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Four Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Your Company

According to the recently released 2014 Cost of Data Breach Global Analysis report by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach to a company increased by 15% this year to $3.5 million dollars. With costs continually increasing and cyber threats growing exponentially, companies can no longer afford to avoid the issue of cybersecurity. So, how can you best prepare your company for a cyber-attack? As with most business risks, taking a proactive approach is typically best.

Identify Your Risks. It is impossible to create a suitable defense against cyber-attacks unless you have a clear understanding of your risks. Performing a Security Risk Assessment focused specifically on security threats will help you identify your potential risks, determine the probability of an occurrence and gauge the potential impact on your business. As with any risk assessment, this is not a set-it and forget-it process. Cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving, so it is important to update your risk analysis on a regular basis.

Develop Your Defense. Now that you’ve identified your potential security risks, it’s time to start the risk mitigation process to eliminate (when possible) or reduce the likelihood of compromising your data. Organizations can choose one of four options: transfer, accept, limit or avoid a risk. A company may choose to transfer the risk to a third party by obtaining security insurance, essentially transferring either whole or partial responsibility for a security risk. If the cost to transfer a risk is too great, the risk should be limited or reduced as much as possible. For example, installing antivirus, spamware and a firewall will limit access to your network and reduce the possibility of a network breach. If a threat is particularly high risk or high cost, it may be best to avoid the risk altogether. Lastly, if the threat is relatively low, a company may choose to simply accept the potential risk.

Allocate the Appropriate Resources. In IT, we are constantly asked to do more with less financial and employee resources. When money is tight, resources are typically allocated towards the most profitable areas of the business, leaving little room for preventative non-revenue generating tasks such as security. However, the increasing costs of a data breach and potential damage to a company’s reputation mean that cybersecurity can no longer be placed on the back burner. It is imperative for organizations to allocate the appropriate resources to protect their information assets and their customer’s data against a cybersecurity threats.

Implementation and Follow-up. Now that you’ve determined the tactics and resources needed to create your cyber defense, the final step in this process is to follow through with implementation. Make sure to communicate changes to the appropriate staff, perform any training needed and test any new technology adopted as part of the plan. Lastly, make sure to follow-up and re-evaluate your plan to identify any new trends or threats facing your company.

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