The importance of information security in your business

S5 Logic shares practical steps for businesses to bulletproof their cyber security. Information security is important to any organization - secure your company.

You've probably seen the phrase "data is the lifeblood of your organization" on every other cybersecurity-themed page you've visited. We're not going to do that here... Instead, we'd help you understand in practical terms, why your data (even as a small business) is so valuable to hackers, and how you can bulletproof your business going forward.

Before we get into the juice of this conversation, here's an unsettling statistic to take a second and think about...

On average, an employee of a small business with less than 100 workers will experience 350% more social engineering attacks (cyber attack via email - phishing attack) than an employee of a larger enterprise.

In today's digital world, businesses must take information security seriously

Vulnerability can not only be costly, but it can also damage your reputation and hinder your ability to compete. Let's take our primary inspiration from Sally; a front desk rep for an SMB somewhere in Atlanta...

Nothing major was going on at the office one Wednesday afternoon, so typical Sally was scrolling through her Instagram feed... Finally, a notification. She checked it out. "What's this about updating my employee profile?" Looked like the email was from her boss. It requested that she enter her login information for the company's financial system in order to update her employee profile. Without thinking twice, Sally complied and entered her credentials.

Little did she know, the email was actually sent by a group of hackers who had been monitoring the company's online activity. They quickly gained access to sensitive financial information and demanded a hefty sum of money in exchange for not releasing it to the public. Tragic.

Maybe... Just maybe if Sally had taken a moment to verify the authenticity of the email before responding, this entire situation could have been avoided. She could have checked with her boss or IT department to confirm the request, or simply looked closer at the sender's email address for any red flags.

This serves as a reminder to always be cautious when handling sensitive information and never rush into giving out personal details without proper verification. Had Sally simply exercised caution, the company would not have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to these ruthless hackers.

We hear stories like these every other day from businesses reaching out for cybersecurity on the East coast.  Here's a look at why information security is so important and what you can do to protect your business.

Firstly, what are the risks of a data breach?

A data breach occurs when sensitive, confidential, or protected information is accessed without authorization. This can happen when hackers gain access to your systems or when employees accidentally expose data. A security breach can have serious consequences for your business, your work, and confidential information, including:

Financial losses

A disruption of your privacy can result in financial losses for your business. This can include the cost of investigating and repairing the breach, as well as any legal fees and damages you may incur. In addition, you may lose customers and revenue if your reputation is damaged.

Losing to competition

Cyber attacks and ransomware attacks can give your competitors a leg up. They may be able to take advantage of your situation by offering lower prices or better terms. They may also be able to poach your customers if they lose faith in your ability to protect their data.

Reputational damage

One major reason why information security is important is that the moment security threats become actual attacks, your clients feel unsafe with your organization... They no longer trust you with their information, and this affects your core business integrity. This damage to your reputation also makes it difficult for you to attract new customers.

7 layers of cyber security that are important to protect your organization

Before we look at how to protect your business from malicious attacks, let's take a look at 7 unique layers of cyber security that are necessary to secure your organization's data. Implementing all seven layers of cyber security can help you protect your business from a wide range of threats. However, you should tailor your security measures to the specific risks you face...

1. Physical security

For some reason, many business executives underestimate security issues associated with an insecure environment. This layer includes measures to protect your computer systems and data from physical threats, avoiding malware. This can include things like security cameras, locks, and alarm systems.

2. Network security

Your organization's information is always flowing freely through your network, most information security threats come from the wide area network (WAN). This layer includes measures to protect your network from attacks. This can include things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption.

3. Access control

This layer includes measures to control who has access to your systems and data. With this unauthorized access to your information technology is stopped in its tracks, drastically improving your risk management. This can include things like user authentication and authorization controls.

4. Data security

It includes measures to protect your data from being accessed or modified without authorization. Your organization's data protection is the whole essence of cyber security. For a fail-proof business continuity system, this layer of security management must be taken extremely seriously. This can include things like encryption, access control lists, and data leak prevention.

5. Application security

This layer includes measures that secure the applications you use. Information systems need to be set up such that both internal and external users can work securely, while you're still able to protect sensitive data. This can include things like input validation, output encoding, and application firewalls.

6. Disaster recovery

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach. The disaster recovery layer of cyber security includes measures to ensure you can recover from a disaster. This can include things like backup systems and disaster recovery plans.

7. Security policies

It includes the information security policies and procedures you have in place to ensure the security of your systems and data. Security professionals can help you custom-create policies that would back your company's security program up. This can include things like employee training, incident response plans, and acceptable use policies.

The importance (benefits) of information security

The benefits of information security in your business are endless, the first of them being -- you get to remain in business! Some other benefits include:

Preventing data breaches: A data breach can have serious consequences, including financial losses, competitive disadvantage, and reputational damage. Information security can help you prevent data breaches by protecting your systems and data from attacks.

Improving employee productivity: Employees who are not trained on basic cybersecurity principles can inadvertently put your business at risk. Information security training can help employees understand how to protect your business and be more productive.

Saving money: Information security can save you money by preventing data breaches and avoiding the costs associated with them. Implementing strong security measures can also help you get discounts on your insurance premiums.

Information security is vital for any business, big or small. By taking steps to protect your systems and data, you can prevent costly data breaches and improve employee productivity. Next, we'd look at these steps in detail...

Information security is important, here's how you prevent cyberattacks

Think about it, you spend years, tears, and sweat building a business, only to have it taken down with one clever hack. How rewarding, no? That's the digital information world we live in, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. You don't need to become a cyber statistic. Here are some of the ways you can stay secure:

Educate your employees (build your "human firewall")

82% of breaches were linked in one way or the other to human errors. Do you know what that means? It means if your employees have the required training on how to not fall prey to attacks and what their response should be to risks, you'd have successfully reduced your chances of getting hacked by around 82%.

At S5 Logic, we talk about building a human firewall a lot, because it's where the bulk of any business' cyber security stems from. Your people should be trained on security risks and proper security protocols. They should know how to identify suspicious activity and what to do if they suspect a data breach has occurred.

Organizations must ensure that these cybersecurity training sessions are regular, in order to arm members of staff with the relevant information security strategies per time. Awareness of information security issues and security incidents is one step of the process, the bigger aspect is teaching them how to keep their private information assets private.

Here are some tips on how to cyber security train your employees:

  1. Teach them to be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. If an email contains links or attachments, make sure they know to hover over the link to see where it will take them before clicking.
  2. Show them how to spot fake websites by looking for misspellings in the URL, or other red flags like a lack of HTTPS security.
  3. Help them understand the importance of creating strong passwords and using different passwords for different accounts.
  4. Encourage them to report any suspicious activity to your IT department or cybersecurity team immediately.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your employees are better equipped to avoid falling prey to phishing attacks and other cybersecurity threats.

Implement strong security measures

As businesses become more reliant on technology, it's important to implement strong cybersecurity measures to protect our information and prevent cyber attacks and security threats. While strong cyber security measure isn't foolproof, they go a long way to making it harder to carry out attacks successfully. Taking preventative will result in a stronger organization that is prepared to handle anything.

There are basic measures that every organization must have in place, like using strong passwords of at least eight mixed characters and information encryption. This is a process of transforming data so that it can only be read by authorized individuals. This can be done using software or hardware devices. Asides from these, there are more security systems that could help secure your organization:

  1. Offices need to implement best practices like two-factor authentication, for employees accessing corporate network infrastructure as well as a Virtual Private Network(VPN). This will encrypt all communication between an office's private stock of IP Addresses and workers' devices, no matter their location...
  2. Improper configuring firewalls or updating systems with patches leaves many opportunities for hackers. For this reason, employees should be provided guidance on how they connect their devices both at home through their router as well as public WIFI networks.
  3. Companies should have a comprehensive incident response plan (CIRP) that is regularly tested. So in the event of a breach, there is a systematic way to mitigate any damages caused by hacker activities. Incident response plans need tested regular basis with penetration testing schemes, as well as vulnerability testing.
  4. Virtual Private Networks – VPNs are another great way to protect your company's confidential data when browsing activities carried out over public Wi-Fi networks. VPN helps in securing business data by encrypting it while it is in transit. This makes it difficult for anyone to hack into and read the data, as they would need the appropriate decryption key. VPN can also be used to connect multiple offices of a company together, allowing employees to work from any location as if they were at the office.

Monitor your systems

Cybersecurity is an important part of any business, and proactively monitoring your systems is a key part of keeping your business safe. You should regularly monitor your systems for signs of suspicious activity with fail-proof information security management.

There are a few things you can do to help monitor your systems for signs of suspicious activity. First, you should regularly check for unusual login attempts. If you see any login attempts that look suspicious, be sure to investigate them further. Second, you should keep an eye out for unexpected changes to files. If you see any files that have been changed without your knowledge, it's possible that someone has gained unauthorized access to your system.

Finally, you should monitor for unapproved access to sensitive data. If you see any data that someone shouldn't have access to, it's possible that your system has been compromised. By monitoring for these signs of suspicious activity, you can help keep your business safe from cyber threats.

Respond quickly to a breach

Responding quickly to a data breach is crucial for containing the damage and minimizing the risk of further exposure. However, it's important to remember that not all data breaches are the same, and each one will require a different response. That's why, at S5 Logic, we believe the best response to a breach is a solid cybersecurity plan, ever before a breach occurs.

By being prepared, you can ensure that you're able to respond quickly and effectively to any breach that does occur. You should also take steps to contain the breach and conduct an investigation. By taking these steps, you can help minimize the damage caused by a data breach and protect your business from future exposure.

Our final thoughts

Information security is vital for any business that wants to succeed in today's digital world. That's why it's so stunning to us that according to this research, an estimated 80% of small businesses do not have a cybersecurity policy in place! A data breach can have serious consequences, including financial losses, competitive disadvantage, and reputational damage.

To protect your business, you should educate your employees on security risks and proper protocols, implement strong security measures, monitor your systems for signs of suspicious activity, and respond quickly to a breach if one occurs. Above all, you deserve a trusted cybersecurity partner who you can point a finger at if anything goes wrong.

That's who we are at S5 Logic. We proactively ensure your business's information security, so that you can sleep peacefully at night, knowing that we've got the cybersecurity boogie men under control! Contact us today for a multi-layered, failproof cybersecurity plan. But before then, we’d like to know, which of these tips are you going to apply to your business first?