Today marks the beginning of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Every day in October, we will share cybersecurity safety and security tips. Check out today’s tip below!

Tip #1: Understand current weaknesses so you can build a solid cyber program

Organizations with ad hoc or missing controls find it much harder to identify and address threats to their key systems and sensitive information.

The negative press that results from a data breach can damage your organization’s reputation and stunt your growth, as well as impact your customers’ confidence and drive them to your competitors. And it doesn’t stop there. The monetary consequences are even harsher when you consider the regulatory judgments and fines that could also result from a data breach.

When you build a formal information and cybersecurity program and risk management structure, you enable your employees to more effectively respond to cybersecurity events to keep your organization and its data secure.

Next steps
• Perform an information and cybersecurity program assessment: This assessment will help you understand and improve your risk exposure by identifying and addressing threats, risks and gaps in your security controls.• Conduct a vulnerability assessment: Thoroughly analyze all computers and applications to identify software with known security issues or that is out of date. Review network infrastructure and firewalls to identify security misconfigurations. Use findings from this assessment to build a remediation plan to fix any identified security weaknesses.
• Adopt a formal structure: This will enable you to focus program developments in logical categories to help employees better understand and adopt the formal program.
• Obtain top-down support: By gaining top-down support for the program, you can better develop an organization-wide culture that embraces the role all staff and management play in supporting a comprehensive security program.
• Develop comprehensive policies and procedures: Develop policies, based on the results of your program assessment, that are specific to your organization, and use those comprehensive policies to guide the development of formal standards and procedures.
• Train subject matter experts: These SMEs can help you implement policies, standards and procedures and encourage adoption among employees.
• Develop an audit and reporting plan: This provides feedback to your management team that information and cybersecurity governance expectations are being met at the operational and technical levels.