Cybersecurity is a topic that people in business are keen on. The fact that a ‘tiny’ loophole in security protocols can have a crippling effect on even the most established brands is nerve-wracking. From facing litigation to loss of customer loyalty, and a possible shut down of business operations, the burden of a security breach is not something many small business owners can handle.
This article will look at the intricacies of cybersecurity, including what it entails, compromise assessment, and prevention.
What is a cyber attack?
A cyber attack is any unauthorized access to company servers with the sole intention of paralyzing operations or stealing confidential company and client data.
Types of Cybersecurity Threats
There are four types of cybersecurity threats.
Allow me to expound.
Malware is harmful software that is downloadable to your computer system without your authorization. It tampers with your computer and deletes, replicates, steals, or corrupts stored data.
Phishing is a scam that involves sending e-mails to unsuspecting internet users with the sole aim of tricking them into giving away their personal information. The e-mails have attachments and links that require a user to download or click on them. Once you access them, hackers gain access to your sensitive information.
3. Brute-force attack
Brute-force is an attack where a hacker uses trial-and-error techniques to gain access into another person’s account. Once hackers identify a target, they try different password combinations to access the victim’s computer or account. Despite using bots to do the hard work, it is a pretty tiresome process and not as popular as phishing and malware.
4. Credential stuffing
Credential stuffing attacks happen when hackers steal credentials and use them to gain access to user accounts. Since many people reuse passwords, hackers can gain entry into multiple accounts using a single password. Once they get hold of this information, they can carry out fraudulent activities and misuse the data.
Cybersecurity Audits: Your First Line of Defence Against Breach of Systems
Cybersecurity audits are a series of processes used by auditors to test your computer network, bringing clarity into how vulnerable your systems are to cyber-attacks. It is a proactive measure that anticipates threats.
There are various reasons why cybersecurity audits are essential to businesses.
- It helps companies flag vulnerabilities in systems
- It helps identify possible threats, both internal and external
- Put appropriate security measures in place to minimize the chances of attacks
- It helps in determining the impact a threat is likely to have on the company
- Enlightens the company on different ways to respond in case of a threat
- Continuous monitoring of the systems and security measures in place, making the necessary upgrades when the need arises.
How Auditors Perform Cybersecurity Assessments
For a cybersecurity audit, you can either go to a third-party service provider or conduct an internal audit. Either way, audits are a great way companies can arm themselves with the necessary weapons to fight an attack successfully, safeguarding essential data.
External audits entail performing complex processes to uncover vulnerabilities in the company’s network. They are typically done once or twice a year. However, companies can conduct easy internal audits to ensure their security protocols are functional and running as required.
To conduct an internal audit, here are four steps to get you started.
Review of current plans
The first step in reviewing your company’s security is to check all the plans currently in place. Look at whether the policies are current and ensure all the procedures put in place fit their purpose.
2. Assess your risks
Since businesses are continually evolving, it is essential to reassess the current vulnerabilities to see if additional risks have cropped up since the last audit. If you terminated employment contracts, added hardware, software, or third-party data storage, you need to add these new risks to your planning documents.
3. Check the security standards
After assessing each plan, consider whether the plans in place still meet the recommended security standards.
4. Assess whether the plans in place are actionable
The final assessment comes down to whether the plans in place can be used in the event of an emergency data breach. Weigh-in to see if the employees have the necessary skills to mitigate the crisis. This is a crucial part of the risk assessment as it provides valuable insight into how quickly and easily the company can manage the situation.
How to Prepare For an External Cybersecurity Audit
As much as cybersecurity audits are essential, it is not uncommon for companies to be unprepared for one. Preparing for audits ensures efficiency in the process, making the task less cumbersome for the auditors.
Here are the tips to prepare for an audit.
Let us delve into specifics.
1. Create a network chart
Create a chart that shows all the systems in your network. By giving them a structural drawing of your network, the auditor starts the assessment process sooner, saving time.
2. Review your information security policy
A company’s information security policy outlines each employee’s responsibilities in handling sensitive data. It shows who has authorization to which company data.
3. Go over the scope of work beforehand
The importance of clearly defining the scope of work with your auditor before the D-day is of the utmost importance as it allows the company to know the project’s accurate costs. It also makes it easier for the auditor to know which resources and tools they will use, helping them prepare beforehand.
4. Ask the auditor what they need
The auditor is a visitor to the company. They do not know the security protocols and may need someone well-versed with the systems in place to take them through the company’s entire network. Ask the auditor if there are any documents they need for an effective cybersecurity audit. Doing this earlier not only ensures an efficient auditing process, but also gives the business owner enough time to collect all the necessary documents, tools, and resources.