Cyber security comprises everything that is related to protecting information that’s stored on an electronic network, such as sensitive data, personally identifiable information, protected health information, intellectual property and industry information systems. The threat to cyber security continues to increase as individuals and organizations adopt online systems, like the cloud, to store sensitive and confidential data. In fact, according to CSO United States, the average cost of a data breach in North America was $1.3 million for enterprises and $117,000 for small and medium-sized businesses, with these numbers expected to rise in the coming years. As the importance of cyber security grows, organizations have begun to invest more resources into IT security, increasing their budgets by nearly two percent. While the threat against organizations might seem far-fetched, the potential of a cyber-attack has become an everyday risk.
Cyber Security Threats
While the term cyber security is used to describe the general health of an organization’s system, keeping it secure is much more complex. There are a number of ways a system can be compromised. Here are a few of the most popular cyber security threats that face organizations today.
A data breach occurs when any sensitive information is accessed by an outsider of the organization, whose purpose is to use the data to exploit the organization or for personal gain. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Report, nearly 93 percent of all investigated data breaches could be traced back to an employee. While some employees might be misusing their credentials intentionally, many employees put their organization’s cyber security at risk by falling for phone or email scams, phishing attempts, or using their own devices that are not protected against cyber security threats.
Cyber attacks can often be prevented by staying current with software program updates and fixing security bugs as soon as they are detected. Healthcare organizations are a growing target for hackers because they oftentimes use connected devices to track and store confidential medical information. The growing use of IoT innovations in healthcare facilities put them at risk of cyber attacks because many of these technologies are new and security methods are still being developed.
These types of attacks are extremely popular and can be very costly for an organization. A ransomware attack occurs when hackers enter an organization’s system, usually when an employee clicks on a phishing email or dangerous link, and encrypts sensitive documents, ultimately causing all files to be inaccessible to system users. Usually hackers will alert the organization and demand a financial reward in return for the encryption key to remove the ransomware.
While the threats against cyber security are numerous and can have a lasting financial impact, there are many ways to protect your organization from potential risk.
Cyber Insurance and Third Party Vendor Risk
Cyber insurance is a good option for large organizations that store highly sensitive information on their database. Essentially, cyber insurance is a sub-category of traditional insurance that covers both businesses and individuals against Internet risk and liability. There are various levels of coverage that can protect you from breaches and theft while also covering legal fees and costs associated with repairing systems or recovering lost data.
Many cyber insurers have different vendors and firm options available. Before purchasing a contract, you might consider contacting a representative to discuss your best options. Breach coaches are oftentimes your first point of contact when a data breach occurs. They will help walk you through the process and identify next steps in the event of a cyber attack. It’s important to get to know your breach coach even before an incident or attack occurs.
Educate Employees and Provide Cyber Security Risk Training
Because so many attacks often involve employee participation, it’s important to educate them on the risk of cyber attacks and what they can do to keep the organization safe. You might consider offering training on phishing scams, prohibit the use of personal devices on the organization’s network, and require passwords to be changed regularly and include Alpha-numeric characters, special characters, caps and numbers. In addition to training, organizations should seriously consider installing virus protection and malware to protect themselves from ransomware and other attacks.
Implement User Policies
Threats against an organization’s cyber security can increase when users have access to information and data that they don’t need. Data mapping allows you to know what’s on your system, what could be missing, and can help you identify items that do not need to be accessible to every user. In addition, an organization might consider removing remote access and RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to decrease the threat of an outside attack.
As technology use continues to increase in major industries, the threat on cyber security is estimated to rise. In addition to financial hardship, organizations can also face legal trouble when a breach or attack occurs. Utilizing best practices can help you secure your cyber system and avoid financial and legal liability.