What is cyber security?
Cyber security is a term used to describe the protection of electronic and computer networks, programs and data against criminal or unauthorised access. Maintaining a high standard of security is essential to protect critical systems and data against cyber-attacks.
With today’s cyber threats more sophisticated and persistent than ever, businesses are finding it increasingly challenging to defend against them. This makes it essential to approach cyber security as a continuous journey, involving regular assessments and appropriate investment in people and controls.
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- Where to start with cyber security
With a huge range of cyber security solutions available, it can be difficult to know which ones offer the best protection. Organisations looking to better understand their security posture and where to invest should consider commissioning a vulnerability scan or penetration test to identify weaknesses.
The Cyber Essentials certification scheme is a useful mechanism to help businesses achieve a base level of cyber security assurance and demonstrate to employees, partners, customers and investors that cyber security is taken seriously.
- Who needs cyber security?
With the threat landscape evolving at an unprecedented rate, no organisation is immune to cyber-attacks. Regardless of size or sector, all businesses need cyber security to protect their employees, customers and partners, and any organisation that neglects it is making itself an easy target.
- Why is cyber security necessary?
Cyber security protects critical assets and confidential data. A cyber security breach can be hugely damaging for any organisation’s finances and reputation. Legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means that organisations face significant penalties if they fail to take security seriously.
- How to improve cyber security
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to protect an organisation against all cyber threats. To make genuine, lasting improvements to cyber security, a strong blend of technology, expertise and processes is required.
While preventative security controls such as firewalls and antivirus software are a solid first line of defence, proactive network and endpoint monitoring is increasingly important to improve visibility of threats that bypass these defences. Regular security assessments such as vulnerability scanning and pen testing are also important in order to identify and address weaknesses before they can be exploited by attackers.
- Who is responsible for an organisation’s cyber security?
In a large enterprise, a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Security Officer (CSO) are the employees with overall responsibility for cybersecurity. In smaller organisations, the responsibility commonly lies with an IT Director, Head of IT or IT Manager.
Regardless of organisation size, no one person or team should shoulder the entire burden of ensuring an organisation’s cyber security. All employees have a responsibility to raise awareness and follow recommended procedures and practices.
- What are cyber security vulnerabilities?
Cyber security vulnerabilities are weaknesses in an organisation’s technology, people and processes that could allow hackers to obtain access to critical assets and data. Vulnerabilities can include flaws in unpatched software, weak passwords, insecure system configurations, and poor email security protocols.
- What are the potential cyber security threats?
As attackers become increasingly persistent and well-funded, and the workplace is transformed by cloud services, remote working and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the number of threats targeting organisations is multiplying. Common cyber security threats include hacking, malware, social engineering, brute-force attacks and denial-of service attacks.
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An analysis of over a billion breached credentials has revealed that one in every 142 people uses the password '123456', increasing their vulnerability to hackers.