The world is slowly becoming increasingly digital. More interactions, processes, and procedures occur in the digital space than ever before. Vast amounts of data are gathered, stored, and used every day to create better business practices and to service consumers better.

Cyber systems have been at risk for cyber attacks or data breaches for years. This cyber threat is growing as quickly as the demand for better and more efficient services and business interactions.

Read on to find out what cybersecurity is, why it is crucial, and to get some tips on the best practices when it comes to cybersecurity.


What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It Important?

cybersecurity includes all the technologies, practices, and procedures put in place to keep computer systems, electronic data, and internet-connected devices safe from unauthorized access. This ensures that the confidentiality and integrity of data are kept while making it available to the intended users.

cybersecurity awareness is crucial to keep a company, its systems, and data safe from cybersecurity threats and lower the cyber risk. Companies need to consider the physical security and data security risks that should be addressed as part of their risk management and cybersecurity efforts.

Why Do We Keep Seeing So Many Cyber Breaches?

We are increasingly becoming a globally connected community. We are relying more and more on connected devices and data. Companies are requesting, sometimes even demanding, personal information from consumers. Our personal information is nearly always required, from ordering a pizza to having surgery.

With so much data stored, managed, and used, it is easy for someone with ill intent to access it and use it without our permission. The sensitive data companies store is especially attractive because there is so much of it. Once it is accessed, cybercriminals can use anyone's data to commit fraud or identity theft, gain access to various accounts, and incur massive amounts of debt in the victim's name.

What Are The 3 Pillars of Cybersecurity?

There are three pillars of a cybersecurity framework that need to be harnessed in order to limit security risks and make an organization's cyberspace as secure as possible. The three pillars that are fundamental to cybersecurity basics and need to form part of a company's cybersecurity policy are people, processes, and technology.

1. People

A massive 67% dates of breaches happened because of human error or stolen credentials. That makes people one of the biggest threats to an organization's cybersecurity. This includes the staff of a company as well as third parties – both individuals and organizations—that they may come in contact with.

Phishing is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats. Phishing is when an attacker gains their victim's trust and then manipulates them to provide personal information or login details. Phishing can happen personally, where the attacker befriends an individual, or the attacker could impersonate a trusted source like a banking institution or other well-established company. In these cases, a security breach could take place when an employee opens a link or attachment from a phishing email.

Staff should be well-trained to recognize the risks associated was clicking on links from emails or downloading attachments from untrustworthy sources.

Companies should ensure that their cybersecurity team members have all the necessary skills and security training to protect the company's cyberspace and to deal with an incident if it were to happen.

2. Processes

Processes involve having policies, procedures, and management systems in place to avoid a cybersecurity incident and how to best handle it if a breach were to occur. Employees should be clear on who is responsible for what when it comes to cybersecurity.

Processes should regularly be audited and reviewed to ensure that best practices are followed, and data and hardware are kept securely.

3. Technology

Technology refers to both the hardware and software that companies use in their cybersecurity efforts. This includes any AI-powered solutions that could detect, identify and even stop attacks before they occurred or soon after. Read more about best practices for AI/ML security here.

Cybersecurity Tips

There is never a guarantee that your company's data and systems will be completely safe from cyberattacks. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your cybersecurity risk and prevent cyber attacks:

  • Keep software and systems up to date with the latest versions.
  • Avoid opening emails from unknown or suspicious senders.
  • Do not click on links or download attachments from untrustworthy sources.
  • Encrypt data with secure file-sharing programs.
  • Install and use the latest version of antivirus and antimalware software.
  • Use firewalls and update them regularly.
  • Do not save your debit or credit card information online.
  • Stay up to date and make staff aware of the latest phishing attacks.
  • Be careful of the types of websites you visit.
  • Be selective of the files you download.
  • Only share information with people on social media that you personally know.
  • When using public Wi-Fi, use a VPN.
  • Avoid using the same passwords in multiple locations.
  • Ensure that you always use strong passwords.
  • Use a password manager tool to keep track of all your passwords.
  • Where possible, enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication.
  • Regularly remove adware from your devices.
  • Only visit secure websites. Do this by only visiting HTTPS websites.
  • Always scan external storage devices for viruses before using them.
  • Store important and sensitive information insecure places.
  • Where possible, avoid using public networks.
  • Always back up your important data.
  • Employ an ethical hacker if your cybersecurity teams need the attacker’s perspective.
  • Limit access to systems from remote devices.
  • Only provide relevant individuals with access to systems and only to the systems they need access to in order to do their jobs.
  • Consistently monitor third-party access to your data.
  • Regularly conduct cybersecurity audits.
  • Remove any redundant or unnecessary technology infrastructure.

How to Avoid Giving Away Personal Information on Social Media

Cybercriminals often use social media to gain valuable information about you that they can then use to gain access to your account and even steal your identity. Often, cybercriminals would build a profile of their target. They will then use search engines and social media to gather information they can then use to access accounts or impersonate their victim.

You don't necessarily need to outright give them the information. They might get it from things that you post. Sometimes cybercriminals would use online quizzes or surveys to gain information from you. Fun quizzes like “Which Disney Princess are you?” or “Where were you destined to live?” might not always be as innocent as they seem. Hackers could plant potentially dangerous questions among the innocent ones to obtain critical information from you.

Any information like your date of birth, your favorite movie, or even your pet's name could be used to deduce passwords or answers to security questions which can then be used to gain access to various accounts.

Your date of birth and address are often used to verify you when engaging with entities like banks. Suppose this information is freely available on social media. In that case, scammers could use it to impersonate you and gain access to your accounts.

To avoid providing hackers with private information, set your social media accounts to private. This way, only people you authorize can view your posts and activity.

Cybersecurity is crucial to keeping a company, its customers, and its data safe. While there is never a guarantee, putting specific processes and procedures in place can help companies make their cyberspace more secure.

Training employees on the best practices for cybersecurity, putting strong and relevant processes and procedures in place, and using up-to-date and dedicated technologies could be the three pillars on which to base a company's cybersecurity.

RiskRecon, a Mastercard company, could help answer any questions you may have about cybersecurity best practices. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and feel the difference that peace of mind gives.