While cyber security has been a priority for many since the advent of the internet, our increasingly connected lives have created new avenues for hackers to exploit. Gone are the days when the worst thing a hacker could do was prevent someone from accessing your company website. Now, individual devices, including those used to provide lifesaving care to medical patients, are vulnerable.
As our world continues to become more interconnected, and our reliance on these technologies grows, all businesses need to be prepared to prevent intrusions before they occur as well as manage the fallout when the unthinkable takes place.
To ensure you are securing your assets in the most logical way, consider these main security points and whether they are present in your system.
Most organizations first line of defense involves their security software. It is critical that every business makes an effort to keep their security software up-to-date. Additionally, firewalls need to be properly configured, and internal user credentials must have robust requirements to limit the chance of a hacker working their way into the system either by luck or with some simple research. While these are some of the oldest forms of cyber security solutions, they still provide a valuable service.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Whether the disaster is natural or man-made, having a well-designed business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place can give your organization the ability to adjust to the unexpected. Business continuity focuses on maintaining operations in the event of a disruption while disaster recovery places its emphasis on the capacity to restore IT infrastructure.
Both plans are needed to help an organization continue to function, as they each focus on different objectives. However, they each point to a single need: redundancy. Vital data and applications must be backed up on a regular schedule. Consider alternate sites of operation, or at a minimum, how critical network traffic can be rerouted to a functional location.
Reconsider “Always-On” Operations
For convenience, many individuals and businesses choose to leave devices on and connected at all times. While specific systems and equipment are in a constant state of operation, justifying their “always-on” status, not everything falls into this category. A system that is powered on and connected to a network, whether public or private, can be at risk. If a system does not need to remain on the network or even on, disconnect and shut it down. Equipment not actively on and connected to the network is much harder to compromise, especially from someone outside of the organization.
One of the biggest mistakes individuals and businesses make revolves around assuming that no one would ever consider compromising a particular system. It is hard for most people to understand why someone would choose to compromise a network, alter the operation of a medical device or perform a number of other harmful acts related to our continuously connected state. And it is this lack of understanding that leads to an inaccurate assumption. No matter how hard it is for you to imagine doing something like that, there is someone out there who is willing to do it.
Don’t ignore the risk simply because it is hard to conceive personally. If you are going to protect your assets in the most thorough way, you need to realize that all things are possible and try to plan accordingly.
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