Every business is at risk of a cyber-attack – including yours. While some industries are more at risk than others, no industry or business is safe. In fact, one study proved that hackers attack every 39 seconds. If you, your business, and your employees don’t perfectly follow proper cybersecurity measures, then you have a problem. A key thing to remember is that cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. You always need to be thinking about how you’re protecting your network. In the world of cybersecurity, we’re always dealing with new kinds of threats because they’re constantly evolving. Unfortunately, it’s not just a box you can check off and forget. You must constantly be monitoring and evaluating your environment and making changes when you see a hole.
No Business is Safe
At this point, you might be thinking that your business is too small or not interesting enough to capture the eye of potential hackers. This is just not true. Small businesses are the #1 target for hackers. In fact, nearly half of all cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses! They are the most vulnerable and, according to hackers, the perfect target. The average small business assumes they are “not worth being attacked” and spends less than $500 on cybersecurity. As a result, small businesses and their consumers are prone to credit card, social security, and identity theft. Healthcare, energy, and higher education industries are the next highest targeted industries for cyber attacks!
Another common misconception of security is that being compliant means you’re secure. With all the different HIPPA and PPI and different compliant requirements that companies have, it’s easy to assume that if you check off those boxes, you have a secure environment – but that is not the case. It is actually easier to be compliant than it is to be secure. Security takes, not only having the processes documented, but being diligent about following the processes and your end users have to be very well trained to be on the lookout for threats!
Finding the Proper Balance
Now that you know the risks involved, it’s critical that you understand one thing: security balance. Security balance matters because no security measure will serve your business or last in your business if it is not properly balanced by two important facets – functionality and usability. Finding a security balance is contingent on a perfectly even focus between security, functionality, and usability. As a simple example, have you ever been frustrated by multi-factor authentication? This is what is happening when you log into your email and you’re told that a code has been sent to your cell phone… which is in the other room.
Security measures that limit the functionality and usability of your equipment, experience, and software will result in an entirely different problem – slow, frustrating, and even impossible functionality. For cybersecurity to work, it has to be considerate of functionality, convenience, and the user experience.
The NIST of it All
The NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) Cybersecurity Framework helps eliminate cybersecurity threats and provide a security balance by creating standards, guidelines, and best practices specifically designed to address and resolve cybersecurity-related risks. This framework is made up of a critical cybersecurity continuum that protects against and prevents cyberattacks through proactive processes. Identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover is the framework NIST created at the direction of the White House. It’s meant to be simple, understandable, and comprehensive. The fact is, there isn’t one cybersecurity measure that will solve your security risks. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework considers individual tactics (like firewalls and MFAs) that work together to provide total cybersecurity. This is important to every business because, as stated earlier, every business is as risk – all the time.
How the Cybersecurity Framework Works on a Practical Level
At ABS, we follow the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and profess to a layered security approach: the idea that security isn’t just putting in a firewall and an antivirus. We believe that it is critical to understand how you protect your network, how you detect when something has gotten into the network, and how you respond once you have detected it. We value the NIST Cybersecurity Framework because of its proactive approach to cybersecurity and its flexibility of application to every industry and business, no matter the size or structure. It can be understood and appreciated at any level of technological expertise and it’s risk-based, which means it takes into consideration the probability of attack and value of the information available to determine the appropriate level of cybersecurity necessary for each individual business.
Lastly, it’s a living document, which means it’s always expanding and eliminating security measures and processes in order to create an ongoing security balance for those who continually follow the framework. We value your privacy and security – your business – and that’s why we strive to provide secure, proactive, and pain-free cybersecurity plans and processes for our clients. If you’re concerned about your business and the cybersecurity threats your business is facing, we are ready to help. Get a trusted IT partner who is on your side and ready to help – let’s talk today.