How to accurately gauge your cybersecurity risks

No business can afford to overlook the importance of cybersecurity. Around 43 percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, and this statistic is only set to rise. Here’s what you should know about the importance of devising a proper cybersecurity strategy for your own company and how to adequately protect your business data from external and internal threats. 

Why cybersecurity matters

Cybersecurity matters because it’s the most effective way to protect your sensitive and confidential business information from exploitation. Businesses have experienced a 300 percent increase in ransomware attacks in the last year alone, and phishing attacks are on the rise

If you don’t adequately protect your business from cyber threats, you risk costly downtime, data breaches, and a loss of consumer confidence. The good news is that you can safeguard your assets and your data by properly understanding your risks. 

How to gauge your cybersecurity risks

Since every business is different, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity. However, there are some strategies every business can use to understand their cybersecurity performance and how to improve it. 

Understand your operating environment

You can’t protect your business from cybersecurity threats if you don’t first understand the threats most likely to affect your sector or niche. For example, companies in healthcare are at risk of major data breaches and leaking confidential data. 

Take the time to build a risk profile and impact assessment. Through this profile, you’ll have a better understanding of the risks most likely to affect your business and the consequences flowing from an incident. You can then direct your resources where they’re needed most. 

Audit your infrastructure 

Once you’ve put together a general risk and impact profile, you can audit your existing hardware, software, and processes to identify any weaknesses. Examples of things to look for include: 

  • Outdated software
  • Manual rather than automatic software and antivirus/antispyware updates
  • Unsecured wireless networks 
  • Unsecured mobile devices, such as laptops and mobile phones

With a clearer understanding of your overall IT infrastructure, you can gauge the cybersecurity risks affecting your business right now and in the longer term. 

Test your security 

Network checks, such as penetration testing, are crucial to ensure your network remains safe from external threats. You should be checking: 

  • How often your systems experience downtime or vulnerabilities
  • How often outsiders try to gain access to your network 
  • The time it takes for a vulnerability to be remedied after it’s identified 

The more data you have access to, the better you can understand where your greatest cybersecurity threats lie. 

Assess staff knowledge 

Insider threats are a big problem for all businesses – primarily because employees often don’t know how to adequately protect your data from exploitation. Check whether your employees know:

  • How to create strong passwords
  • How often to change passwords 
  • What to do if they receive suspicious emails 
  • Who to report any cybersecurity concerns to 

Remember, your staff plays a huge role in keeping your data safe and your business secure. Consider investing in encryption technology and ensure your staff and management understand their responsibilities.

Act now 

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for any business. Protecting your company from both external and internal threats helps to reduce your downtime, cut down on wasted resources, and mitigate the risk of reputation damage. For more information on improving your cybersecurity strength, contact us now.