Cyber Security advice

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Cybersecurity: Do you have it covered?

Marie Spanswick - Tuesday, July 19, 2016


A proactive mindset gives organisations the best chance of successfully protecting all its valuable data from hackers or criminal or careless insiders.

Here is some guidance on the questions to ask yourself about your own information and cyber security which might help uncover your own strengths and weaknesses.

1. Do you know where all your sensitive or valuable data is held? Who has access to it? How is it protected? Are you prepared for the consequences of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)?

Companies spend many millions on collecting information on customers, and their sophisticated buying habits, because the knowledge gives you a competitive edge.

Your devices and computer systems hold sensitive customer data, your financial projections, your new business leads. But where is it all held, every piece of it, every copy of it? Who has access to it? How is it protected? How do you make sure only the people you want access to it, can access it - where ever it is?

Large and small organisations can find it hard to answer these questions, especially if there is slack administration of rights management and people can save data to their own hard drives, or devices.

This priceless data needs extra layers of protection. But you must first know where your ‘crown jewels’ are held to understand your risk and be able to protect them properly.

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into force in May 2018 and bring with it new enhanced requirements for data protection of personal or sensitive data. This includes being able to delete all the information you have on someone if they make a reasonable request and the need to report a data breach to a regulator within days of discovery.

Organisations that break the rules can face a fine of up to 4% of their global turnover.

Things to consider

Products such as Nuix Information Governance and Guidance Risk Manager can discover exactly where all your valuable data is held, help you assess your risk and move it to more secure locations. Security software such as Seclore FileSecure can protect your information when it’s inside (and outside) your network.


2. Do your teams use laptops, tablets, smartphones, memory sticks etc to connect to your email systems or network (through WiFi, USB or even power chargers)? Do you have endpoint protection?

85% of exploits detected in 2014 were third party plug-ins (such as downloaded software or apps).

Things to consider

This problem can be solved with software such as Avecto Defendpoint, which protects 400m laptops, smartphones and tablets worldwide. This includes 1.2m endpoints at the world's largest banks, the computers and devices owned by 75 government agencies, nine major aerospace leaders and three highly secretive F1 teams.

You can download a security snapshot of 2015 threats here too.


3. Do you know that you haven’t already been breached and information hasn't already been stolen? Do you know that a threat isn't sat on your systems waiting to be triggered? Have you been overwhelmed by alerts and false positives?

Security breaches are often only discovered long after hackers have had access to your systems. On average, a company finds out they've had a data breach some 170 days after it's happened. And the longer a threat sits on the system, the more damage it can do and the more data it can steal.

Things to consider

Advanced threat protection systems – such as Damballa - look inwards onto your network to check for suspicious behaviour. This breach-ready approach cuts down threat discovery time to minutes rather than months...which in turn reduces the impact and cost of a systems breach.

This kind of detection system doesn't need to know the name of the threat, it just needs to spot the unusual or suspicious behaviour. It also minimises your risk by reducing the amount of time wasted chasing security alerts and following false positives.


3. How do you manage email security? It is still one of the main routes in for malware and, increasingly, ransomware (where cybercriminals lock up or delete your data unless you pay a ransom).

Up to 94% of threats come through email attachments, but most of us can't do business without using them. Traditional perimeter methods often let these threats kinds of threats through. Ransomware is a growth area for cybercriminals.

Things to consider

There is new (relatively inexpensive but very effective) technology available now - such Glasswall - which strips away all the risky elements from an email attachment and leaves all the safe stuff...and gives freedom and security both at the same time.


4. Do you have plans to deal with a breach if it happens? How will you find out what has been taken and by whom? Have you explored cyber insurance?

Things to consider

As for all crisis planning, it's better to do the thinking in slow time, in advance, than try and do it all when you're in the thick of it.

By having a plan in place in case a data breach gives you the best chance of limiting the impact on your business. You could make it an inconvenience rather than a business crippling event.

Cyber insurance is still developing but it could give you the financial cushion you need to get back on your feet quickly. Digital forensics will also help you find out what has happened and who is responsible, so it is easier to stop it happening again.


Find out more

There is a lot more we could say but if these questions have generated more questions of your own, please just get in touch.

We can help you assess your current levels of protection and discover some of the practices and products available to help you become more secure, and protect your customers, business and reputation.

Call us now on 01296 621121 or email: Ruth.Edmonds@Avatu.co.uk to start the conversation.

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