Everyday the threat landscape evolves, and your organization has to adapt or die. Preparing for the onslaught of attacks that occur on a daily basis is fundamental to that adaptation. A well thought out, rehearsed plan allows your organization to counter new technologies and methodologies in the hands of hackers. This plan is formally called a Computer Security Incident Response Plan (CSIRP), and every company must have one. In fact, if your organization does business with the government, such as working for the DoD, it is a legal requirement.
As a result of technological advances, the amount of data that organizations must keep secure is increasing. Recent numbers indicate that 91.6 percent of businesses worldwide confirmed a significant increase in investment in big data last year.
Wireless networks are becoming more common in businesses and homes. Most mobile devices now come with a wireless network associated with the device’s brand or carrier. There are also public hotspots at restaurants, coffee shops, and airports to name a few. This makes it easier for us to catch up on work or with friends online.
The global impact of the GDPR continues to increase. Companies no longer operate solely in one country; rather, they have an international network. Consequently, the GDPR pertains to US companies just as much as EU members. DPIAs, Data Protection Impact Assessments, serve as one component of the GDPRs risk assessment line-up. Read on to learn more about when a DPIA is needed.
In a world where much of our lives take place digitally, cybersecurity continues to be a growing concern for consumers. In fact, statistics from Varonis and RiskBased revealed that 4.1 billion records were exposed last year because of data breaches, an alarming number considering that since 2013 there were 3.8 million records stolen on a daily basis. Data breaches and cyberattacks are global problems that require unique solutions.
This is where the VPN comes in. VPN or virtual private network is a network that is constructed by the use of public wires, usually the internet, to connect to remote users or regional offices to a company’s private, internal network. This is usually utilized by companies to secure their internet activity and digital information.
There is a lot of data gathered about threats to pertinent information that are stored online. Most of the statistics about cybercrimes are mind blowing and scary, especially to people who have been victimized before. Whether you’re a business owner, a celebrity or an ordinary citizen that has online related activities and transactions, you can be a target. That’s why it’s important to protect your digital data and VPN is the way to go.
Here’s how VPN usage can help boost cybersecurity:
Provides Secure Remote Access
This is very beneficial nowadays because of the number of companies and self-employed people that work from home using their personal internet connection. The security of communications is a well-known major problem. It’s easier to rely on your company’s internet connection but when you are working from home the risk of accessing your company’s information is just too much. A VPN is just the right thing that can solve that problem because it automatically encrypts all traffic from your end and your company’s network. Luckily VPN is accessible and there is quality VPN free download for PC software that you can use.
Gives Access to Anonymity
Having the option to remain an anonymous presence is an asset a lot of people and organizations would love to have because it’s one of the best ways to protect their identity from fraud and other threats. For many businesses, it is important for all stakeholders. It’s customers and the users of an organization’s network.
Anonymity can give businesses the edge that it needs to stay competitive and having a VPN can ensure that. A good VPN masks the location, IP address and other details of its users. It is very useful especially during circumstances when a user has to conduct a sensitive transaction.
Safe Access to Cloud Services
Cloud-based services have become popular with businesses because they saw the potential it has to contribute to their productivity, that’s why companies have integrated cloud services into their everyday work. Nonetheless, the cloud is still a cybersecurity hazard. Hackers can exploit your company’s usage of cloud services to steal information.
Once you have installed a VPN, the data you stored on cloud servers will be safe and sound. All of your cloud-based assets are now secure from any malicious attempts of a breach from outside forces.
IP Address Masking
Hackers track IP address activity so they can execute and plan how to approach their attempts at hacking a system. VPN masks the IP address to prevent that from happening.
The VPN designates a new IP address which allows you to conduct sensitive transactions without the risk of it being tracked. It comes with a different IP address every time you launch it, which means your activity is virtually untraceable.
One of the best things about using a VPN is it can send data privately. Tunneling is a process by which data is being sent privately through a VPN. A VPN’s tunneled connection places data packets inside another data packet before it travels through the internet. That process is known as encapsulation. Basically, a VPN covers the data you are sending with other data to hide it from prying eyes. The extra layer of data keeps the content of your message safe from the view of the public.
Organizations certainly have much to gain from setting up a VPN, particularly the growing ones. Once an organization begins to grow in size, their private network has to be scaled using a VPN to prevent higher scaling costs.
Apart from network scaling, VPN also allows an organization to establish a private network at a lower price. They can also add new users, scale such networks, and connect new locations in real-time and when required.
VPN offers incredibly affordable and convenient solutions to cybersecurity budget problems. For an affordable sum, your private network and the data you use to communicate are secured and free of privacy risks. Considering the costs that can come from poor cybersecurity, a VPN is a much better alternative that you should consider investing in.
Easy Setup and Installation
Most of the time that cybersecurity measures fail is because people find it too complicated. Instead of going through with the process of implementing them, many tend to ignore it. With the advent of VPN, the hassle that cybersecurity gives is now out of the picture. Since the VPN provider is responsible for the infrastructure, all the user has to do is to install it and let it take care of things from there.
The sheer ease of setting up your own virtual private network is already helping you boost your cybersecurity.
An important reminder to take note of: only use a VPN for online privacy. If you are doing otherwise, then you are putting your online activity at more risk.
Set up your own virtual private network for free and put your mind at ease as you surf the internet. Contact RSI Security to secure your data.
About the Author: Edwin Deponte
Edwin Deponte is a motivational writer who loves to travel around the world. Also a digital nomad, he finds it hard to access the world wide web on countries with strict Internet censorship; hence, he studied the ins and outs of VPN connections. Having been hooked to this, he continues to write about the topic to help users and other digital nomads worldwide that experience the same problems.
Technologies are evolving at a breathtaking pace, and along with the growing number of technological advancements and conveniences that they bring to our lives, the number of potential threats also grows exponentially. One of the most serious damages that any company can experience is a data breach.
Security has always been the top priority for any organization. However, nowadays, it’s challenging to provide the required safety level that will eliminate a chance for potential data breach issues. In this article, we will take a look at what is a data breach, what are the main damaging consequences of a data breach and how to protect your data from being stolen.
Definition of a Data Breach
Data breaches are related to security issues and mean unauthorized access to secure and highly confidential information. A data breach is a serious problem that can harm the operational processes of any business, as well as negatively impact the overall reputation and cause financial detriment.
There are different types of data breaches, such as stolen information, ransomware, phishing, password guessing, viruses, malware, denial-of-server attacks, and so on. Taking into account that almost all the data that companies possess are stored online, cybersecurity is a burning problem that needs to be addressed timely and effectively. Moreover, it’s mandatory to enhance the security level to prevent potential threats and protect your confidential data.
Core Data Breach Vulnerabilities
Before we tackle the essential after-effects of a data breach, let’s get a better insight into what are the main vulnerabilities that can lead to such a serious problem.
Your employees who have access to all the confidential and sensitive data and are unfamiliar with the latest security measures can increase the risks of internal attacks and data breaches.
Therefore, it’s important to take care of internal security. For example, all terminated employees should no longer have access to any internal information. Also, it’s recommended to check all employee’s accounts for suspicious activity regularly.
Unprotected Mobile and Other Devices
If your employees use personal mobile devices for job-related processes, it increases risks for a data breach. Also, in case your team brings their laptops to work in the office, you have less security control over the data used, which can cause a potential threat.
Cloud Storage Apps
More and more companies are using cloud storage applications, which are very convenient, as such software makes it possible to access any data at any time from any device within seconds. However, cloud solutions are prone to security threats and can appear as one more channel for cyber attacks and data leakage.
Third-Party Service Providers
If you turn for help to third-party service providers, then you are at a higher risk of data leakage, too. Since outsourcing is a cost-effective solution, many businesses delegate some tasks, including software development, to other companies. If the system of such a service provider isn’t secure enough, all data you provide the company with are at a higher risk of being stolen.
Downloading malware from the Internet can increase the risks of the data breach. It can happen when employees click suspicious links or visit untrustworthy websites. An outdated operating system can also multiply the chances for data leakage.
The Four Most Harmful After-Effects of a Data Breach
Now you are more aware of the main aspects that can lead to data breaches, so let’s explore the main harmful after-effects of information leakage.
1. Significant Financial Loss
Depending on its type, a data breach can be light or pretty expensive and lead to a significant financial loss, which always comes damaging for a business. A data leakage will result in additional security costs, market share value loss, as well as costs spent on compensating affected customers. Here are factors that make a data breach expensive for a company:
- According to the laws, a business has to inform authorities and their customers in case of a data breach. If the company fails to comply with the law, it will have to pay regulatory fines.
- In case a data leakage involves sensitive customer data, such as credit card info, a company might be subject to a costly lawsuit or pay other legal fees.
- For improving the overall data security, a business will have to invest more in enhancing data security and protection.
- A company might also lose many customers that would no longer trust your business. Though it’s hard to calculate revenue loss, one thing is clear that it’s going to be large.
2. Undermined Reputation
News about the data leakage will spread in a blink of an eye, and it will negatively impact your brand reputation. A data breach will result in lost customer trust, and the chances are high that they will never turn to your business again.
What is more, the affected users can also share their negative experiences with other people. Such damage will be unmeasurable and devastating for any company.
It will not just repulse existing and potential customers but negatively impact stakeholders’ retention and company image as an employer. It’s going to be much more difficult to attract top industry talents, and you will certainly struggle with finding investors further on.
Taking into account that damaged reputation is hard to recover, a company will have to spend additional costs on PR and marketing activities to restore its public image, get trust back, nurture leads, and increase revenue.
3. Business Operational Process Disruption
A data breach is a serious issue that requires some time not just for the recovery process but for the investigation, as well. During this time, all operational business processes will be negatively affected.
Certain types of data leakage may result in a loss of essential business information that forbids any operational processes. Companies that have encountered such severe data breaches usually shut down all operations until the cause and recovery plan is defined. It’s important to find the source of the violation and the solution on how to fight the consequences.
In its turn, the suspension of all operations will lead to a significant client base loss and, respectively, revenue loss. On average, it takes approximately six months for a business to get back on track after such a cyber attack.
4. Legal Consequences
Another devastating after-effect of data leakage is significant legal consequences that might cause a lot of troubles for the business. As it’s been already mentioned, in case confidential personal information of your customers has been involved in data leakage, it may result in a class-action lawsuit.
In this case, a business will be obliged to pay compensation sums to the victims via a lawsuit. All legal and settlement fees are extremely costly, and you will face lots of expenses. Sometimes, a company can even get restricted from any business operation until a legal investigation is done.
As you can see, data breaches are a serious security issue that has to be treated with the highest focus and attention. Any company or business can encounter this detrimental problem, and effects can be very frustrating.
Facing a cyber attack is costly. What is more, it can damage the overall reputation, undermine the internal and external operational processes, cause revenue loss, as well as customers’ loss of trust.
Therefore, it’s of paramount importance to ensure the highest level of security to lower your risks for a data breach and protect all confidential information. If you are in search of reliable data security services, reach out to RSI Security, and get professional assistance today.
About the Author: Anzhela Sychyk
I`m a Market Researcher and Technical Writer at TheAppSolutions. I like to learn new things about modern technologies and share knowledge through value-added content, helping entrepreneurs build businesses in a more effective way.
Security is a critical concern for organizations in about every industry because of its complexity and fast evolvement. Threats and vulnerabilities to the protection of information are increasing, and businesses continue to struggle with the evolving security regulations and landscape.
The importance of ensuring an organization assigns the right people to protect itself is becoming more apparent with the continuous rise of security threats and cyberattacks. Recent trends and cybersecurity statistics from Riskbased revealed that over four billion business records were exposed in the opening half of last year.
Additionally, industry experts predict that the cybersecurity damage is expected to reach the $6 trillion mark by 2021, which is more than the losses caused by drug trafficking. This is primarily because of the higher levels of internet connectivity between businesses and insufficient enterprise-wide security.
Moreover, the increase in cyberattacks can also be attributed to the growing interest of stolen credentials within the dark web. Statistics further indicate that the global impact of cybercrime has surged past $3 trillion, making it more profitable than the global trade in heroin, cocaine, and marijuana combined.
This is why organizations are now spending an extensive amount of resources in the hopes of staving off cyberattacks that could potentially ruin their operations. Numbers show that global spending on cybersecurity services will exceed $1 trillion cumulatively over the five years from 2017 to 2021.
Unfortunately, Cybersecurity Ventures reported that while organizations continue to spend more financial resources on security, they usually often spend it in shady areas. A 2017 Thales Data Threat report indicated that 26 percent of organizations experienced a data breach despite spending a significant amount of money in cybersecurity.
More often than not, organizations spend their money on the same solutions that have worked for them in the past but are not necessarily most effective in preventing emerging threats. This is why every business needs to opt for a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCiso) to establish and manage a security plan that will put them in a better position as threats continue to evolve.
In general, vCisos are outsourced security providers or practitioners who offer their expertise and insight into an organization continuously. They usually lead staff in establishing a comprehensive strategy for the protection of the enterprise information assets while ensuring business continuity more economically.
A vCiso service provider will be responsible for determining how information security affects legal requirements as well to ensure that the organization complies with internal and external policies. Unlike the typical Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), a vCiso provider enables businesses to save high costs in their cybersecurity spending without jeopardizing the overall safety of their IT environment.
In most cases, opting for CISO services can costs an organization up to $250,000 per year, depending on the experience and expertise of an individual. On the contrary, vCiso services businesses with the same level of knowledge as they would expect from a full-time CISO without the steep investment of executive compensation and their associated benefits package.
vCiso service providers provide immediate value as well because their experience and skills working with multiple organizations can give organizations complete flexibility to align their security initiatives with business goals. They are typically well-versed to a broad range of enterprise networks and understand the unique challenges and threats of different organizations.
Other than that, a vCiso provider also limits turnover rates by providing proven methodologies that help guarantee that expertise is sustained during the transition of new employees. While different vCisos offer unique skill sets, a considerable amount should be able to cover a plethora of tasks that include tactical and strategic operations.
These security professionals are usually at the forefront of helping an organization pull together standards, guidelines, and security policies, which could entail anything from coming to grips with PCI-DSS or HIPAA compliance to remaining on top of vendor risk assessment. What is more, vCiso service providers also help organizations procure solutions, remediate incidents, set security strategies, and establish foundations in place for ISO 9001 and 27001 compliance.
Plus, the demand for vCisos has never been more significant with the range of new cybersecurity standards that organizations have to follow. Common regulatory standards like HIPAA and PCI-DSS are now joined by bold and modern privacy and security regulations like the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which changes how consumers view the company’s responsibility to safeguard data.
While a significant part of GDPR is out of the vCiso’s control, these security professionals can usually perform a data protection impact evaluation on your data systems and provide expert opinions required to reach compliance. By complying with the regulatory standards mentioned above, businesses can create a lasting relationship with their stakeholders and clients as well as avoid hefty penalties or bad press that could be detrimental to the reputation of the organization.
Another service that vCisos could bring is to help organizations with setting up a bring-your-own-device policy and enforcement or even supervising the relationship between the board and its stakeholders about security matters. More specifically, a vCiso service provider’s role is to provide expert security guidance through the following aspects.
- Understanding and managing the strategy and business environment of an organization
- Performing threat assessments and strategy updates in real-time to combat emerging threats
- Anticipating compliance and security challenges
- Managing analyst, mid-level, and engineering teams
- Detection, triage, restitution, and assessment of threats
- Lead security pieces of training and awareness
- Conduct security architectural review and health check
- Develop and review security policies and ensure security governance
- Provide reasonable key performance indicators and write comprehensive security reports that are easy to understand.
In other words, a vCiso service provider can shoulder strategic responsibilities and allow you to assign your in-house team to urgent revenue-generating matters. Plus, vCisos usually do not need any extensive training and can ring up the curtain on, therefore, reducing onboarding time and ensuring maximum productivity.
Signs you need vCiso Services
The need for vCisos is becoming more apparent across many industries, including insurance, marketing, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and technology. Usually, organizations opt for vCiso services in the hopes of solving two problems, which include time and money. Besides that, here are signs your organization needs vCiso services from RSI Security.
1. Customers Tell You
Customers are getting smarter than ever with the evolution of technology. Their connection to extensive amounts of data enables them to weigh all their options before deciding to do business with an organization.
This is why businesses need to opt for a vCiso to put the customers’ minds at ease. The vCiso service provider can implement a cybersecurity program that highlights your organization’s security and ensure that excellent penetration test results, security reports, or even Soc 2 certifications are put in the best possible light to drive more leads.
vCiso service providers usually provide cost-effective tools that will enable your business to answer the most challenging security questions from customers. This is because the firm has the appropriate industry-specific protections and information in a place that is necessary to be credible in a highly-regulated business environment.
While your technical security personnel might be able to tackle some of the current security issues, a vCiso service provider is more than likely to be able to address all of them at once. Plus, vCisos are also armed with strong customer and management skills that are essential in breaking down technical concepts into digestible and understandable language for customers and stakeholders to understand.
2. Continuous Demand from Mergers and Acquisitions
An experienced vCiso service provider will minimize the risk inherent in the process involving a mergers and acquisitions deal. It is worth noting that the dirty laundry of cybersecurity can often stop or radically change the terms of an acquisition. Opting for a vCiso service provider help ensures that the security of your organization is in order so that an acquisition or merger can move forward smoothly.
On the flip side, if you are acquiring a business, you need to make sure you understand all the risks of the organization you are purchasing. A vCiso can perform threat assessments and provide you with expert insights that could help you make an educated decision.
3. Regulators Require It
There are standards and regulations such as the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Cybersecurity Regulation, which require organizations to have a qualified CISO in their team. If regulators need you to hire a CISO, but a full-time employee is too logistically challenging or expensive to put in place immediately, a vCiso might meet the requirements of your regulators quickly.
A vCiso service provider can also lighten the regulatory burden and make the organization appear better to an extensive range of outsiders. By opting for vCiso services, organizations can have a comprehensive look at the big picture and put together a detailed plan for cybersecurity and guarantee its implementation.
They also work on the development of a comprehensive strategy, threat assessment, and prevention. These security professionals also manage all the relevant teams, evaluate the structure of the organization, and remediate all threats related to business operations.
Furthermore, vCiso service providers also offer an excellent resource to make sure that everything is provided for in terms of auditing, compliance, risk management, data protection, cybersecurity, and operations protection.
What to Look for a vCiso Service Provider?
Finding a vCiso service provider is not an easy task, but with more business leaders realizing the value of having an executive-level information security position and cybersecurity laws like the NYDFS requiring it, finding a qualified individual is paramount. After all, a vCiso helps fill the gaps during a planned data security policy review and ensures that the enterprise maintains its competitiveness in the market.
Excellent vCiso service providers typically have a superb combination of technical and business skills that allow for competent guidance and contributions with both the executive and IT management. A top-notch vCiso should be able to translate technical strategies and challenges into business terms promptly.
Technically-speaking, vCisos should have specialized certifications such as Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) among others. They also need to have memberships from forums like CISO, ISSA, OWASP, and ISACA to ensure credibility further.
A great vCiso service provider should also be able to understand that they have to allow the organization to do what they need to do in a reasonably safe way. Top-class vCisos align their programs with the purpose and mission values of the organization to assure that business leaders are culturally aware and can make educated decisions under pressure.
vCiso service providers should also be able to prioritize and evaluate appropriate chattels that need to be protected. They must be able to convey those threats in terms that boards can have a complete idea of where to allocate the necessary resources.
It is also the role of a vCiso service provider to recognize and employ the right controls to prepare or respond to incidents. More than anything else, a vCiso provider must possess excellent communication skills so that they can provide easy-to-digest comprehensive reports and ensure that the board of directors fully understand information security.
Combining this skill with the traits mentioned above, a vCiso service provider can leverage their expertise in building lasting relationships with the executives. Over time, their connection with the board can turn into something more open, frank, and honest.
This will subsequently result in the board putting more into trust requests, strategies, and suggestions made by a vCiso service provider. While this does not happen overnight, an excellent vCiso needs to be patient and have the right personality that will enable your organization to establish trust in the long run.
While there is no universal standard for hiring a vCiso, finding someone who is up to speed on the latest best practices with experience in penetration testing, risks assessments, and other vital services are essential in drafting a strategic security plan.
Organizations with access to personal consumer information or regulated industries are the best candidates for a vCiso. Do not wait until a breach occurs and talk to an expert at RSI Security today to find out the best option for your organization.
Make your users change their passwords every three months. Require at least eight alphanumeric characters with at least one letter capitalized and one special character — not an exclamation point because everybody does that now. Change all of your default passwords in the same way. Change all of your default usernames, as well. Lock your building and your server rooms. Never use WEP on your WiFi. Secure it with WPA2 CCMP encryption. And please run updates and patches as soon as possible after they are released.
Starting and running a business is expensive and the expenses do not stop even after your company is making a profit. You have to consider materials, costs of labor, facilities, and equipment just to name a few of the many expenses you have to cover. Another crucial purchase you must consider is that of cybersecurity for your company.