The data regarding cybersecurity risks should worry you. CISCO’s Cybersecurity Special Report says midmarket companies are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattack, with 53% reporting a data breach each year. Experian predicts that both wireless carriers and cloud providers will be hacked this year, saying it’s not a matter of if but when. Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report says there were 2,216 data breaches and over 53,000 cybersecurity incidents in 65 countries as of March 2018.

Hackers, it seems, are on a roll — and as the threats multiply, companies are increasingly scrambling to thrust and parry the onslaught. Although you can’t eliminate all risk, you can mitigate the worst threats and increase the chance of keeping your data secure this year.

Understanding cybersecurity risks in 2019

The United States Cybersecurity Magazine spelled out its predictions for 2019 — which are enough to make even the most jaded IT security specialist do a double take. The list of threats this year include:

  • Insecure application programming interfaces (APIs) are an effective bridge between applications. However, by their very nature, APIs are designed for multiple end users.
  • Malware will continue to threaten this year, particularly from phishing, which is nothing new — but removable media, file sharing, and bundled software can all open Pandora’s box and put your data at risk.
  • Single-factor passwords are the weakest link in the security verification process. They are inherently flawed from a security perspective, but they’re the default for most applications.
  • Internet of things (IoT) devices that use the internet to capture data from hardware devices often have architectural flaws that create security risks.

With this proliferation of risks, how can companies lessen the chance of a big data breach in 2019?

Mitigate risk with a security assessmen

The first step toward plugging a hole in your security perimeter is to find the gap. Conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment is the digital equivalent of walking your property’s fence line. It’s a crucial part of any IT security strategy to prepare for the coming threat. These assessments should include:

  • Identifying the external and internal risks of a cyberbreach. This could include end-user internal error or adversarial exploitations by external hackers.
  • Identifying the impact if these vulnerabilities are exploited. When it comes to cyberterrorism, if you can imagine it, so have hackers. Listing every potential point of vulnerability is the first step toward shoring up your defenses.
  • Determining your response to these threat events, including assessing how likely each threat is — and what you’ll do about it if it occurs.

There are numerous steps within each of these three categories designed to define, rate, and respond to security risks you may not even know exist — until the breach occurs. While it’s impossible to think that you’ll be able to mitigate all of your risks, the cybersecurity risk assessment will go a long way toward increasing the chance that you won’t be the latest victim.

Conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment

Conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment is vital. Such an assessment should be conducted at least annually to determine your risks and exposure. A third-party vendor can provide a set of fresh eyes to validate your risks and to give you an independent view. Taking ownership of your risk assessment will help you spot holes in your defenses before a breach occurs — and managing your remediation efforts is the most important aspect of your risk assessment.

It’s important to note that a cybersecurity risk assessment is never a one-off task; the risks constantly evolve with the technology we leverage. Your risk assessment analysis should be a living document that you continually update. Finding the right IT security partner for 2019 is a necessary step toward creating a culture of cybersecurity that can evolve with the latest threats.

Contact the experienced team at SecureNation. We are the vigilant cybersecurity experts you need to stay safe in the digital world.

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