Is your organization doing enough to protect itself from the myriad digital threats that imperil it right now?
Go on, answer honestly. We’re among friends here.
The sobering reality is, most companies aren’t doing nearly enough to keep their assets and employees safe from digital harm. NBC reports that nearly half a billion personal records were stolen by cyberthieves in 2018 — more than one for every person living in the United States today. The scale of that loss is almost incalculable, and it describes only one facet of the cyber threat landscape right now. The total toll taken by digital threats is much, much higher.
For this reason alone, it’s imperative that organizations large and small invest in comprehensive cyber protection to parry persistent digital threats and mitigate the fallout from successful attacks (and incidents not caused by malicious human actors, such as structure fires or natural disasters that interrupt power or knock data centers out of operation).
If you’ve yet to invest in such a solution, review the components of a comprehensive cyber protection strategy below and begin moving toward implementing a solution that incorporates them all. Then, read on for an overview of the core benefits of cyber protection and a list of helpful tips to strengthen your cybersecurity posture.
Components of a Comprehensive Cyber Protection Strategy
A comprehensive cyber protection strategy has five core components. Each provides a different type of protection or redundancy; all are complementary in some form or another. The net effect is a multilayered safety net that runs around the clock, greatly reduces the risk of serious harm from a cyberattack or even the likelihood of such an attack occurring, and enhances resilience in the event of an outage or attack.
You have every right to expect that your cyber protection solution makes reliable copies of your data, systems, and applications available on demand, at all times.
Likewise, you must trust that you and your team can access your organization’s data, systems, and applications from anywhere, as needed.
A comprehensive cyber protection solution must give the license holder total control over who has access and visibility into what data, systems, and applications, with no loopholes or workarounds.
You must be able to create undeniable and fully certifiable proof that any copy your organization handles is an exact replica of the original.
Last, but certainly not least, your comprehensive cyber protection solution must be equipped to provide ironclad protection against the leading edge of the digital threat landscape, not to mention more pedestrian threats that have been with us since time immemorial.
Benefits of a Comprehensive Cyber Protection Strategy
The benefits of a comprehensive cyber protection strategy might seem self-evident. After all, who wouldn’t want to invest in cyber protection? The concept sounds like a foregone conclusion.
Then again, many of us are “show me the goods” types. That’s perfectly fine; you have the right to demand accountability from any vendor with whom you work, not least your cyber protection provider. These dozen cyber protection benefits — and others not described below — are, indeed, “the goods.”
1. It Provides Total Access and Visibility Control Across Your Entire Digital Ecosystem
You must be in total control of your digital assets’ collective destiny. In practical terms, this requires you to have total control over who can access any given asset at any given time — or even view that asset. Every person who works for or with your organization should have a set of custom-defined privileges that allow them to see and change only those applications, systems, or data sets that they absolutely need to see and change to do their jobs effectively.
2. It Greatly Increases Protection Against Novel Threats
New cyber threats arise by the day, even by the hour. You do not have the bandwidth to absorb them all, no matter how much time you devote to educating yourself and your team. That’s your cyber protection solution’s job, and a good solution should do a good job of it.
3. It Allows You to Reduce and Parry Insider Threats
First of all, you should not feel bad about extending less than total trust to veteran members of your team. Human psychology is complex, and people sometimes turn without fully understanding why. Anyway, because they’re often impossible to detect until they’re actively causing harm to your organization, insider threats are among the most insidious forms of digital malfeasance. You must gain that edge over potential insider threats.
4. It Provides Peace of Mind When Handling Copies and New Versions
How can you be totally, completely sure that this particular version of that mission-critical data set is the most up-to-date one? How can you be certain that the document copy you’re working on offline is a true facsimile of the original, and totally free of corruption?
With a comprehensive cyber protection solution that guarantees authenticity, you can be. Without it, well, good luck.
5. It Reduces the Use of Physical Media Without Compromising Flexibility
Physical storage media, like external hard drives and thumb drives, are very easy to misplace. And they have a funny way of falling into the wrong hands, too. Protect your organization from opportunistic thieves and absentminded employees alike with a cyber-protection solution that reduces the need to rely on such imperfect means of transporting information.
6. It Keeps Your Entire Team on the Same Page, Digitally Speaking
They call it “herding cats” for a reason. These days, when remote work is a fact of life and working off a single set of assumptions can feel like a herculean task, your organization needs to grasp at anything that can keep its employees and contractors on the same page (digitally speaking). A comprehensive cyber protection solution facilitates this sort of synchronicity in concert with off-the-shelf workplace collaboration and communication tools.
7. It Mitigates the Risk of Costly Threats Like Ransomware
Ransomware is a double-edged sword.
Refuse to pay the ransom and you effectively say goodbye to goodness knows how many days or months of irreplaceable work, not to mention whatever tightly held secrets happened to live on the corrupted system.
Pay the ransom and you’ve no guarantee of recovering your data — but you do know for sure that you’ll be poorer for it.
8. It Reduces Exposure to Natural and Manmade Disasters Not Caused by Malware
Fire. Flood. Earthquake. Wind. Lightning. Terrorism. Vandalism.
The list of natural and manmade disasters that could (and, eventually, will) bear down on your organization’s physical assets is long and scary. Though such disasters are not the result of active malice toward your organization, their impact can be just as great as, if not greater than, the sorts of digital threats we’ve been discussing until now. And cyber protection can reduce your exposure to them all.
9. It Greatly Increases Uptime
Uptime is the lifeblood of any digital organization. With the redundancy and control inherent in a comprehensive cyber protection solution, your organization has less to fear from downtime. Which, among other things, makes for very happy customers.
10. It is Applicable Across a Wide Array of Industries and Use Cases
From fintech to AI, IoT to blockchain, your cyber protection solution applies across a vast range of industries and use cases. Including, in all likelihood, yours.
11. It Protects Against Human Error, Including Innocent Mistakes
Lost or stolen storage media is just the beginning. “Fat finger” errors, accidental deletions, poor version control — these are just some of the headaches that fallible humans can cause for your organization.
12. It Reduces Your Vulnerability to “Unknown Knowns” and “Unknown Unknowns”
Whether you’re kept up at night by worries over zero-day exploits, paranoid about spyware or man-in-the-middle attacks, or concerned by what you don’t know is lurking out there in the digital threat landscape, cyber protection offers a path forward — if not total, impenetrable security, then at least dramatically improved protection and enhanced resilience.
How to Strengthen Your Cyber Protection Strategy
Now that the benefits of a comprehensive cyber protection strategy are clear, you’re ready to implement just such a strategy. Your journey begins, but doesn’t end, with an industry-leading cyber protection solution that’s proven to deliver results. Surround it with an array of easy-to-implement complementary strategies as well.
1. Invest in an Industry-Leading Cyber Protection Solution
First things first: investing in an industry-leading cyber protection solution that delivers results. Remember, your solution should have five core deliverables that provide redundant protection around the clock and ensure total digital peace of mind: safety, security, authenticity, privacy, and accessibility.
2. Pay Special Attention to Email Security
According to a study cited in CSO Online, the vast majority (94%) of malware is delivered by email. For all the talk of more sophisticated vectors, the old-fashioned email exploit is far more likely to be your organization’s undoing.
We can’t simply stop using email, of course. Not yet, anyway. On the bright side, we know what it takes to protect our email suites and the employees who depend on them from email-borne threats.
The first and most important thing you need to do as an organization is invest in email threat education. Many employees can’t articulate basic email hygiene practices — not because they don’t grasp the concepts, but because they’ve not been given the chance to learn. You can change this in a matter of days; put together a brief video or one-pager outlining the signs of a malicious email message, tips to avoid falling victim (“don’t open that email!”), and reporting and mitigation procedures if and when a threat worms past your organization’s defenses.
3. Deploy an Anti-Malware Solution That Complements Your Cyber Protection Suite
It doesn’t hurt to add an additional layer of protection. Use an anti-malware suite that complements your cyber protection solution without interfering in its operation or duplicating its efforts.
4. Encourage Employees to Use Encryption Wherever Possible
You really don’t know who is listening. That’s why it’s vital, especially when communicating over public networks, to use encrypted email, messaging services, and browser protection (via a virtual private network, for example). End-to-end encryption is the only reliable way to ensure that snoops can’t hear and see what you’re discussing.
5. Formalize a BYOD Policy for All Teams
You really don’t know what’s on your employees’ multi-use devices. Not that you want to know everything — but you do have a right to ensure that those devices aren’t introducing malware into your corporate ecosystem.
6. Formalize Recovery and Threat Mitigation Procedures, Including Crisis Communications
Your entire team, including contractors, must know what’s expected of them after a cyberattack or incident. That includes knowing how they’re supposed to communicate internally and externally.
7. Write Digital Resilience Into Your Company Culture
Make digital resilience — the idea that you’ll bounce back stronger after a cyber incident — a core component of your company culture. Hire and promote accordingly, too.
Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Organization?
Your organization needs all the help it can get to fend off the ever-evolving digital threats that imperil its operations, its cash flow, and its very existence.
If you’ve read this far, let’s hope that you’re convinced of the importance of investing in a comprehensive cyber protection solution backed up by an even broader cybersecurity strategy. This investment could be the most important one you make in the future of your business this year.
Maybe any year.
Unfortunately, merely implementing a cyber-protection solution and developing a cybersecurity strategy will not ensure total protection for the long haul. The digital threat landscape is fickle and fluid; this year’s threats of the moment might not be next year’s, or the threats of the moment two years out.
Let alone five or ten years out.
Effective cyber protection demands constant monitoring, measurement, and vigilance. You, personally, might not have the resources or expertise to stay one step ahead of all those who wish your company harm, not to mention all the low-probability, high-impact things that could go wrong in any given month or year. But your team, working collectively and with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to back it up, does have what it takes to greatly — if not entirely — mitigate the cyber threats with which we all must live.
Like all important investments in your company’s future, this one requires you to make the first move. Commit to taking ownership of your organization’s digital security today and you might just reap the rewards — or avoid the worst-case scenario — in the future.