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The Power of Prevention: Why Businesses Should Embrace Cyber Security as Their First Line of Defence

Prevention is better than cure. This statement seems somewhat familiar to all of us when we hear it, but rarely is it thought of in a cyber security sense.

In cyberspace, the prevention of cyber threats is always better than repairing breach-induced damages. As an IT services provider for businesses across London and the south east, we’re here to argue why businesses should leverage the ‘power of prevention’ and adopt best cyber security practices as the first line of defence. 

Cyber Security as Prevention to Data Breaches 

When people consider cyber security, they usually think of it in the realm of curing the pain. For example, they install anti-virus software only when there’s a malicious file in their systems. Or they use a VPN only when their access to certain content gets blocked. 

These are preventative measures. The damage has already been done in varying degrees. 

A better approach to cyber security is to think of it in the realm of prevention. The idea of prevention being better than cure has been around for centuries, and when it’s applied to data breach costs and the scale of cyber attacks, the relevance of the phrase becomes apparent. 

Even back in 2018, Hiscox discovered that although most attacks fail in the UK, a small business was hacked in the UK every 19 seconds. The annual data breach rate for small businesses that they extrapolated this statistic from back then (30%), remains consistent with the latest stats from the UK government (31-32%); with the average explicit cost of a cyber attack being £1’100 for micro-small businesses. 

Best Cyber Security Practices to Prevent Data Breaches 

Having established the imperative of cyber security as the first line of defence, you need a pragmatic roadmap to embark on your cyber security journey. 

Here’s a comprehensive roadmap you can adopt for your small or mid-sized business: 

  • Move operations to the Cloud 

If you haven’t already, moving your operations to the cloud is the first step. Many small businesses, including businesses that approach us in London and surrounding areas like Essex and Sussex, still utilise on-premise systems for their day-to-day operations. 

While there are benefits to on-premises systems, they’re often costly to run. In contrast, cloud infrastructure is considered lean and flexible in terms of pricing, and contrary to the myth, need not be less secure than an on-premises setup.  

Moreover, cloud makes your IT infrastructure easier to manage. 

  • Start with a Risk Assessment 

After you’re in the cloud, the next step is to conduct a risk assessment. 

This serves as the foundation for developing a targeted and effective cyber security strategy. Then, you prioritise the security measures and customise the service to your case. 

So, undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to identify vulnerabilities and prioritise areas for improvement. Clearly define the scope of the risk assessment, including the systems, assets, and processes to be evaluated. This ensures a focused and comprehensive analysis. 

As a best practice, conduct such end-to-end assessments regularly, ideally monthly or quarterly. 

  • Secure network infrastructure 

The risk assessment should detail the areas you need to secure. 

So start with implementing secure network configurations, including firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS). Firewalls act as a protective barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external networks, filtering incoming and outgoing traffic based on predetermined security rules. Likewise, IDS monitors network traffic for malicious activities or security policy violations. 

Ransomware and phishing are among the most prevalent cyber threats facing businesses today, your network infrastructure is a critical asset for preventing these threats from materialising into an attack on your business.  

  • Keep the infrastructure updated 

Software changes continually. So, the versions you use today may become outdated and vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, you need to update your IT infrastructure. 

Regularly updating the IT infrastructure involves applying patches, updates, and security fixes to software, operating systems, and applications. This is critical for addressing known vulnerabilities and improving the company’s overall security posture. 

The decision to move to the cloud makes updating simple, even automated. 

  • Adopt the Least Privilege Principle 

The least privilege principle is a security concept that restricts user and system accounts to the minimum levels of access necessary to perform their tasks. This limits the potential damage caused by accidental or intentional misuse of privileges. 

IAM (Identity and Access Management), RBAC (Role-Based Access Management), and JIT (Just-in-Time) Privilege Access are some of the least privileges frameworks you can follow. 

  • Develop an incident response plan 

An incident response plan details what to do once a breach occurs. Despite advanced security measures, data breaches still occur. You can establish mechanisms for promptly detecting and reporting security incidents, whether through automated tools, employee reports, or external sources. 

This proactive strategy ensures an organisation can effectively respond to and recover from security breaches. 

Implement the Power of Prevention Today 

Cyber security is not a set-it-and-forget-it undertaking. You need to keep pace with the evolving nature of cyber threats. With proactive measures and the ‘prevention’ mindset, you can stay ahead in the game. Contact us today to learn more.

Not sure where you stand against cyber threats? Claim your Free Cyber Health Report to understand the lay of the land with cyber protection in your business.