All across the commercial, industrial, healthcare, education and government sectors, cybersecurity has become a chief concern among managers and directors. Due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, many businesses have been targeted by hackers or been subject to data breaches. Consider the following alarming statistics from cyberthreat reports and data breach studies:
- Almost one-third of U.S. businesses reported experiencing a breach within this past year.
- The average cost per data breach in 2017 was in excess of $3 million USD — with the average number of compromised records per breach rising to 24,000.
- In a survey of nearly 3,000 IT professionals, more than 75 percent reported that they did not have a formalized plan within their organization for responding to a cybersecurity breach.
- In 2017, the average time it took an organization to identify a data breach was a little over six months: 191 days, to be precise.
With so much at stake in terms of your company’s security, finances and reputation, it is crucial to have an enterprise cybersecurity program in place to safeguard vital data.
How Does Enterprise Cybersecurity Differ From Traditional Cybersecurity?
Ask any senior IT professional how enterprise cybersecurity differs from traditional cybersecurity, and you’re bound to get an answer that illustrates the complexities of today’s enterprise-wide IT solutions. The truth is that the days of simply building a firewall around your on-premise IT hardware and saying you’ve got your cybersecurity well in hand are well behind us.
Granted, today’s cyberattacks still come mostly from outside the enterprise. Nevertheless, 25 percent of breaches are currently caused by careless employees or, worse, malicious insiders. In addition, most companies now have an IT infrastructure that’s a complex mix of legacy systems, new applications and public or private cloud-based solutions.
What is Enterprise Cybersecurity?
Enterprise cybersecurity is a more complex solution that takes the age-old premise of cybersecurity and extends it to all levels of modern-day business computing. Whereas the old methods of cybersecurity were conceived to protect data on the local front, enterprise cybersecurity strategies are designed to safeguard data as it travels between distant wireless devices and onto cloud servers.
This means that enterprise cybersecurity involves protecting your company’s on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure as well as vetting third-party providers and securing the expanding number of endpoints connected to your network via the Internet of Things (IoT).
Why Is Enterprise Cybersecurity So Important?
When was the last time you went a week without hearing news of a major data breach? And those are just the breaches that are reported! Yet, with the IoT poised to connect more than 50 billion devices by 2020, there’s no business out there that isn’t looking to increase both its collection and analysis of data — despite the growing security risk.
Simply put, data is the currency of the future. Businesses need it to both engage with their customers and to automate their internal processes. But cybercriminals understand exactly how valuable data is — that’s why everything from ransomware to phishing is on the rise. It’s also why you want to remain vigilant about training your employees concerning how to avoid the most common mistakes that can lead to cybersecurity issues.
When cybersecurity breaches occur, the results of these incidents can be costly and devastating to businesses. Yet, as we’ve seen, there’s no longer an easily defined perimeter to protect. Put all of this together, and the need for robust enterprise cybersecurity grows in direct proportion to the technical innovations that allow businesses to grow and be more mobile and location-diverse.
Enterprise Security Checklist: What 5 Things Should Be Completed Now?
To initiate an enterprise cybersecurity program, there are five basic tasks that your company must complete as soon as possible. Each task is designed to render your organization safe yet ready to face the challenges posed toward cybersecurity in the 2020s:
1. Define Your Boundary
To ensure the cybersecurity of your organization, you must have a set of boundaries in place at both the local and virtual levels. In your computing infrastructure, a boundary serves as the protective shield around an information asset, such as the vulnerable data that you would store on a local hard drive or cloud server.
Boundaries have become an issue of increased importance since the rise and spread of cloud computing and the IoT. Before the arrival of cloud, boundaries were set at the local level. When it came to the protection of information assets, you would hire IT staff to oversee the storage, backup and transfer of valuable data.
Today, you must also have boundaries in place to safeguard information as it passes from your local system to a third-party cloud server. A boundary must be established for each type of transferable data from all conceivable points of transfer. For example, if you have a team of employees who connect on your company’s computing system from different locations, the devices that they use to download, open, edit, transfer and upload private company data must be protected from all possible methods of interception.
2. Define Your Software Environment
The second component of enterprise information security that goes hand-in-hand with the definition of boundaries is the definition of your company’s software environment. Basically, you must define the purpose and policies regarding each type of software used within your company’s computer system. If a software program is out of date or serves no purpose within your company’s computing framework, it should be removed from the system.
If your organization has a large workforce, there are bound to be dozens, if not hundreds of employees with varying levels of access to the company computer system. If people are connecting from a range of stationery and mobile computing devices, these same devices might also contain programs that could pose a threat to the software environment of your company via automatic scripts and viruses. When you define the environment, you determine what types of software can and cannot come into contact with your company’s network.
To properly maintain your software environment, always install the latest updates and patches and have your devices scanned regularly for viruses. Hold training sessions among your staff to ensure that everyone is up to speed on the latest programs and protocols.
3. Harden Your Network Assets
After you define the boundaries and software environment of your computing network, the next step is to harden the assets within the network. This means that any hardware device or software program that physically or remotely connects to your system should be sealed off from possible interference, data leaks or unauthorized access.
To harden your computing assets, each component within the system must be inspected and tested for its strength and vulnerability. If a third party could compromise a particular device, it needs to be reprogrammed or removed from the system. Likewise, if a software program of cloud protocol could expose private data to cyber thieves, these issues must be rectified as soon as possible.
While it is crucial to make your network as secure as possible, you will also want to make sure that your system components can still function as needed for your company’s operations. In some cases, companies will restrict their hardware and software for maximum safety but have connectivity issues as a result.
4. Assess Vulnerability and Implement a Remediation Plan
Even in the most hardened and up-to-date networks, endpoint security can sometimes be compromised by vulnerabilities within a software program. This is largely due to the tenacity of cyber thieves, who are constantly looking for ways to find holes in the latest program updates and security patches. It is, therefore, crucial to beat these cyber thieves at their game and always stay several steps ahead.
To minimize potential vulnerability in your system, you must have a management and remediation plan that can be implemented at a moment’s notice. The moment a security risk or system hole is discovered within your company’s computing network, your team should be prepared to patch things up as quickly as possible.
One of the most troubling aspects of data breaches is the length of time that it typically takes an exposed organization to discover the problem. A company’s sensitive data could be open to hackers for as long as six months or more before the problem is discovered, causing immeasurable damage to the company’s finances and reputation. With an effective remediation plan, your team should be able to shorten the duration between the discovery and correction of a system breach.
5. Review Administrative Access Privileges Across the Enterprise
The fifth step to implement as part of your enterprise cybersecurity strategy is to seal off administrative access to all but the most vital functions of authorized personnel. In a company’s computing system, administrative access is the entrance point most sought after by hackers and cyber thieves. Therefore, it is crucial to review the current administrative access privileges among your staff and determine which individuals actually should have this type of access.
Perform an inventory of the individuals among your staff whose accounts have been granted administrative privileges. Does each of these individuals play a vital role in the administrative tasks of your enterprise? If any individual does not merit administrative access, curtail that person’s privileges. For those who do retain the privilege, administrative access should only be given when a vital administrative task must be performed. Otherwise, no one should be logged in to any administrative portal.
Consolidated Technologies, Inc. — Experience a New Level of Cybersecurity
As the threat and cost of cybercrime grows, so too does your need for a multi-layered cybersecurity strategy. At Consolidated Technologies, Inc., we’ve been successfully protecting businesses for more than 20 years. To speak with one of our security experts, fill out our contact form or call 1-888-477-4284 today.
Learn More about Cybersecurity: