The year 2021 has put digital transformation at the forefront for all organizations. At the same time, it has highlighted the importance of cybersecurity. When it comes to business, the cost of cybersecurity isn’t just monetary. There are several other impact areas such as trust, reputation, legal hassles etc. Thus, it is important for organizations to remain alert and keep no loose ends that can be exploited by threat actors.
Below are the 7 most common mistakes organizations make when it comes to defending their assets from cyber adversaries and how to prevent them.
- Failing to update: Any software or device that is not updated is vulnerable to threats. The updates are not meant to just enhance the user experience but also fix security weaknesses. Thus, the IT/cybersecurity team must ensure that all the devices as well as software are being updated periodically to ensure that the latest security patches are in place to maximize the security.
- Not backing up your data: This is one of the worst mistakes that an organization can make. Imagine what would happen to your business if you lose your critical data such as financial information or customer data? Thus, always take regular backups and test those backups to ensure you can restore files in case of an attack. Consider the data back-up files as your investment. As they say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you would want to diversify them as much as possible to limit your exposure. Consider 3-2-1 rule for data backup i.e. there should be 3 copies of data, store 2 backups on different media and store 1 copy off-site.
- Failing to adequately train your staff: Several studies have highlighted the risk of untrained or unaware employees causing a security breach at their organization. The majority of data breaches occur due to human error, which means an employee unknowingly released sensitive information during an attack. This can be referred to as an insider threat and most organizations fall prey to such threats as they tend to focus more on external threats. While not all threats can be eliminated with awareness, the impact can be minimized to a great extent by conducting periodic trainings for the staff so that they can follow best cybersecurity practices.
- Trying to do it yourself: Trying to manage everything by yourself isn’t a good idea when it comes to a specialized job such as cybersecurity. This is not the place to cut corners. Instead, you should seek help from experts with specialized knowledge as well as the resources to build a robust cybersecurity architecture for you. The experts can also help you build a comprehensive security policy along with an employee awareness plan.
- Thinking cybersecurity is only an IT issue: Cybersecurity isn’t just an IT or a tech problem, it is a business problem. So, it isn’t the responsibility of IT team alone. It requires a holistic organizational approach from the leadership team to each and every employee. Although you can invest in cybersecurity but it’s difficult to secure all end-points, especially if the employees are working in a hybrid or remote environment. Thus, everyone needs to act responsibly to prevent an attack.
- Believing it won’t happen to you: When it comes to cybersecurity preparedness, it’s not about “if” but “when” an incident will occur. It is better to be prepared than to incorrectly assume that your organization can’t be attacked or is immune to an attack. Instead, there should be adequate investment to beef up the cybersecurity. There should be a robust security infrastructure in place including an incident response plan and a comprehensive cybersecurity policy. Further, there should be an investment into a cyber insurance policy to take care of the financial losses in case of an attack.
- Ignoring email security: Being one of the common channels of business communication, email is one of the most vulnerable to attacks. Many employees download attachments from unknown email addresses, which lead to serious security problems and compromise of sensitive data. Thus, adequate attention should be given to augment email security by means of anti-phishing, anti-spam, anti-virus, and content filtering tools.
Cybersecurity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. A cohesive top-to-bottom plan is what gives organizations the best chance to fortify themselves against the threat actors. The threat actors never sleep and they constantly improvise. Thus, an organization’s cyber defense mechanism must be tested, evaluated, and improved on a regular basis. While organizations can’t completely safeguard against cyberthreats, the above-mentioned common mistakes enable to prevent cyber-attacks to a great extent.