Make Cyber Risk a Priority with these Six Tips

by Sarah Harvey / January 25th, 2017

Cyber risk has become a hot button issue of today, especially among business owners and stakeholders. With the threat landscape constantly changing and evolving, it’s challenging to stay ahead of these threats and be prepared to ensure the privacy and security of the data we’re responsible for. We can all help each other strive towards common goals of cybersecurity and privacy by starting with the following six tips for making cyber risk a priority:

1. Know Your Data

Start simple by understanding the type of data you store, collect, transmit, or process, and where it is kept. This is a critical step in order to protect your business, your data, and remain secure and compliant. Know your data so you can keep sensitive data secure and private from unauthorized use and disclosure. What kind of data are you protecting? Who has access to this data? Who has unnecessary access? Where do you store this data? Answering these questions can help you gain a better understanding of the measures you need to take and where to start to properly secure your data.

2. Know Your Risks

After you’ve defined your data and identified your assets, the next question you must ask yourself is, what are the risks to my data? What are the things that keep you up at night? Theft? Natural disaster? Disgruntled employee? A regular risk assessment process can help you to analyze vulnerabilities and potential risks and threats to an organization and the organization’s IT systems. Once your risks have been identified, you will rate the impact and likelihood of each security event in order to prioritize risks and determine the best plan for remediation and implement that plan.

3. Encrypt Everything

In light of the steady increase of data breaches across the globe, it’s a no-brainer that we should be encrypting everything. Without encryption we have zero privacy. Encryption protects our data, privacy, customers, and ultimately our business.

4. Use Advanced Authentication

As an information security auditing firm, we regularly preach the importance of password security and using strong passwords to protect access to sensitive data. Adding another form of authentication, known as two-factor authentication, is a great way to add one more layer of security to protecting the data you’re responsible for. Two-factor identification makes it more difficult for hackers because they don’t just need passwords and usernames. Two-factor authentication consists of a combination of two of the following: something you know (password, PIN), something you have (key fob, security card), something you are (biometrics, fingerprint).

5. Create a Culture of Privacy

It’s important to remember that even if you have the strongest controls in place to protect the security and privacy of your data, it won’t matter if those policies and procedures aren’t properly communicated to ALL personnel. Creating a culture of privacy within your organization must start from the top with management and stakeholders and be communicated all the way down to the operations level. Once an organization recognizes how important privacy and security are to those at the top, they will follow suit.

6. Implement Employee Training Programs

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so the best way to be sure that every employee in your organization is prepared and equipped with security and privacy awareness is by developing and implementing a regular employee training program. Training employees on an annual or semi-annual basis can help keep them up to date on emerging security trends and create employees who are privacy aware. KirkpatrickPrice offers an online security awareness training program, perfect for organizations looking to train employees without butting into operations or the budget.

For more information on how you can make cyber risk a priority and strengthen privacy and security at your organization, contact us today.

More Resources

Auditing Basics: Audit Risk, Control Risk, and Detection Risk

Risk Assessment Checklist – 5 Steps You Need to Know

Security Awareness Training Compliance Requirements: SOC 2, PCI, HIPAA, and More