost on the road. For one thing, this should be immediately obvious but it is also important that it is encrypted. Optionally, the data must be able to destroy it remotely or be self-destructing.
Regular backups: Regular backups of important systems and data are critical to recover from any security incidents or data loss. Making backups is also not enough. A backup is not a true backup until its recovery is also worked out. Regularly check the backups you have made and perform the restore to make sure they are working properly. Only then is your backup useful. This is often not completely in order.
Monitoring security incidents: Monitoring security incidents and responding to security alerts and notifications is critical. An information security company can implement and manage sophisticated security monitoring tools to detect and respond to suspicious activity. If you don't have visibility into what is happening then you cannot possibly respond appropriately as soon as it is needed. As a result, incidents often come to light too late.
These steps are the foundation of any modern integrated business strategy. Authentication policies, network and system security, patching, periodic audits and testing, as well as other related steps are also important. Therefore, pay attention to these as soon as possible once you have the above basics in place. Because information security is a highly technical field that enters your company or organization via IT, it is advisable to involve external security experts in your approach.
Working with an information security firm, businesses and organizations can ensure that their IT security is in order and proactively minimize risk and protect data from threats and attacks. Enlisting the expertise of an information security firm can help implement and maintain a robust and effective information security strategy.