Building an effective information security strategy is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Information technology is at the heart of countless companies, and any security breaches could cause severe disruptions. Your business may be unable to perform essential functions for hours or days until a problem is fixed.
But if you’ve managed to run your business without falling prey to a security incident so far, you may wonder why it’s so important. In this post, we’ll explore what information security is, how it differs from cybersecurity, and what you can do to improve yours.
What is Information Security?
Information security (AKA InfoSec) applies to measures and software designed to defend sensitive information against potential theft, damage, and unauthorized access. Companies of all sizes store critical data on computers, hard drives, servers, and in the cloud today. Hackers can exploit even the tiniest vulnerabilities using various sophisticated techniques.
Information security is focused on ensuring this data remains confidential and available to those who need it only (i.e., yourself, your employees, and your clients).
Information Security VS Cybersecurity
It’s easy to assume information security and cybersecurity are the same. However, information security is more of a general term for the processes in place to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands or being disrupted by external hazards. And cybersecurity is a major part of that.
For example, information security can refer to the storage and protection of all forms of important materials, including physical documents held in a filing cabinet. Cybersecurity, though, relates only to protecting electronic data stored on hard drives, cloud storage platforms, computers, and servers.
Companies may invest in high-tech security systems to safeguard their offices and locks to prevent people accessing physical storage without permission. But it’s much more difficult to put together an effective cybersecurity strategy that keeps your digital assets safe.
Regardless of the terminology, too many businesses underestimate the value of both information security and cybersecurity overall. A survey by the Insurance Bureau of Canada found that 47% of small Canadian companies don’t allocate any of their annual operating budg
et to cybersecurity. It’s vital that organizations recognize the risks they face and implement effective strategies to combat threats.
Cybercrime is, sadly, increasingly common in Canada. In 2020, 63,523 cybercrime incidents were reported to police — a substantial increase on 2019’s 48,318. There may have been many more that remain unreported. And more than half of small businesses close their doors within six months of a data breach.
What are the Biggest Risks to Information Security?
Organizations face many information security risks, and we’ll explore some of the most common digital threats below. Protecting information against cyberattacks is one of the hardest aspects of InfoSec.
Ransomware is a form of malware designed to encrypt your information and prevent you from accessing it until you pay a ransom. Attackers could lock you out of valuable documents, databases, and more. Businesses in Canada paid ransoms of between $164.7 million and $659.2 million in 2020.
Criminals typically perpetrate phishing scams via email and trick victims into divulging sensitive information (such as banking details). Attackers usually design emails to look like legitimate correspondence from a trusted institution (such as a bank) or brand (like Amazon).
Botnets incorporate networks of hacked systems under the control of a cybercriminal. They may use your computer to perform malicious acts, such as sending phishing emails to other victims or conducting a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
A perpetrator will launch a DDoS attack to disrupt a service, network, or server’s operations by overwhelming it with an excessive flow of traffic. As a result, genuine traffic may be unable to reach a website. Companies targeted with DDoS attacks could lose out on business if customers are prevented from buying goods.
How Can You Improve Your Organization’s Information Security?
Here are four simple ideas to help you enhance your information security:
Conduct Risk Assessments Regularly
Risk assessments will help you identify the biggest threats to your company and their implications. You’ll learn:
● The steps that can lead to a security incident
● The possible fallout
● The likelihood of such a situation arising
● The right actions to take
Performing regular risk assessments means you can reduce the chances of a specific security issue occurring, and your team will be less likely to waste precious time in an emergency.
Implement Better Staff Training
A lack of awareness can increase your business’s risk. Employees may make avoidable mistakes that lead to major security breaches, such as downloading an attachment infected with malware or wrongly distributing sensitive information.
Train staff to understand the most common types of security threats lurking on the Internet and encourage them to remain vigilant. Cutting human error could have a powerful impact on your security.
Check Your Policies to Reduce Risks
If your business lacks definitive security practices, covering everything from logging into computers to handling company mobile devices, employees will be more likely to make mistakes.
Implement clear policies related to information management and security processes. For example, all employees should understand how often they need to change their passwords, what constitutes a security violation, how to access software safely, and more.
Work with Information Security Specialists
One of the simplest, most effective ways to improve your information security and minimize your organization’s risk is to work with professionals. A team of specialists will be able to identify weaknesses in your infrastructure and build a bespoke security plan to defend your network against intruders.
Outsourcing your information security also frees up time for you to focus on running your business with greater peace of mind. You’ll know your company will be always protected with the latest solutions.
Get Started with NETWORTH
NETWORTH deploys best-in-class antivirus and malware software to combat risks, with highly competitive packages available to suit all businesses.