5 Ways To Optimize Your Cybersecurity & Risk Management In 2022

Cybercrime is a plague in the business world, and it’s only getting more severe.

According to a recent study, the number of cybersecurity incidents in Cincinnati has increased by 15% since 2019. Don’t assume that this is just the cost of doing business—30% of incidents cost more than $500,000 in damages.

That begs the question: is your Cincinnati business properly defended against cybercrime?

Cybercrime Threats Are Evolving For Cincinnati Businesses

Every day, cybercriminals attempt to adapt their methods to overcome new standards and defenses in cybersecurity. Nowhere is this more evident than with ransomware.

Nearly 50% of companies polled state they have been infected with ransomware in the past three years, and 39% reported paying a ransom. Nearly one-fifth stated the ransom cost them $500,000 or more

The fact is that the way cybercriminals use ransomware has evolved. They have improved their tactics and capabilities, allowing them to do much more damage, and demand much more money.

Characteristics of modern ransomware attacks include:

  • Expanded Timelines: Sophisticated attackers sneak ransomware into a breached network and then lay dormant for weeks or months, ensuring their method of entry isn’t discovered right away. This gives them time to embed themselves, steal data, and more, all before they actually activate the ransomware and infect the systems. Without undertaking extensive forensic processes, an infected business won’t know how far back they need to go to back up their systems. Or, even worse, it will be so far back that they’ve already expunged those backups to make room for more recent versions.
  • Improved Capabilities: Modern forms of ransomware can even target and infect backup hard drives and cloud-based data if the connections are left unsecured. That’s why cybersecurity professionals are now recommending digitally-air-gapped backups as well. Given the effectiveness of modern ransomware attacks, defensive methods and best practices from just a few years ago are already losing feasibility. All of this is to say that you can’t assume you won’t be infected at some point.

Cybercriminals Are Targeting Weak Links In The Cincinnati Business Supply Chain

Are you the most viable target in the supply chain?

The fact is that cybercriminals know where their efforts will be most effective. They won’t have much success targeting massive companies that have the necessary resources to defend themselves. That’s why they target smaller companies in the supply chain of those larger businesses.

Cybercriminals can take advantage of the small company’s lower security standards and still access the same data. If you run a small business that shares data with larger companies, you need to consider yourself a target by proxy.

For small businesses, the situation is especially dire. According to a study conducted jointly between Cisco and the National Center for the Middle Market, over 50% of small businesses have no cybersecurity strategy or plan in place and for those that do, most have not reviewed the plan in over a year.

A cybersecurity strategy and plan, once created and adopted, must be reviewed at least annually to ensure that current threats are being included.

Cybersecurity is not a one-and-done solution; the threat landscape evolves at a rapid pace and frequent reviews ensure that the plan will help reduce an organization’s cyber risk profile. That’s why you need to be aware of the greatest threats to your business and plan against them.

The ever-growing tide of cybercrime threats shows why cybersecurity and risk management are so important. Do you know how to properly oversee the defense of your Cincinnati business?

5 Tips For Cybersecurity Risk Management

  1. Follow A Proven Framework: You don’t have to strategize cybersecurity from scratch. You can simply follow a framework that provides the structure and information needed to cover your bases. In 2016, NIST released NIST 800 – 171 to provide a cybersecurity framework that protects data not covered under a “Classified” label, but which still could prove dangerous for American interests should it be obtained by an adversary. Although NIST (and the related CMMC regulatory system) are most directly implemented for manufacturing firms, that doesn’t mean you can’t follow its framework. You can build your plan off of the controls and standards included in these systems to ensure you’re not missing anything.
  2. Assess (And Reassess) Your Risks: The gulf between what you know and what you don’t is where cybercriminals operate. That’s why risk assessment processes are so crucial. They help you better understand where your most severe cybersecurity issues are. Consider the facts—whereas nearly 80% of IT security leaders believe their organizations are not secure enough, only 57% have invested in cybersecurity risk assessments. Don’t make the same mistake. You need to have a risk assessment process in place that checks for new vulnerabilities, and tracks how well previously identified issues were resolved.
  3. Harness Threat Intelligence: Cybercriminal attack vectors are constantly changing and evolving to circumvent new defenses. This goes to show how important awareness is becoming in the modern business world. The degree to which you understand cybercrime attack vectors will directly inform the effectiveness of your cyber security processes. What can you do to stay ahead of emerging threats? Your best course of action is to learn everything you can about what they are and how they work. The more you know about the threats your business faces, the better prepared you’ll be to identify attacks in progress and prevent them from causing damage. The biggest threats you need to know about are ransomware and phishing, as well as the evolving way in which cybercriminals execute their attacks.
  4. Implement Routine Penetration Testing: You can’t afford to assume that your cybersecurity measures and practices are keeping you safe. You need to understand the risks you face, and how to mitigate them. The penetration test is an authorized attack on your organization’s technology and staff and is one of the best ways to accurately evaluate your security controls. In combination with a red team exercise (in which a full-scope attack simulation is executed to test organizational security), you can double-check each and every aspect of your cybersecurity posture.
  5. Track Value & Effect Of Cybersecurity Tools: Don’t assume that your cybersecurity budget will always be an absolute sunk cost. You should be tracking the effect your cybersecurity investments have on your overall cybersecurity posture. By carefully aligning your cybersecurity strategy with a framework, you can justify the necessary investments you need to make. However, whatever you’re paying for should be proven effective. This will ensure you’re getting an optimal ROI for what you spend defending your business and its data.

Does Your Cincinnati Business Need Expert Cybersecurity Guidance?

Don’t let basic cybersecurity put you at risk, and don’t assume you have to handle advanced cybersecurity all on your own—4BIS.COM can help you assess your cybersecurity and develop a plan to enhance it.

You can start improving your cybersecurity by getting in touch with our team.

Thanks to our friends at DataEcon in Dallas for their help with this information.

Written by James Forbis
Posted on: February 8, 2022
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