Why You Need to Evaluate Your Cybersecurity

Cybercrime is fast becoming one of the most lucrative forms of criminal enterprise. By some estimates, the total cost of cybercrime is expected to exceed $10 trillion by 2025, exceeding the total cost of all global natural disasters or the entire worldwide drug trade.

In the last two decades, dozens of big companies have fallen victim to data breaches, compromising the personal information of hundreds of millions of users and the proprietary data of the companies themselves.

To make matters worse, cybersecurity is a constantly shifting landscape. Modes of attack change, strategies shift, and your defenses need to adapt along with them. If you haven’t conducted an evaluation of your cybersecurity recently, there’s no time like the present to start one. Here’s why.

Compliance Requirements

Laws around cybersecurity are constantly changing. In the last few years, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in California have made drastic changes to the way that consumer data is handled.

Companies with users in Europe or California — or even companies whose user data runs through servers in those regions — now have to pay much closer attention to the way they store, share, and protect their users’ data. Companies with inadequate data protection, such as those using unencrypted spreadsheets to manage data, might face significant fines or penalties.

Taking stock of your cybersecurity is a good opportunity to evaluate whether your business practices are compliant with the various legal requirements in your area and to take steps to remedy them if you’re not.

Asset Auditing

In today’s modern workplace, your IT assets are much more complex than just a list of your computers and phones. Modern assets now represent not only the physical technology that your company uses, but the cloud services, web applications, and other elements of your digital infrastructure.

Since every point of your network is a potential attack surface, it’s important that you keep detailed stock of each one and how they’re interrelated. You should also have a backup plan for each one in case a third-party service is compromised.

Gap Analysis

Gap analysis is intended to highlight potential deficiencies in your security. Start with a specific industry security framework that applies to your company, then use that standard as a benchmark for your analysis. Your analysis might include:

  • Evaluation of the various security clearances afforded to different members of the organization
  • Evaluation of the way your company gathers, stores, shares, and protects data
  • Close examination of the handoffs between the various pieces of software you use — any manual component of the process introduces a possible vulnerability

The specifics of your gap analysis will vary depending on the industry you operate in, the size of your company, and the type of data you handle. What’s important is that you take the time to assess your organization’s needs and how close you are to achieve them.

Employee Cyber Awareness

The single greatest vulnerability in any company’s tech stack is the people running it. If you mandate secure passwords that are changed every six months but don’t offer a password manager to keep track of them, people will write them on sticky notes. If you don’t teach them to use the CRM, they’ll use a spreadsheet.

A cybersecurity evaluation is a perfect opportunity to ensure that all your employees are using your tech safely and securely or to educate them if they’re not. If you implement new tools, ensure that you take the time to onboard every employee in their proper use.

Every company’s tech needs are different. Taking stock of your security, the tech you have, and the tech you need is a complicated undertaking. Nonetheless, it’s one that you need to conduct on a regular basis to keep your company, your customers, and your data safe.

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