7 Signs Your Business Needs A Cyber Security Assessment
Ever thought "that won't happen to me" in the face of bad news? Many businesses believe they aren't vulnerable to cyberattacks or data breaches. "We are too small to be a target," or "We don't have anything cybercriminals want to access." Yet, cybersecurity needs to be a top priority for everyone.
It is always best to be prepared. Consider whether your business shows any of these signs indicating you need a cybersecurity assessment.
What is a Cyber Security Assessment?
Like an annual wellness check-up for your health, this assessment aims to diagnose potential risks before something serious happens. It helps to detect or identify any system, network, software, device, physical, and other threats or vulnerabilities. The assessment findings support your business and plan what it will do to respond to and manage the risk.
The depth and breadth of a cybersecurity assessment can depend on your business size, industry, risk threshold, timeline, and budget. Still, several signs are suggesting your business needs to schedule a cybersecurity assessment soon.
#1 - Something is Off
Your Spidey senses are tingling. Or you’ve seen something suspicious that makes you question your cybersecurity. It might be:
Finding strange files on your network
Your computers behaving oddly
Competitors knowing information about your company that isn’t yet public knowledge
#2 - Compliance Requirements
Most industries today understand the threat of cybercriminal activity. Your business may need to meet regulatory requirements. For instance, there are many rules about testing for cyber exposure in financial, healthcare, energy, and educational settings. Compliance starts with a comprehensive cyber risk assessment.
#3 - Your Staff Aren’t Tech Savvy
Humans remain one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. Your investment in security to lock down your “virtual house” doesn’t help if your staff open the door to anyone who knocks.
Most employees aren’t malicious. They just have poor habits. Some don’t see a problem in securing their accounts (all of them) with a passcode such as “1234” or “password”. Others are naive enough to actually believe a Nigerian prince wants to send them millions!
Even those with security awareness can fall victim to business communications scams. Busy people may not notice when they get an invoice that looks exactly like a supplier’s but with a bad actor’s banking details.
#4 - Former Employees Still Having Access
Depending on your size and the volume of work, you may not yet have a clear process in place for handling terminated employees’ technology access. Not everyone leaves on good terms, so it is important to revoke all former employees’ access and change passwords.
#5 - Your Technology Hasn’t Been Updated
We’ve all been there. We try to get more done with the tools we have rather than having to invest in and learn something new. Yet, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach does not apply to technology.
Old software or operating systems are more likely to expose you to cyber risk. Once software reaches a certain age, the provider stops supporting that solution. Microsoft, for example, is phasing out security patches and updates for Windows 7.
Don’t plod along with decades-old technology, thinking you’re safe because there hasn’t yet been a failure or crash. The bigger danger is the small, unnoticed openings you don’t know about, but cybercriminals do.
#6 - You Don’t Have Data Control Policies
The number of technology entry points to control is always growing. There may be USB drives floating around your business environment, holding essential data. Company laptops can be misplaced or stolen. Remote employees may sign on to unprotected WiFi networks, and portable devices aren’t properly encrypted.
Without policies in place to control data throughout your business environment, it’s difficult to determine your vulnerabilities.
#7 - Your Employees Use Their Own Devices
A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment makes employees happy. The cybercriminals are pleased too. Sure, this approach can save money. Your business no longer has to ensure every employee has the latest available technology. But, there are drawbacks:
Employee devices may not be the latest, which could make them more susceptible to a cyberattack.
A staff member could download malicious software or apps onto their personal devices that give cybercriminals access to your systems.
Users may be entirely unaware their devices carry malware and could infect your systems when connected.
The employee may not be the only user of the phone, which has access to business information.
Disgruntled employees can use their own devices to damage your network.
Don’t Ignore the Signs!
We compared the cybersecurity assessment to a personal wellness visit. Maybe you tend to put those off, too! Well, if any of these signs sound familiar, it’s time to schedule an assessment.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are severely damaging to businesses. If something does happen, your business could lose access to its network or systems for hours or even days. Every moment of downtime proves costly in terms of:
Lost revenues and possible fines;
Damage to brand reputation.