Compliance Does Not Equal Security

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Cybersecurity is a growing risk factor in all industries within the U.S. and worldwide. Cyber attacks are increasing in sophistication and magnitude of impact across all market sectors globally. According to a recent report issued by the U.S. Security Exchange Commission (SEC), the average cost of a cyber data breach is $7.5 million and is continually increasing in value year over year.

It is vital for any organization’s leadership to ensure they fully understand both the value of the information assets they possess, and the level of cyber threat and vulnerability the company is facing. Plus, every organization’s leadership must understand their real probability of a significant data breach, in order to determine the potential financial impact of the company’s cybersecurity preparedness or lack thereof.

The reality today is many companies have relied too much on conducting just a cybersecurity compliance checklist assessment, often using either some generic cybersecurity standard, or an industry-based cybersecurity risk assessment framework, i.e. ISO 27001 (Multi-national organizations), NYDFS (NY-based Financial Services), AICPA-SOC (Accounting Services), PCI (Retail – Payment Card Industry), HIPAA (Healthcare Services), or NIST (Government/Defense/ Critical Infrastructure). While these cybersecurity compliance assessments are good tools to evaluate the current state of cybersecurity policies, plans, and procedures vs. industry standards in order to identify gaps – they alone are insufficient to ensure real cybersecurity.

The focus of this article is to highlight the appropriate actions organizations can take both before a cyber data breach and after a cyber data breach to mitigate the potential negative impacts and optimize business performance results. It is essential for all companies to take the following cybersecurity actions as appropriate for their respective industry, size, and complexity of their information systems, including:

BEFORE THE BREACH (PROACTIVE CYBERSECURITY ACTIONS):

  • Work with Hancock Askew’s IT Risk Assurance & Advisory experts to perform the following key cyber diagnostic actions:
    • Conduct an email cyber threat assessment
    • Perform a network cyber threat assessment
    • Conduct an internal vulnerabilities assessment of the enterprise network
    • Perform penetration testing services, including: Spear Phishing and Spoofing campaigns based upon social media analysis
  • Conduct a Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage adequacy evaluation to discover what is covered and what is not covered, and understand the cost of cybersecurity remediation actions vs. the cost of the cyber insurance premium
  • Provide a Cybersecurity Awareness Education and Training program for all employees to develop a real cybersecurity culture
  • Hire an independent company to gather cyber threat intelligence services, including:
    • Conduct a Dark Web Analysis for the company, key personnel, and selected supply chain partners
    • Conduct a Social Media Analysis of the company and key personnel
    • Conduct an extensive Internet Search of the company and key personnel
  • Perform appropriate email, network, and endpoint Monitoring, Detection, and Response (MDR) services either with internal Information Technology department team members (using purchased company hardware and software) or outsourcing to a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) for Managed Security Operations Center (SOC) services, Security Incident & Event Management (SIEM) services, Endpoint Management Services, and Incident Response Services, or some combination of the above.

All cybersecurity actions taken should be focused on identifying potential negative or damaging information, which could lead to cyber vulnerabilities including: ransom, malware, ransomware, spear-phishing, spoofing, and other attack modes.

AFTER THE CYBER DATA BREACH (REACTIVE CYBERSECURITY ACTIONS)

Take the following cybersecurity remediation actions as necessary and appropriate:

  • Conduct Incident Response necessary to contain, mitigate further damages, and eradicate malicious software
  • Investigate the source(s) of the cyber attack(s) and data breach
  • Replace corrupted hardware and software as required
  • Scan the entire network for viruses
  • Prepare a cyber insurance claim as needed
  • Hire an independent firm to conduct a post-breach investigation
  • Evaluate Incident Response to the data breach to identify areas for improvement
  • Enhance IT technical operations and staffing
  • Provide cybersecurity education and training to employees as needed
  • Engage or replace the Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) to provide managed monitoring detection & incident response services – 24x7x365
  • Assess third-party vendor cyber risks
  • Conduct periodic vulnerability assessments
  • Perform penetration testing
  • Ensure timely software patch management program
  • Develop a multi-layer cyber defense program with encryption
  • Implement multi-factor authentication
  • Develop an Incident Response Plan
  • Conduct Incident Response Exercises
  • Ensure Business Continuity Plan
  • Practice Disaster Recovery Plan

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