- April 23, 2020
- Posted by: Jonathan Cox
- Category: Blog
How Cybersecurity Could Be The Lone Savior Of Small And Medium-Sized Firms In Their Digital Transformation Journey
The threats of cyber incidents outsmarting detective, defensive, and corrective security controls has grown exponentially, as cybercriminals are devising sophisticated tools, tactics, and procedures to compromise organizational information assets. Therefore, the current climate demands that organizations become strategic in their digital transformation approach, with the goal of achieving cyber-resilience in the face of compounding cyberattacks.
The Information Age has fueled digital transformations across diverse sectors, thus introducing a host of benefits, including increased automation of business operations; increased agility and collaboration; access to real-time customer insights, etc. These benefits have helped organizations operate with measurable efficiency and a predictable scale. As we continue to live in a rapidly transforming digital world, more and more businesses move to bolster their presence on the global stage via the formation of a digital strategy.
On the other hand, the digital transformation journey of many organizations has been marked with unforgettable incidents, involving the compromise of security and/or privacy. Unfortunately, this journey to enterprise digitization has become a beacon, which lures malicious actors seeking to exploit weak security controls and steal sensitive enterprise data. Contrary to popular news headlines, malicious actors are not just targeting large organizations, they are in fact targeting small and mid-sized firms at alarming rates.
According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), surprisingly, 43% of data breaches in 2019 involved small business victims. Unfortunately, many small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) fail to account for a comprehensive cybersecurity framework during their digital transformation journey, thus unwittingly exposing sensitive organizational data to adversaries (or competitors).
Why Do SMBs Struggle To Find A Balance Between Cybersecurity And Digital Transformation?
Within the context of organizational processes, digital transformation is oftentimes marked by speed and scale. In this process, cybersecurity tends to take the least priority, both financially and otherwise. That means, far too many businesses are exposing themselves to potential exploits that could jeopardize customers’ sensitive data and permanently destroy business operations.
There are several reasons why small and mid-size organizations find it challenging to adopt proper cybersecurity measures in their digital transformation journey:
- Lack of resources: SMBs often lack skilled cybersecurity resources required to implement robust countermeasures, which tackles current and future threats and vulnerabilities. However, engaging with GoldSky cybersecurity experts for process consultation, can be a prudent first step in such cases.
- Third-party risks: the cybersecurity negligence of third-parties vendors and contractors can extend into the security sphere of a primary organization, thus creating backdoors for threat actors.
- Expensive security solutions: High price is one of the most significant obstacles small and mid-size businesses face when it comes to choosing cybersecurity solutions. Although this challenge is oftentimes cited by industry stakeholders, security professionals at GoldSky Security dissected the (4) horsemen of cybersecurity that could help reduce expensive security solutions by 90 percent.
In many cases, during a digital transformation journey, sensitive, confidential, and secret information freely move throughout an organization’s domain. While embarking on a digital transformation journey, it is critical that stakeholders are aware of the value of the information and systems that drives the creation and transfer of data across an organization.
Here are best practices that SMBs can implement to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack during a digital journey:
- Identifying Critical Information Assets: Identifying critical information assets within a computing environment is crucial to establishing a disaster recovery plan that will account for ‘hot information assets’ in the likely event of a cyberattack. This singular process is essential to business continuity, especially for small and mid-size businesses.
- Ongoing cybersecurity awareness training: Establishing basic cybersecurity best practices and policies for employees, backed with appropriate guidelines for acceptable internet usage.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM): Enforcing strong IAM policies, procedures, and solutions can prevent unauthorized access into critical infrastructures.
- Secure Communication: Employing encryption protocols and tokenization solutions will help to provide a secure way to store, process, or transmit data as needed, throughout the digital transformation journey.
- Installing anti-malware solutions: Anti-virus and anti-malware programs, anti-phishing solutions can help protect network endpoints.
Cyber resiliency is one of the most essential attributes of a comprehensive cybersecurity framework. Being cyber resilient ensures that an organization is capable of rapidly responding to cyber incidents, with little or no disruption to normal business operations. Therefore, the absence of a resilient cybersecurity posture makes an organization vulnerable to cyberattacks, such as Phishing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), Man-in-The Middle (MiTM), etc.
The graph below shows the statistics of the annual number of data breaches and exposed records in the United States, between 2005 and 2019:
Image Source: Statista
Before embarking on a digital transformation journey, small and midsize businesses should consider the following best practices to ensure a robust cyber resilient posture:
- Develop a Plan: this includes a business continuity plan, incident response and disaster recovery plans, and a cybersecurity management plan to help manage the following critical items:
- Critical organizational information assets.
- Evolving threat landscape.
- Risk probability and impact strategies
- Emergency access control lists.
- Regular testing of developed plans (tabletop exercises).
- Practice Good Hygiene: Establish a proactive and systematic process for keeping your systems up-to-date, segment the enterprise network, protect privileged accounts, and their access, standard systems hygiene.
- Get Started: Start with a rough cyber resiliency plan, seek expert advice, iteratively test your resilience capabilities, and incorporate the feedback regularly.
With the increasing number of cyberattacks on small and mid-size organizations, it is critical that stakeholders understand the need to incorporate cybersecurity resiliency into a digital transformation journey. As cybersecurity continues to play a key role in the assurance of critical assets, never assume that your organization is too small for a cyberattack to occur – it is not a question of ‘if’ a cyber incident occurs, rather it is a question of ‘when’ a cyber incident occurs.
Following the recovery of global business operations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations will proceed to launch digital transformation strategies to help revive core business services. While your organization leaps on a digital transformation journey, take advantage of the specialized cybersecurity professionals at GoldSky Security for a robust cyber resilience and disaster recovery plan, which is the key to bouncing back from cyberattacks.
GoldSky Cyber Security Solutions has offices in Denver, Orlando, Nashville, Washington D.C & Tampa. GoldSky offers reliable 24/7/365 security solutions to Small & Midsized Insurance agencies throughout the entire U.S. Get in touch to learn more on how GoldSky can help your company achieve your cybersecurity compliance goals.