If your business is in one of the following eight industries….
- Medical/Healthcare Organizations
- Banking/Credit/Financial Institutions
- Government/Military Branches
- Educational Institutions
- Energy/Utilities Companies
- E-commerce Companies
- Retail Stores
- Small Businesses
….then your company could be in the center of the bullseye for a cyberattack.
Over the past decade, these business sectors have risen to the top of a list that they would probably rather not be a part of – industries most impacted by data breaches.
Some of these industries, like retailers and e-commerce businesses, are extremely tantalizing to hackers because of the abundance of customer credit card and other financial information that they collect. While other at-risk businesses, like medical and healthcare organizations, are commonly targeted for their detailed electronic records of patients’ personal information as well as financial details. Cyber criminals also often go after educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, for their students’ and employees’ personal information, computer processing power, and valuable intellectual property, such as faculty research.
However, perhaps the most vulnerable companies on this top-targeted list, are the smaller businesses. These organizations generally do not believe that they have the resources, including money, time, or know-how, to implement an effective cybersecurity infrastructure.
Even if your company doesn’t fall into a high-risk business sector, it certainly doesn’t mean your systems aren’t at risk for being hacked. At HIG, we strongly recommend that every business owner take the time to investigate potential cyber threats to their organization and identify their exposures.
What to do if your company is considered at high risk for cyberattacks
While you’re spending your day making sure orders are being shipped out on time, all equipment is running smoothly, and meeting a million other pressing business needs, cyber hacks are focused on one singular goal – figuring out how to gain access to your business’ devices, like computers, laptops, mobile phone, and tablets, and the networks that support them.
As a business owner, it’s already tough to keep your eye on all of your priorities. How are you going to catch threatening cyber activity as well?
Good news – there are many automated network tests that you can easily put in place today. The following three options come highly recommended by cybersecurity experts:
- Vulnerability scanners basically work like a hacker seeking out potential vulnerabilities. But in this case, they are working on behalf of you to find weaknesses in your services and applications.
- Penetration testing, or “pen testing,” takes vulnerability testing to the next level by simulating an actual attack on your network to review how secure it is. A pen test not only highlights weaknesses but also determines precisely how your weaknesses might be hacked.
- Program update checks are critical because software that isn’t the latest and greatest gives cyber criminals the chance to get to your business. As developer updates, called “patches,” become available, they can be changed manually, or you can easily set these patches to update and install automatically.
By implementing regular vulnerability scans, annual penetration testing, and auto-updates of software programs, you will be making it much more difficult for cyber criminals to find a way into your system. Plus, many cyber threats are likely to be identified and addressed immediately, even when you’re busy putting out other fires.
How HIG can help you manage your cyber risk in five basic steps
At HIG, we are passionate about helping our clients with their risk management strategies, including how to handle cyber threats, and we would be glad to assist you in executing an effective cyber risk management process.
Our collaborative approach to any risk management plan includes the following five steps:
- Risk Identification is the critical first step of any risk management process, in which we make a list of current and future cyber risks that could impact your company.
- Risk Analysis means taking all of your identified risks and analyzing each and every one. Questions we might ask for each cyber risk include, “What is the likelihood of this event happening and what are the possible consequences?” and “If this event happens, what would the losses cost us?”
- Risk Control is all about finding the best options for you and your employees to limit your exposures to each of the risks you’ve already identified. There are multiple options we might consider when trying to control cyber risk, and many of them are quite simple, including the automated tests discussed above and training your employees on cybersecurity best practices.
- Risk Financing is the process of deciding how to finance any potential losses in the event you do experience a data breach. While there are three options for risk financing including self-financing, transferring risk, and purchasing insurance, we typically find that investing in affordable and quality cyber liability insurance is the best financing choice for most businesses.
- Risk Implementation and Evaluation sounds like the end of the risk management process, but it’s really just the beginning. From here on out, the key is to consistently evaluate your cyber risk and your plan’s effectiveness.
HIG is here to assist you in gathering the information required to move through all five steps of managing your cyber risk, from identification and assessment to control and financing, to implementation and ongoing evaluation. With guidance and support from our knowledgeable team, it can be fairly easy and cost-effective to implement this risk management process not just for cyber attacks, but also for just about any other threat to your business.