For businesses to thrive in 2021 and beyond, they must adapt their business to a new, connected reality – but what many businesses don’t understand are the risks inherent in this new always on, always ready business environment of 2021. Cybersecurity (Cyber) is a term that is heard so often it can be difficult to discern what it really means and why your company should care about it. Breach here, breach there – it all becomes noise at some point. Compliance is a much simpler concept to understand, as it involves requirements dictated from authorities that you must adhere to or face potential fines or other penalties. But did you know some industries have cybersecurity compliance requirements?
So what is cybersecurity and how does it relate to my business? A strong cybersecurity program protects your business-critical documents, email systems, computers, cloud platforms, etc. from unauthorized access, theft or damage. An effective cybersecurity program not only protects your business, but it can protect the security and privacy of your customer’s information as well. Unfortunately, a mistake in protecting your customer or patient’s information can result in a data breach and shutter the confidence of your customers, while creating enormous reputational risk for your company.
Aren’t Compliance and Cybersecurity the same thing?
Compliance and cybersecurity are not the same, but they do overlap. It is possible for a company to be secure, but not compliant and vice-versa. If there is good alignment between the two functions, the result will be a company that is both secure AND compliant. Companies that operate in heavily regulated industries or provide services to the government often see security compliance requirements dictated in laws such as HIPAA, or referenced in contracts as required security practices from frameworks such as NIST 800-171 or CMMC. But these requirements can often be vague and lack specific guidance on implementation.
The Small Business Challenge
According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, credential theft, errors and social attacks are the three most common causes of breaches, and 28% of breaches involved small business victims. That should convince any business owner that cybersecurity is not something to take lightly. Most small businesses can significantly reduce their cyber risk by focusing on eight core practices.
- Use Secure Devices (computers, tablets and smartphones)
- Secure Your Connection (Use secure networks and use secure remote access methods)
- Secure Your Email (Use the security features of Office 365 and/or G Suite)
- Use Strong Authentication (Use 2-factor authentication whenever possible)
- Control Access (Make sure access is only given to those with a legitimate business need)
- Train Your Workforce (Educate staff on identifying and reporting potential security concerns)
- Be Ready for the Worst (Have contingency plans ready and test them)
- Monitor Compliance (Make sure you know and follow your regulatory obligations)
Where Does My Company Stand Regarding Cybersecurity?
Small businesses tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to cybersecurity. They typically lack a seasoned security leader, lack funding, and lack proper tools. Though many small businesses leverage IT service providers for support, those providers often lack the cybersecurity expertise to be able to accurately assess the organization’s cybersecurity risk, develop a comprehensive program, or monitor a security program over time.
Fortunately, some experienced cybersecurity leaders have decided to depart their corporate jobs for a more meaningful and impactful cause, offering their expertise part-time to smaller businesses in need. One such group of experts are available at Data Protection Partners.
Data Protection Partners can help guide you and reduce your compliance, security and privacy anxiety by performing the following functions on your behalf:
- Be your ongoing Security and/or Privacy Officer on an affordable, part-time basis
- Review, update or create necessary policies and procedures
- Respond to external inquiries regarding your security or privacy practices
- Assess your compliance to security and privacy regulations
- Guide and manage activities to remediate audit or
- Educate staff on privacy and security, and how to
recognize and report potential concerns
- Coordinate incident training exercises for your teams
Rest Easy with Data Protection Partners
Navigating the hype and risk around cybersecurity can be confusing and stressful. Designating a security contact is a good start, but effectively managing compliance, privacy and security requires expertise, and having an experienced leader at your fingertips can be invaluable. Leverage the experience of Data Protection Partners and rest easy knowing your company’s compliance, privacy and cybersecurity are in good hands. Contact us today at [email protected].