There is a proliferation of news stories of major cyber attacks on the business community and private sector at the moment.  This coupled with startling and unnerving statistics about the loss of or corruption of data pots and the impact this has on a business' reputation and from a financial perspective seems to be a daily occurrence at the moment.  

Recognising that cyber attacks will happen and that the best form of defence is detection and swift eradication rather than focusing purely on methods to keep out the attacks is perhaps the first step to minimising the risk to your business.  So what sort of things are worth focusing on?

- stakeholder knowledge: ensure that the board/key stakeholders take cyber threat seriously/understand the implications and know that eradication measures are just as important as prevention;

- third parties: focus on business continuity/risk mitigation and security protocols in third party arrangements to ensure that any contractors maintain as robust an approach to your business processes for detection and eradication - provide for regular tests of their security measures and treat failure to comply seriously.  Consider industry standard/robust third party detection software solutions;

- end point mapping: map the end points/access points for your technology infrastructure - how are these protected - whether by technology or policy.  Assess aspects such as malware counter measures; USB access; technology countermeasures; secure information separation; user accessibility and controls; employee policy prevention and monitoring processes; encryption technology and data pot cleansing/security;

- playbook planning: what happens at the point a cyber attack occurs? does your organisation know what is expected from employee up to board level? Communicate the policy throughout your teams.

- responsibility: who is responsible for managing security/cyber threats/attacks.  This may be individuals or a team within your organisation.  Are they always available/contactable?

- penetration testing: get third parties to test the robustness of your counter measures both in terms of access and eradication;

- stay up to date: ensure that systems/operating software; application software remains updated and eradicate applications/systems that are redundant;

- talk to each other: key to mitigating risk is a healthy cross business discussion on possible/real threats - ensure that your security teams/CIOs or key stakeholders hold regularly discussions with the business community on the likely threats - a problem shared etc...

If you've found any of the points highlighted above useful and want to know more please contact the technology team at Foot Anstey who'll be happy to share their knowledge and expertise in this area.