The views expressed in this article are his own and not necessarily those of KPMG.
You might think that by filtering your content, having a firewall and having an antivirus, that you have done more than enough to protect your organisation from cyber-attacks. Well, if this were enough, why do we still have breaches? Why are customers and companies still being compromised by hackers in pursuit of their data?
Most businesspeople think they know what cyber security is, and not only that, they also think they have it. These individuals have a false sense of cyber security, and this in effect, puts their businesses at even greater risk.
In today’s world, having effective cyber security measures is as important as ever. With ever growing threats to businesses, having a robust security solution is essential.
Therefore, if the false sense of cyber security is ubiquitous, and filtering your content and having both a firewall and an antivirus installed is not enough. The question then becomes…
What is cyber security?
Cyber security can be defined as a practice of collective methods, technologies, and processes to help protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer systems, networks and data against cyber-attacks or unauthorized access. The main purpose of cyber security is to protect all organizational assets from both external and internal threats as well as disruptions caused due to natural disasters.
From this definition, what is important to note is that cyber security is a practice and not a one-off act; it must be something you build a discipline around.
Methods of managing cyber security
Today, cyber security threats find their way even through the best defences. The best option is to detect these threats early and stop them in their tracks. However, ensuring this is the case could come at a cost. In certain instances, a 24/7 operation centre, otherwise known as SOC, might be required.
- Security operation centre (SOC)
The function of a security operations team and, frequently, of a security operations centre (SOC), is to monitor, detect, investigate, and respond to cyberthreats around the clock. Security operations teams are charged with monitoring and protecting many assets, such as intellectual property, personnel data, business systems, and brand integrity. As the implementation component of an organization’s overall cybersecurity framework, security operations teams act as the central point of collaboration in coordinated efforts to monitor, assess, and defend against cyberattacks.
2. Installing a Firewall
There are so many different types of sophisticated data breaches and new ones surface every day, and some old ones even make comebacks.
If having a dedicated SOC is not feasible, then at a bare minimum, an organisation could consider having a firewall. Although a firewall by itself is not enough, putting your network behind one is one of the most effective ways to defend an organisation’s data from any cyber-attack. A firewall system will block any brute force attacks made on your network and/or systems before it can do any damage.
- Staff Training
You might have heard of the phrase, “Security” is not complete without ‘U’. This is actually very true, as one of the most common ways cyber criminals get access to an organisation’s data is through its employees. To this end, training employees on cyber-attack prevention and informing them of current cyber-attacks could be one of the most efficient ways to protect against cyber-attacks and all types of data breaches. Such trainings could in effect help save organisations from the financial consequences that these attacks could result in.
These trainings could be as basic as training staff in:
- Checking links before clicking them and checking the email addresses from the received email.
- Proceeding with caution before sending sensitive information. If a request seems odd, it probably is. It’s better to check via a phone call with the person in question before actioning on the “request”.
Cyber criminals may send fraudulent emails impersonating someone in your organisation and will either ask for personal details or for access to certain files. This is why employee awareness is vital.
Having different passwords setup for every application you use is a real benefit to your security and changing them often will maintain a high level of protection against external and internal threats.
5. Backing-up your data
In the event of a disaster (often a cyber-attack) you must have your data backed up to avoid serious downtime, loss of data and serious financial loss.
In a nutshell
Cyber threats are not only growing in number, but they are also more lethal and relentless, and coming at organisations from all directions, every second of everyday. The evolving sophistication of cyber threats requires a more equally evolved defence mechanism, one that has eyes and ears everywhere and can sort through the false alarms to zero in on real threats.
- What is Cyber security (definition)?
- What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?