Keeping up with cybersecurity is a challenge for every organization. It’s an ongoing investment that requires constant monitoring, a multitude of safeguards, and myriad other requirements to ensure your systems, customer data, assets, and intellectual property are protected—both today and from future breaches.
For large organizations, it can mean significant investment without guaranteed results. For small businesses, it can mean figuring out how to make the most of limited resources. In either situation, many organizations struggle with assessing third parties, like which vendors and service providers to consider for your cybersecurity initiatives. This is no doubt critical, as security breaches do and can happen. In the unfortunate event that they do occur, consumers, employees, and the media won’t see them as your vendors’ mistakes, they will see them as your brand’s mistakes.
Below we’ve laid out key considerations for reviewing your cybersecurity ecosystem—whether you are simply auditing, assessing gaps, or deploying enhancements. This process will help your organization better identify the right partners, approaches, and mindset needed to protect your precious data and assets.
1. Understanding the value of your data and mitigating risk
It is critical to understand the value of your data, both to the organization itself and to potential attackers. Being able to run through the hypothetical scenarios below and quickly assess the risks is paramount in order to understand the impact should something go wrong:
- Do you have any sensitive data accessible over the internet?
- How much data are there and how much are potentially exposed?
- Who might benefit from that data?
- What could happen to your organization if the data were compromised?
- Would there be financial penalties, reputational damage, or loss of business?
The clearer your understanding of what could go wrong, the easier conversations will be around determining necessary controls to prevent the worst outcomes.
Security professionals often use the CIA triad to understand the risks and value of data: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. However, you don't need to be a security professional to use it. This concept helps organizations better understand the risks to their data by showing what a breakdown in any of those key areas would mean for the organization.