Data is arguably the most valuable modern commodity, particularly for businesses. That’s why the nefarious world of hacking and cybercrime has become such a hotbed in recent years – there’s a lot of money in it and a lot of very clever and dangerous people who wouldn’t think twice about stealing your data and the data of your customers.
The cloud is an incredibly flexible and powerful tool that allows for even small businesses to utilise the kind of computing power and storage they would ever be able to afford otherwise.
However, by its very nature, it poses a security risk that a closed system never could. We firmly believe that the benefits seriously outweigh the drawbacks here, but the fact remains – if you’re going to be utilising cloud services in your business then you’re also going to need to instigate a cybersecurity strategy.
We picked the brains of some of the top cybersecurity experts in fields ranging from healthcare to automation, asking for their opinions on what businesses should be considering when first implementing their cybersecurity strategies. Find out what they had to say.
Measure your resilience
This is very much allowing for a worst-case scenario – how would your business work in the event of an attack? Would it be able to continue operating and how agile would it be in terms of recovery. These are the kind of difficult questions you’re going to need to ask yourself when setting up a cybersecurity strategy.
Establish resilience by ensuring that the core functionality is strong and that all of the practices holding that functionality up are institutionalised so that they can continue ticking along even when under the duress of a cyber attack. Start by ensuring that any software or hardware you use can be upgraded and maintained without causing too much disruption and also look at how easy it is to patch systems for vulnerabilities.
What hackers are often after is the so-called ‘big data’ that they can exploit for profit; addresses, names and even more personal financial information. Data exchange is at the very heart of what cloud computing is all about and at any point where data is exchanged there is the chance for it to be intercepted. That’s where encryption comes in.
In any cybersecurity system, sensitive data needs to be encrypted when being stored and when being transmitted, because encrypted data (well, data that’s encrypted well, anyway) is practically useless to hackers. So, encryption protocols should be of primary concern to all cybersecurity professionals.
Finally, ransomware attacks have been making headlines for the last few years for a good reason – they are exceptionally dangerous. Even the health system can be a target, as proven by the NHS attack a few years ago. Ultimately, these methods are always changing and always evolving so no matter how impenetrable you think your security might be, there’s always the chance it might fail.
Prepare for potential ransomware attacks by updating your incident and disaster response plans and perform regular verified data backups, particularly of key data. Indeed, there’s an argument to be made for certain data to be kept off the cloud completely, in on-premises servers.
As long as your staff remain well trained then that’s half the battle. But with the Internet of Things continuing to grow and complicate matters, there’s never a bad time to ensure that your cybersecurity system passes muster and that your team is prepared to take on any challenge they might face in the coming years.