As the new year begins, many of us are making resolutions or simply making sure we have our lives and businesses in order. Security continues to be a hot topic for 2016 and with more businesses operating online than ever before, security is becoming a digital concern. Ensuring the safety of the details of your business and above all else, your customers, must be an absolute priority for the new year.
As we think about the up-and-coming security trends in 2016, here are 7 top security questions to ask yourself before jumping in to anything new:
1. Can we answer security concern questions from our customers?
Trust is the number one thing customers look for when purchasing online. If they feel more secure elsewhere, that is where they will shop — regardless of product offering or price. Knowing that you have all bases covered brings not only peace of mind for yourself, but your customers. Security seals or logos are a great option for reassuring shoppers that they can enter their card details with confidence. In addition, contact options reassure shoppers that if there is a problem with their order they can get in touch easily.
2. How reliable are my security measures and security systems?
Check for up-to-date firewalls, antivirus and malware protection software on all Internet-connected devices. All software should be licensed and updated as soon as there is a program update available. In addition, companies should be regularly conduct vulnerability assessments of websites, applications and networks.
3. Are our employees properly trained in security awareness?
Employees make decisions every day that can negatively affect their business’s security. In order to protect organizations, employees should be trained to be aware of current security issues that can affect their daily responsibilities. Employee awareness is not a one-time activity, it must be an ongoing event. Training sessions could be in the form of email memos, group meetings or one-on-one appointments. Whatever the setting, training needs to be well thought out and considerate of the fact that sometimes, you’re working with people outside your industry.
4. Who is accountable for protecting our critical information?
While the increase of cybercriminal activity may be common knowledge, it still may be difficult to communicate the true implications of a breach to your board. It is important to put the implications in terms they can understand and showcase that by increasing your information and network security efforts, it will ultimately protect your organization’s private and critical data. Leading companies employ CISOs who focus on securing critical data across the organization and ensuring that security is a consideration at the outset of new business.
5. How do we evaluate the effectiveness of our security program?
Many organizations don’t track metrics such as spending on security administration or actively monitor their logs for signs of breaches. Companies that track indicators like these are able to benchmark their programs, as well as establish internal assessments to help them determine where to increase spending and where to cut.
6. What is our plan for responding to a security breach?
An effective plan can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a serious blow to a company’s reputation. Maybe you have created a great disaster recovery plan in the event of a security attack, but is it user-friendly? Disaster recovery plans contain a lot of unknowns, which means they must be flexible in order to be effective. Your plan needs to be based on what you know, what you can predict based on thoughtful analysis and a few key elements that keep your business thriving.
7. Are we spending our money on the right things?
A study from 2015 found that 75% of CIOs plan to invest even more in cybersecurity this year as it is a top concern. Although this increase in spending and attention on cyber attack prevention is a step in the right direction, many companies are spending their resources without really understanding the best practices and tools to prevent breaches within their company. While it is smart to be purchasing cyber security systems for an organization, businesses should set realistic expectations for IT staff resources, and budget the department accordingly to minimize the problems of underutilized security programs.
Asking the right questions can help frame the entire conversation of security in your organization to help uncover the best solutions and practices.