A compromised password crippled the largest fuel pipeline in the United States. A few weeks later, cybercriminals attacked the world’s largest meat company and shut down nine of its plants. The organizations paid millions of dollars to regain control of their businesses. […]
As cybercrime becomes more complex and dangerous, companies are challenged to rethink their security measures. An important step towards greater security is the integration of security policies and procedures into business processes. In addition to technical security functions for protection as well as the monitoring and identification of threats, it is equally important that employees also understand their role in protecting against suspicious activities. Skillsoft, in collaboration with cybersecurity specialist StoneTurn, has put together five steps to better prepare for and deal with security attacks.
Preparation from a technical point of view
In preparation for possible security threats and attacks from the network, in addition to appropriate tools, supporting guidelines for risk reduction should be developed and “worst-case scenarios” should be played through.
A comprehensive overview of the IT infrastructure and the database (data map) is the basis for effective response plans in the event of security incidents. It should provide a detailed overview of the company’s IT systems, including its backup solutions. This enables affected systems to be identified more quickly and backups to be provided more efficiently in order to reduce data loss and interruptions in business processes.
While cyber incidents are not entirely preventable, protection policies and procedures provide companies with an additional layer of defense. For example, implementing network separation, zero trust policies for third-party software, and advanced detection and response controls are proactive measures that organizations can take to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
Employee awareness as a key element
A report by Statista shows that the main causes of ransomware attacks in 2020 were phishing emails, improper use by users, lack of cybersecurity knowledge, and weak passwords and access practices. New vulnerabilities were added by remote and hybrid workstations.
Its employees are thus virtually the first line of defense of a company against cyber attacks. Hackers rely on employees to accidentally click on a link or download one of their malicious programs to successfully install their ransomware. However, security-conscious employees can prevent a cyber incident long in advance.
Since cyber attacks are constantly evolving, it is important to raise awareness and train employees on this issue on a regular basis. Such training should be easily accessible to all employees, regardless of the place of work.
Training for threat scenarios
Training the company-wide responses to a cyber attack, especially against ransomware, can significantly reduce the impact of the incident and help companies avoid headlines. Preparing for threat scenarios can help understand that responding to a cyber incident – from identification to reporting-requires collaboration across the enterprise. It can also identify and address gaps in the response plan before an actual attack takes place.
Cyber attacks do not take place in a vacuum or are limited to certain areas of the company. As a result, organizations need to train nearly every department on their security policies and procedures to effectively respond to cyber incidents. A cross-functional team involving departments such as investor relations, communications, legal, marketing and sales should meet regularly to coordinate, train and improve security measures. This will help identify and assign responsibilities, inform teams of escalation points for various crisis scenarios, and identify vulnerabilities.
Analysis and reaction
Companies will continue to face cyber threats and attacks in the future. In addition to security programs with robust infrastructure, trained staff and cross-departmental support, analyzing and understanding the reasons for a cyberattack is also critical to prevent future security breaches. In addition, a company’s professional response to a security incident can help minimize reputational damage and improve communication with customers.
Working with an independent third party can accelerate the restoration of normal business operations after a cyber incident. External experts can be helpful in providing objective security to customers and stakeholders, improving policies and procedures to avoid similar attacks, and navigating the required reporting.
“According to forecasts, the damage from cyber attacks is expected to increase to $ 6 trillion this year. Therefore, the detection of security vulnerabilities as well as the preparation and response in the event of attacks are on the priority list of many security officers,“ explains Andreas Rothkamp, VP DACH Region at Skillsoft. “However, corporate security cannot only be implemented in IT departments. It is therefore important to extend responsibilities to other areas of the company, so that employees are included as a key factor for safety and defensive measures also apply throughout the company in everyday work.“