Finding the best approach to security risks within your business.
Business is all about taking risk. Some risks will pay off, while others will come back to haunt you. Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to know which risks will be worth the potential danger.
The same can be said about cybersecurity.
Protecting your business from cyber-threats can be costly and time-consuming. There comes a point when a business goes too far to protect itself. Not every organization needs every security measure known to man. You have to determine what level of risk makes sense for your situation.
We’ve come up with some questions every business leader should ask themselves when determining what cybersecurity protection you need.
1. How Do I Determine Risk?
Every business has a certain level of risk they can tolerate before it threatens the future of the company. Determining risk is all about finding your unique tolerance level.
Look at the information your company is storing. Do you have client or employee personal information? Do you have intellectual property such as R&D, patents, etc.? Do you have access to your vendors’ critical information? Then, determine how that information is being protected.
Security professionals should be able to identify, document and explain the various security risks related to the use or storage of this information for you. However, you as the business leader should make the decisions about how much risk to take. Savvy leaders must consider all the risks, then sort through the noise to determine what really impacts business operations.
2. How Much Protection Is Appropriate?
Some risk is good! Risking investments to make money can earn you even more money. Taking on a new product no one else is trying could pay off with a new opportunity in an untapped market.
Knowing what level of protection your business needs is all about knowing your business well. If you pay for a lot of cutting edge security technology your company does not need, you might be losing money your business could use to grow. Over-protection might be the downfall of your company.
Consider this: If you live in a brick home in a wet climate, you are far less likely to face the risk of fire damage than a wooden home in a dry climate. Buying a robust fire insurance policy for the home in the wet climate would be a waste of money. Not having enough coverage for the wooden home would be too risky. Each home should have a plan designed for its needs.
Cybersecurity should be approached in the same way. The level of risk you can handle is always going to be dependent on the situation your business is currently in.
3. Am I Following the Crowd?
Getting advice and guidance from colleagues is a great way to stay up to date with the latest technology trends and threats. Those resources can be invaluable. However, following the crowd too much is dangerous. “Best practices” are not always universal truths when it comes to cybersecurity.
Having the same cybersecurity protection as everyone else may sound safe, but it’s not going to be the perfect fit for your company. Keeping up with the specific needs of your organization is your responsibility. There should be constant communication and analysis of your cybersecurity operations.
At the end of the day, it’s up to each business leader to decide what makes sense for their own company's interests. Consultants and colleagues can give great advice and valuable wisdom, but the final say needs to come from company leadership.
4. Do I Need Any Cybersecurity Protection?
Yes, but it varies. While you may not need as much protection as your neighbor next door, you always need to have some safeguards in place to protect your business. The three pillars of information security are confidentiality, integrity and availability. While each of these is important to every business, the blend that works for you will be unique.
Cyberattacks happen every day, and they target all levels of organizations. No matter how big or small your operation is, there are hackers looking to gain access to the valuable information you possess.
Risk What You Can, Protect What You Must
You will never be able to eliminate all risk. It would be too costly, and you would never accomplish anything! People take risks every day. Driving to work or eating food could be potentially dangerous, but some risks are more necessary than others. Some need to be more documented and calculated.
We all have a risk tolerance level, and so does your company. Tolerance levels will fluctuate with changes in the industry, new cyber threats, and evolving leadership. Recognize and understand these dynamics so you can stay ahead of the risks your business will face.