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Cyber attacks are one of the biggest causes of concern today. The number of cases has been on the rise and is predicted to continue growing rapidly. This problem has been given the name’Cyber warfare’ because of its effect on our society. It is therefore imperative that businesses understand the risk and how to deal with it.
In order to understand what exactly cyber security is and why it is important for small businesses, it is necessary to have an understanding of what cyber attacks are. A cyber attack occurs when a person or an organisation penetrates a network or computer system and gains access to information. This can be for any reason which includes sabotage, malicious intent and even war. Cyber attacks are carried out by a person who is trained in the use of computer software, either for malicious purposes or just for curiosity. The methods of gaining access may include breaking into a computer system or planting bugs or worms so that they are able to gain access to information that can be used maliciously.
Common types of cyber attacks
- Man-in-the-middle attack.
- Denial-of-service attack.
- SQL injection.
- Zero-day exploit.
- DNS Tunneling.
There are several laws and regulations in place around the world to prevent this type of activity, and it would not be acceptable for any business to conduct business without using the existing safeguards available to them. Using the existing Cybersecurity Enhancement Processes (C Summers) as well as additional controls are a good practice for any company to follow. Cybersecurity experts agree that it is absolutely essential for companies and organisations to implement these controls and it is in compliance with the EU directive on Cybersecurity along with the Information Security Directive. There are a number of risks associated with cyber attacks; however the increased threat level posed by digitally engaged criminals will only rise in the future. By implementing good cyber security practices, it is possible to reduce the risk to the business and reduce the costs and damage caused by cyber attacks.
Information Security Management
Implementing Information Security Management (ISM) is another element of cyber security that companies can utilise to prevent the risk of further attacks and to minimise the potential impact if one was to occur. There are a number of ways in which this can be implemented. One of the ways is to use controls at the data centre to ensure that there are sufficient levels of storage and that data is not accessed directly from the systems by anyone other than the company itself. Through information security management, it is possible to find the activity of the individual users of systems, to stop them before they do anything that is unethical, such as disclosing information that could lead to the exposure of company secrets or attack systems in a way that could have a negative impact on the systems.
IT Risk Management
Another way companies can minimise the risk of cyber security threats is through developing an IT Risk Management (ITMR). The main aim of the ITMR is to identify the threats, evaluate the risk and then develop strategies to mitigate the risk. Information security experts agree that there are three elements to a good ITMR strategy. This includes identification of the risk, conducting a risk assessment and developing a control strategy. Once the risk has been identified, the next step will be to conduct an analysis of that risk to identify the different types of risk and develop an effective solution. In addition, the ITMR needs to be reviewed periodically to ensure that the objectives are still being achieved.
A third element of a good IT Risk Management is to conduct a continuous monitoring programme. Many of the attacks that result in serious damage to computer systems are not detected for hours or even days before they cause significant problems. This means that the organisation might have missed an opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, to avoid paying out compensation for legal issues and so on. Continuous monitoring helps to catch these attacks early before they have time to do serious damage. Companies can also minimise the risk of common cyber attacks by developing a common cyber defence strategy. This involves the use of prevention measures, information security standards, sharing of information between organisations and the implementation of effective polices.
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