Cybersecurity represents a major obstacle that businesses must face across all industries, ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to multinational enterprises. Some are much more well-prepared for this broad category of hazard than others, though almost all organizations likely have some room for improvement).
No matter what their specific risk levels may be, it is nonetheless imperative for company leaders to ensure they are fundamentally prepared for the threats posed by phishing scams, ransomware campaigns, zero-day attacks, botnets and other web-based hazards. Not only will this require adopting and adhering to established best practices, but for some businesses, it may also be necessary to shake up C-level staff and other leaders in the IT department – an area in which YES Partners can be extremely helpful.
Don't forget the basics
A comprehensive cybersecurity protection plan requires various tools, of course – firewalls, vulnerability scanners, anti-virus software and encryption frameworks, to name just a few. But one of the simplest, most crucial aspects of good "cybersecurity hygiene" is also one of the most frequently problematic: password protection. According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon, approximately 80% of breaches caused by hackers occurred because of weak password practices.
Improving passwords requires relatively minor effort on the part of all staff and can make a significant difference in cybersecurity readiness. Passwords should be as random as possible (no significant dates, words or names that might hint at a user's identity), mix lowercase, capitals, numbers and special characters, and – in cases of extremely sensitive information or platforms – be changed every so often.
Make room in the budget
There are few if any times when company budgeting doesn't involve debate, some of which is undoubtedly spirited. But allocating some financial resources toward improving cybersecurity or maintaining a system that works should never be controversial – it's common sense and prevailing practice.
Gartner recently reported that security spending grew 10.5% across the globe in 2019 (while general IT spend expanded only 0.4%). Along similar lines, research by Enterprise Strategy Group found that 62% of companies said they planned to continue boosting security spending throughout 2020. While SMBs and large corporations won't need to increase budgets by identical dollar amounts, it behooves businesses of all sizes to spend what's necessary to make key cybersecurity updates.
The human factor
Cybersecurity can be a stressful issue, especially in oft-targeted sectors like finance and health care. A joint study by Forcepoint and Wall Street Journal Intelligence found that 76% of CEOs and other senior executives literally lost sleep on a regular basis because they feared they'd be hit with the next headline-making data breach.
While compassion is advisable whenever possible, companies must also be pragmatic: If your senior IT leaders aren't up to the task of improving cybersecurity, YES Partners can help you find CIOs, CTOs and other IT executives with the right combination of vision and determination. To see some of the roles that we have already successfully placed, click here.
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