October is Cyber Security Awareness Month – Is Your Organization Prepared?

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month – Is Your Organization Prepared?October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which serves as a good reminder of the importance of a solid, comprehensive incident response strategy. It seems almost daily there’s another headline revealing a high-profile or well-established organization having fallen victim to online hackers and if you think you’re somehow immune based on your business size or industry, you are severely misinformed. To help ensure that you’re adequately prepared and properly protected, consider the following five cyber security incident response tips.

Implement proper monitoring.

Malware, such as ransomware and other viruses, is becoming much more sophisticated and nearly impossible to keep up with manually. The first component of a strong cyber security incident response plan is a good monitoring system. The goal is to identify as many potential threats as possible so they can be dealt with before they have a chance to cause any damage. There are plenty of products on the market today that are widely trusted, highly effective and surprisingly affordable.

Close the loop.

One area where many fall short on adequate protection is in believing that having a monitoring system is enough to keep their data secure. In reality, it’s simply not always possible to catch every single attempted breach. With cyber criminals coming up with new and more complex ways to achieve their felonious goals, the only true way to be prepared is to fight fire with fire. Incorporating automated technology can turn your cyber security incident response strategy from one-dimensional to a multifaceted, equally complex and closed-loop process for faster and more effective remediation.

Make it everyone’s job.

Cyber security incident response isn’t just the job of your IT team. It takes a concerted effort from everyone within the organization – from front-line employees to c-suite executives and everyone in between. For best results, create a strategy that includes clear instructions on what measures each and every employee should be taking to protect sensitive information. Communicate and reiterate these policies and best practices on a regular basis to ensure adoption and accountability across the board.

Back up regularly.

As mentioned above, there’s no foolproof way to prevent every possible threat from being successful. Criminals are relentless and devoted to their craft. You want to be sure that in the event of a successful breach, your files and other important data have been properly backed up and are stored separately and securely. That way once an incident is identified, isolated and eradicated, you can restore systems as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Test, modify, repeat.

As with any good business practice, your cyber security incident response strategy should be fluid and agile. Criminals are working around the clock to come up with new and better techniques to get what they’re after, which means that the plan you have in place today may not be adequate to protect you tomorrow. To account for this, policies and procedures should be routinely tested and adapted accordingly. The goal is to identify your own vulnerabilities before hackers have the chance to exploit them.

While October happens to be the official month that recognizes the importance of a strong, proactive and multifaceted defense against online criminals, cyber security incident response is something every business should be making a priority year-round. The above five steps should position your organization as stronger and much more prepared to handle whatever attacks might come your way.

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