Why you need a cyber security strategy and what to include in it

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, cyber security remains a top concern for businesses across Australia and New Zealand. The Australian Cyber Security Centre warned in April 2020 that it observed an uptick in phishing and fraud campaigns in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Malicious actors have reportedly used fears surrounding the crisis to scam unsuspecting targets and expose them to harmful malware.

That is just the latest wrinkle for the cyber security community to deal with, making an already difficult job much harder. It's never been more important for businesses of all sizes to have a comprehensive cyber security strategy in place to protect their data. Taking the steps today to establish a robust security posture can save you a lot of time, money and stress later on.

Cyber crime packs a major financial punch

Many business leaders have a sense of false security when it comes to protecting business or customer data. They may think that their organisation is too small to draw the attention of cyber criminals, or believe that, since they haven't experienced a data breach, existing security measures are sufficient. In all likelihood, neither of those assumptions are true.

The world of cyber security moves fast, with new threats emerging on a daily basis. Accounting for every potential vulnerability and malware strain is a never-ending job, and businesses open themselves up to a costly data breach the second they grow complacent. Many organisations simply lack the internal expertise and resources to keep up with the latest threats, resulting in security lapses.

Cyber criminals know this, of course, and so they frequently target small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) because those businesses lack the data security firepower of larger companies.

All it takes is one data breach to wreak havoc on an organisation. Australia's Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, stated that cyber security events cost the nation's businesses as much as $29 billion every year. Once you factor in remediation expenses, security upgrades, regulatory penalties and reputational damage, it's easy to see how data breach costs can pile up that high.

Putting together a detailed cyber security strategy that accounts for as many scenarios as possible, including how to respond to data breaches, will help businesses prevent cyber attacks and minimise the impact of security incidents.

Cyber criminals continue to exploit vulnerabilities and security lapses.Cyber criminals continue to exploit vulnerabilities and security lapses.

What to include in your cyber security strategy

Businesses that have not made data security a priority in the past may find that there is a lot of ground to cover when laying out a cyber security strategy. That can be daunting, but working with an experienced vendor will help direct focus to the most important areas.

Security and patch management

As noted above, cyber criminals continually probe for new vulnerabilities to exploit and devise new malware strains to circumvent network defences. Zero-days are among the most pernicious threats facing businesses, because they can strike before cyber security experts have an opportunity to address them.

The best defence is to continually update IT systems and instal the latest security patches as soon as they become available. Businesses should also strongly consider retiring legacy systems that are no longer supported by the original manufacturers.

Data backup and disaster recovery

Ransomware is another threat that can cause a lot of damage to businesses. Malicious actors not only steal sensitive data, but encrypt it so the owners can no longer access it unless they pay a ransom. Since there's no guarantee files or records will be returned after payment, the best course of action is to have a backup plan.

Redundant data backup and disaster discovery strategies, with multiple failover sites and backup locations, allow companies to quickly retrieve lost, stolen or corrupted data with ease.

A redundant data backup plan can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.A redundant data backup plan can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.

Staff security training

Employees can be a business' best defence against data breaches, provided they can recognise the tell-tale signs of a cyber attack. Training staff to spot phishing attempts, follow sound password management methods and adhere to the latest cyber security best practices will prepare them to stop a breach attempt in its tracks.

Incident response plan

It's unrealistic to assume a business will never fall victim to a cyber attack or data breach. The difference between companies that bounce back from these events and those that suffer immensely often comes down to their incident response plan.

Creating a thorough plan that details precisely how to address a data breach helps reduce threat remediation time, comply with data privacy and protection requirements and minimise the total cost resulting from the security event.

Audit security capabilities

Businesses don't want to wait until after a data breach occurs to find out about security lapses. Routinely auditing cyber security tools and processes will highlight execution gaps and show stakeholders where improvements need to be made.

BizTech's security experts can help businesses determine where they need to upgrade their cyber security defences and protect themselves against harmful data breaches. Contact our team today to find out more about BizTech computer security services.