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  • Mikaila Menezes

What Is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a basic business need.

Today’s world is more interconnected than ever before. In truth the cloud is just another network managed on your behalf.

Yet, for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of data theft, fraud, and abuse. Let’s take a deeper look at Cybersecurity.

A General Look at Cyber Security

As users become more reliant on modern technology, we also become more vulnerable to Cyberattacks such as:

  • Data breaches aimed at accessing data with the intent to change or destroy

  • Spear phishing

  • Social media fraud

Every day there is a tidal flood of new cyberthreats. Malicious emails deliver ransomware and password-stealing trojans to a large number of inboxes. While other threats take advantage of software flaws to get access to systems and data that should be kept private. And, without any signs of danger, your own website could be hijacked to transmit malware to visitors.

Cyberattacks are a severe and costly nuisance for major corporations. They're an existential threat to a small business owner. Operational disruptions result in lost revenue, and the reputational damage and potential legal consequences associated with data breaches are difficult to overcome on their own.

Phishing, malware, and other digital dangers pose a significant threat to today's small and medium-sized enterprises. The necessity for hackers to manually select targets and design an attack accordingly, which traditionally kept them relatively secure, has essentially vanished. Because the availability and integrity of data and services today determine the success or failure of even the smallest enterprises, the need for comprehensive protection has never been greater.

Small and medium-sized firms could take solace in the notion that they're "too small to target." The reality is far more depressing.

Businesses have become pretty good at physical asset security. CCTV, access controls such as keypads and fingerprint locks, electric fences and burglar alarms are commonplace. First responders, armed or not, are contracted to react in the event of a breach or alarm.

So What Are the Digital Security Equivalents?

  • CCTV, Burglar Alarms are Monitoring

  • Electric Fences, Access Control could be Passwords & MFA

  • First or Armed Response is your Incident Response Plan and Processes

We build networks for one reason - to house data. Everything we have on the network is to manage accessing and using that data. Nowadays with the option to host your company data and applications in the cloud this concept is a little more abstract.

At the end of the day Cybersecurity is essentially securing your data and all the activities and mechanisms to do just that!

What Is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive data from digital attacks. Cybersecurity measures are intended to counter threats against networks, applications, and data; whether those threats originate from inside or outside of an organisation.

Cyber Security is not different to any other form of asset protection - it’s just that much harder to define the asset!

If we agree that ALL of our data is valuable we HAVE to agree that it’s an attractive target.

Then, we HAVE to do something - we cannot simply ignore the threat.

The “Domains” of Cybersecurity

Now that we agree Cybersecurity is all about protecting company data let’s unpack the layers of protection that are needed to defend against Cyberattacks.

Layer 1 - Managing Cybersecurity

This has more to do with people and processes than with technology.

There are a few tasks that need to be brought to the fore:

  • Risk audits are a process that we apply to identify hazards to the organisation and systemically establish solutions to counteract those risks, using advice from experts in the domains listed below.

  • Security processes need to be reviewed to ensure that they are aligned with business operations.

  • Change management processes and procedures need to be in place.

  • Security awareness training

Layer 2 - Access and Identity Management

Often referred to as IAM, this layer focuses on systems, processes, and procedures to manage identities and deal with authentication to grant or deny access. Access management generally uses a principle referred to as least privilege. In other words, the minimum access rights are applied for a staff member to carry out their job.

Layer 3 - Engineering

Here we refer to two areas: Physical Network and Logical Network.

Physical network deals with the infrastructure built to house the data. Most would call this the network. Some examples of infrastructure elements that need to be addressed are:

  • Switches

  • Routers

  • Modems

  • Hubs

  • Power Supplies

  • Printers

  • Servers

  • Workstations

  • Laptops

    • This is a complete subject on its own. Often referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) We will be posting advice on how to deal this in the near future

  • Portable Storage Devices such as External Hard Drives and USB Sticks

The logical network is all things software. Consider these:

  • Operating Systems

  • Applications

  • Automation Tools

  • Monitoring Tools

  • Virtual Machines

The logical component of course covers data both local and cloud.

Layer 4 - Cybersecurity Operations

Large organisations build SOC’s (Security Operations Centres) for this. Smaller businesses may not have the resources, aside from partnering with an MSP. This does not detract from the fact that threat awareness, communication, incident response, and forensics are vital.

Layer 5 - Cyber Event Recovery

Call it Disaster Recovery, call it Business Continuity, it all amounts to the same thing. Getting your business back onto its feet after an outage.

In this context this layer revolves around defining critical business functions and prioritising their restoration. There are some functions that can “wait a while” when restoring business operations.

What Are the Risks of Having Poor Cybersecurity?

There are many risks, some more serious than others. Among these dangers are malware erasing your entire system, an attacker breaking into your company systems to alter files, using company computers to attack others, or stealing confidential company data.

The '6 Myths' of CyberSecurity

There are six myths that come to mind when we discuss cyber security and what it means for our business.

  • Only big businesses have to worry about being attacked

  • My data does not put me at risk if it gets hacked

  • Cyber security is way too complex and complicated

  • This is only an issue with tech people and should be with the IT department

  • Cyber security is a one-size-fits-all or one action fix

  • Implementing data protection and cyber security is too expensive

You can beat these myths now by making sure that your business executives and your staff understand that they are just so. Having a deeper understanding and buy-in from all parties is how you move forward.

Where Do I start?

There is no guarantee that even with the best precautions. Some of these things won't happen to you, but there are steps you can take to minimise the chances.

While built-in security tools and off-the-shelf software are simple to use, they don't provide the level of security you need to feel safe. They don't scale well as your company grows. With your company's survival on the line, the only sensible course of action is to seek professional assistance.

Much like you'd hire an electrician to connect your building and fix a faulty outlet, there's a lot to be said for entrusting the important duty of cybersecurity to the pros. Contact us to find out more.


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