The Importance of Information Security in Your Chicago Business

Strengthening Your Security Posture Is Super Important

Technology is evolving almost every single day, giving cybercriminals new ways to sneak into your systems and do whatever they want.

As you can see, the importance of information security is something that cannot be overstated.

The thing is that consumer data collection still remains one of the most important parts of companies' marketing efforts around the globe, and information is a basic building block of every company, making cyber security now more important than ever. 

That's why AJTC has pulled together this article. We want to show you why information security is important, how to keep your data secure, and what common security threats you need to keep an eye on.

What is information security?

Information security is a complex process of implementing security strategies and practices to prevent unauthorized access and keep data safe. It helps companies counter online threats, protect client confidentiality, and minimize disruption and downtime.

InfoSec (another name for information security) is currently one of the most popular and diverse topics in the world. It includes everything from auditing and testing to network and monitoring it infrastructure.

In general, we have two main types of information: digital and physical. However, in today's digital and fast-paced world, people no longer hire security guards or keep files in safes to protect their stuff.

Find Out What Is Information Security

Why is information security so important?

Weak cyber security can lead to vital data being stolen or lost, poor customer experience, and reputational damage. Cybersecurity attacks, fraud, and data breaches are all becoming common. Wondering why so? Because we rely on technology for everything.

Let's take a quick peek at several reasons for companies to implement cyber security measures, practices, and systems:

#1 Threats are very common

You can see almost every day in the news that someone has been hacked. Identity theft, intellectual property theft, data extortion, viruses, and worms are just the tip of the iceberg. You have no idea how many different ways hackers have at their disposal to break into your network.

#2 Data breaches can ruin/close your business

A security breach can take different forms. Guess what? All of them are super costly. Even worse, if you do not comply with regulatory requirements, you will end up paying huge fines, making it hard for you to cope financially with all the other problems that might pop out of the blue.

#3 State-sponsored attacks

There's no doubt that some governments sponsor hacker groups to help them start affairs in other countries or disrupt something they don't like. For example, one of the greatest cyberattacks ever was made by hackers sponsored by Russians. They sneaked into the systems of thousands of US organizations and did terrible things over a period of eight to nine months in 2020.

#4 Internet of Things - IoT

Smart houses, smartwatches, and smartphones are just a few examples of IoT consumer items in charge of controlling everything from door locks over ACs to lightning. Those software and sensors you use to control things around you make it super easy for hackers to break into them and start playing with your life.

#5 Cyber attacks increase during challenging times

We are not saying here that information security is not important at all times, but its importance increases during emergency times. The best example is the global pandemic in 2020, when cyber-attacks and data breaches doubled. Almost 9 out of 10 companies were harmed because of the wide adoption of remote work devices and software.

#6 Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated

Hackers are getting better day by day - they are becoming more sophisticated. Unlike before, nowadays, hackers don't have to put in as much time and effort as before to hack someone because of technological advancement. Besides that, they exchange information between themselves and form communities to be more organized.

Our Security Experts Reveal How To Protect Your Chicago Business

What are the possible consequences of a lack of InfoSec?

Weak information security can lead to many problems, including:

#1 Operational disruptions

The first thing that hackers will do after entering your system is blackmail/ransom (right after they block/disable your data, systems, or anything else important to your business.) To isolate and prevent further damage, companies have to shut down their systems, leading to long and costly downtime. Even worse, without basic disaster recovery and data backup processes, business owners risk spending weeks or months to get their businesses back on their feet. 

#2 Legal ramifications

Data breaches involving prospects, partners, and clients might lead to expensive lawsuits. The last thing you need is a lawsuit. Lawsuits have been widely reported in the last few years in business and tech news. In short, it can affect your business in the following ways:

  • Repeating hefty and unplanned legal fees
  • Reputational damage / reducing the attractiveness of your company in the eyes of prospective customers
  • Showing in negative news
  • Lowering trust and confidence levels of clients

#3 Financial loss

The financial impact of having weak information security varies depending on the type of attack. However, here are some general points to think about: client compensation, share price decline, efforts to contain a breach or attack, fines, and legal fees. When it comes to the long-term consequences of data breaches, they often include decreased sales and client abandonment.

What Are The Current Threats And Challenges?

What are the different types of information security threats?

AJTC has lined up 6 top threats in information security so you can combat them:

#1 Social engineering

Social engineering attacks happen when criminals trick employees into doing certain harmful actions like revealing secret information or ignoring security measures to get access to your system or sensitive data. One of the common social engineering methods is a phishing attack.

#2 Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are made with one single purpose - to lock up your important files and then ask for ransomware. So, if you want hackers to release your files, you'll have to pay first (although there's no guarantee you will get your files back.) The ransomware attack can result in data loss, lost productivity, reputational damage, and financial losses.

#3 Patch management

There are so many ways hackers can get into your systems. Any vulnerability or security gap can be exploited. That being said, business owners must be super cautious about patch management. They must ensure the software is regularly updated to the latest version.

#4 Malware

Malware is a type of harmful software designed to sneak into your company's system and wreak havoc on your software, data, information, and much more, leaving you hopeless. It can disrupt everything you have and expose your confidential files in public.

#5 Third-party exposure

Each and every company has third-party providers helping them. However, they must be trusted to handle your important and sensitive data securely and confidentially. This means that if a vendor has a data breach, they should be capable of controlling the situation to prevent data loss. In short, they should treat your data security seriously.

#6 Security gaps

Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and can exploit absolutely any flaw in your system. It's even worse if you add to that older technology, human mistakes due to lack of cyber security training, and unsecured networks. A comprehensive risk assessment plan could help you a lot to close security gaps and prevent most threats.

How do you move forward?

Implementing the latest information security practices and measures can protect your information and technology by detecting, preventing, and immediately responding to threats whether they be internal or external.

However, that's easier said than done. Wondering why so? Then keep reading.

Security Efforts Will Only Be Successful If You Train Your Team

Let's figure out where to begin

#1 Information security means more than having modern technology

Let's make one thing crystal clear - most people confuse information security and IT security. They use these terms interchangeably. However, this is not technically correct. Your technology is responsible for ensuring the accessibility of your infrastructure, while information security is in charge of securing the installed systems.

The thing is that you need to find the optimum balance between them to ensure the success of your modern digital organization.

#2 Develop an effective information security policy

Security policies and any other regulatory requirement could serve you as the North Star for your activities in information security. You should cover different aspects, including what needs to be done, what needs to be available, and how and when it should be done.

#3 Information security has to be tightly connected to your company's risk management

Everything you do regarding security should be based on how you control risk in your environment. An effective risk management system is one of the best ways for companies to protect their services and valuable information.

#4 Set the management responsibilities

Well, although this one is obvious, we have to mention it. Your management is always responsible for your security. They are the ones who have the authority to make decisions and address security threats.

#5 Reassess procedures and processes

There are no limitations when it comes to ensuring the security of your business information and operations, whether stored on a piece of paper or a computer. Start with simple processes and routines, like who has access to systems and information.

Cybersecurity starts with critical thinking

Starting with it optimization strategy, easy-to-implement practices and measures. Expanding from there is one of the best ways to build bulletproof information security. The points we have covered so far are essential. However, they are only a foundation. If you still need assistance, AJTC is here to help and protect your company in the long run.

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