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5 ways to protect your organization against cyberattacks


Large corporations are not the only targets that cybercriminals have in their sights; unfortunately, mid-size and even smaller entities are increasingly becoming victims of cyberattacks. Ensure your organization has the appropriate security controls in place to help protect your valuable corporate and customer data, and mitigate the chance of becoming the next cyberattack headline. Consider taking the following steps to strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity defenses:

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Despite your organization’s industry or size, it likely possesses information that is valuable to a hacker. Inventory your sensitive information and understand who has access to it, including employees and vendors. Understand the reputational and financial impacts to your organization if this information were exploited. Ensure the proper controls are in place to secure sensitive data.

  2. Build security awareness into your organizational culture. Many employees become unknowing contributors when they do something as innocent and simple as click on a link in an email message that appears to come from an internal team member or outside vendor, and thus activate a malware attack. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly crafty in the techniques they use to break into networks. They may target officials in human resources, purchasing and other departments who may be less aware of risks they face from intrusions. Organizations need to communicate and conduct frequent and recurring educational sessions to alert employees to the various techniques cybercriminals use and build an awareness of these risks into their corporate culture.

  3. Make cybersecurity assessment a continuous process. Every time a network changes, organizations face the possibility of introducing new risks to their systems. Adding a router, replacing a server or implementing new software can create vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit. Organizations need to understand these vulnerabilities, and perform periodic risk assessments to identify areas of weakness, develop incident response plans, and keep those plans current by revisiting risk assessments whenever networks change. And when an incident occurs, organizations should go back and reevaluate why they missed a particular risk. Cybersecurity assessment should be a continuous learning cycle.

  4. Take control. Implementing the right security controls can help deter hackers and other criminals, but each type of internal control requires its own focus. Preventive controls keep incidents from occurring and deter unauthorized access. However, with technology, such as the cloud and remote access, organizations must expand controls beyond traditional boundaries.Detective controls help to monitor and alert the organization of malicious and unauthorized activity. Corrective controls are designed to limit the scope of an incident and mitigate unauthorized activity.

  5. Turn your vendors into partners. Know the policies and practices of organizations that have access to your corporate or customer data. Responsibility and liability don't end once the information handoff has occurred. Partner together to protect sensitive information.

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