Sensitive data is undoubtedly one of an organization’s most important assets. But, in the same breath, it is also an organization’s most vulnerable asset too. Cybercrime and the risk of information fraud could be potentially crippling to organizations, so it makes sense that you prioritize its security.
Data fraud and loss cost companies billions of dollars globally every year. The problem is that in an increasingly interconnected world, information is exposed to a growing number and wider variety of risks.
Online risks have become more and more sophisticated, and the risks posed to companies have become more devastating to the company. So, we took a look at why it is important to have information security processes in place and how you can achieve them.
It Protects Your Information and Assets from Unauthorized Access
Unauthorized access to your data and information is one of the top risks faced by your organization. From hacking and phishing to malicious code, the number of risks faced by the organization is growing continuously.
Companies, especially government entities and large corporations, need to have frameworks in place to protect against this threat. Compliance with legislation and regular audits are critical to ensure this is achieved.
Let’s take a look at the FISMA compliance report, for example. The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is a United States legislation created to protect government information and assets from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Organizations must first determine the security category of their information system to actually comply with this piece of legislation.
In order to achieve compliance, you will need to undertake a FISMA audit with Information Security Auditors, who are senior-level experts. Once an audit has been done on an organization, a report will provide stakeholders with independent third-party verification regarding the fairness and suitability of controls relative to information security and practices.
It Safeguards the Technology the Organization Uses
Not only is your data and information at risk of online threats, but so is your physical technology. Many online threats are able to access your technology like your computers, servers, and vital storage units and render them useless. It is vital for you to arm each device and piece of technology with safeguards against these kinds of attacks.
There are various undertakings that a company can take to protect its physical assets. Firstly, all laptops, computers, and devices in an organization should be equipped with an antivirus. It could be worth your while to have several programs installed on your devices to protect against a multitude of risks.
Secondly, educate your staff about the potential risks and threats. One of the biggest risks posed to companies is the clicking of suspicious links. One of the most popular forms of fraud is still the sending of phishing emails that link to harmful websites that may install a virus or steal our data. It is well worth your time and the company’s protection to do education seminars with your staff to make them aware of the risks.
It Protects Any Data the Organization Collects and Uses
Your organization will collect, store, manage and dispose of millions of gigs of data during its lifetime. Most of this information will be associated with your customers and include the personal information of your customer.
It is absolutely imperative to protect this data and information. Companies globally have been put in a position where their customer’s data has been hacked and stolen, and this has cost the company millions of dollars in damages.
Every single company, no matter the size, should develop and enforce a comprehensive data security plan. Not only should this be regularly updated, but it should be regularly audited too.
This is a framework that should include an inventory of the different categories of data collected, stored, processed, or communicated by the organization. Relevant security policies and procedures should be clearly defined and expressed by the company for each category of data.
Secondly, the company should also look at encrypting its data. Usually, strong encryption is considered to include 128 or 256-bit ciphers. These are available in a variety of forms, including “GnuPG.” This encryption is relevant when the information is being collected and stored in the company. But, it should especially take place when information is being shared with third parties.
The Bottom Line
In order to protect your company, its reputation, your staff, and your customers, information security should be top of mind at all times.
Not only should you be doing regular checks and balances on your company, but regular audits need to be conducted. Company-wide responsibility is also key.