Exposures and cybersecurity challenges can turn out to be costly, according to statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 861 breaches of protected health information have been reported over the last 24 months. New research from RiskRecon and the Cyentia Institute pinpointed risk in third-party healthcare supply chain and showed that healthcare’s high exposure rate indicates that managing a comparatively small Internet footprint is a big challenge for many organizations in … More →
The European Union’s Parliament approved and adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April 2016. This regulation will take effect after a two-year transitional period, meaning it will be fully enforced on May 25, 2018. At this time, if organizations are non-compliant, they will face hefty fines. There is a tiered approach to these fines; however, at a maximum an organization can be charged 4% of annual global turnover or 20 million euros ($23,554,200).
The GDPR applies to all organizations that process and hold the personal information of EU residents, regardless of the company’s location. To exemplify, the regulation pertains to all organizations located within the EU, as well as organizations that are located outside of the EU that offer good, services, or observe the behavior of EU citizens. These rules also apply to both controllers and processors of information, meaning that the cloud and other technologies are not exempt from the GDPR.
If information can be used to identify a person, directly or indirectly, it is protected under the GDPR. This includes but is not limited to names, email addresses, financials, medical data, and computer IPs.
Steps to take to prepare for the GDPR:
Perform a compliance audit against the GDPR legal framework to identify where gaps exist, then work to remediate these shortcomings.
Classify the personal data your organization possesses that is protected by the GDPR and implement the appropriate security measures. This includes understanding what information you have, where it came from, who it is shared with, and who has access to it.
Appoint a data protection officer for your organization.
Document all processes and keep a record for the Data Protection Association (DPA) in the country or countries your organization conducts business.
Make sure the appropriate contracts are in place to protect your organization and ensure that the businesses you engage with are employing the same security measures.
Infringements of the GDPR include:
Not having sufficient customer consent to process personal information.
Not having records in order.
Violating the “Privacy by Design” and “Privacy by Default” concepts.
Failing to notify the data subject and the supervising authority about a breach or incident.
Not conducting an impact assessment.
Altogether, the GDPR is the most important change to data privacy regulations in decades. It is intended to make organizations more secure and accountable to their data subjects during all stages of their interactions. For more questions or to implement GDPR standards in your organization, please CONTACT US.
Cyber security controls are only effective if there are no means of bypassing them. If a vulnerability exists that enables someone or something to circumvent your organization’s existing set of security standards, your whole network could then be compromised. With the rise of cybercriminals targeting known vulnerabilities on unpatched systems, especially through worms and malicious code, implementing a patch management system in your organization is critical to maintaining a strong security posture.
Patch management is the routine procedure of administering updates for all technologically based products and programs, primarily applications and operating system versions. The goal is to create a securely configured digital environment in your organization that is consistently protected against all known vulnerabilities.
To be successful, patch management must be an ongoing process in which your system administrator or managed services provider:
Maintains knowledge of available patches.
Determines what patches are appropriate for the specific systems.
Prioritizes the patches and protects your most critical vulnerabilities first.
Tests the patches on non-critical systems before installation.
Performs backups before installing a patch.
Installs patches and makes sure they work properly.
Tests the systems after installation.
Documents all installed patches and the processes utilized.
Patch management is a critically important aspect of cyber security risk management because outbreaks like WannaCry occur because of unpatched vulnerabilities being exploited. In an organization with hundreds of systems, it only takes one compromised system to then harm the entire network. Altogether, in the technological world, there is rarely, if ever, a software or application that is developed without having to be modified or upgraded. As a result, a process must be implemented to distribute patches and remediate known vulnerabilities.
If you would like to discuss patch management in your organization, please CONTACT US.
Although National Cyber Security Awareness Month is coming to a close, COMPASS maintains a commitment to raising cyber security awareness throughout the year. The following are this year’s top blog posts that demonstrate ways to implement cyber security risk management in your organization and minimize the threats you may face.
Cyber security threats arguably pose the greatest danger to an organization’s risk management strategy. Risk managers should leverage their organization’s existing risk governance processes and methodologies to effectively analyze and manage cyber threats.
Although COMPASS’ client base is highly diverse, there are common findings we encounter on almost every single engagement. They are grouped by our approach to cyber security risk management which focuses on the 3 pillars of cyber security – people, policy and technology.
It is important for organizations to regularly assess not only their technical infrastructure, but also their organizational security awareness and policies. Organizations that fail to perform periodic assessments risk leaving themselves exposed to hackers who can exploit these vulnerabilities or negligent insiders who expose data unintentionally.
Developing a practical and effective cyber security plan is vital to incorporating security into your organization’s risk management strategy. A common misconception is that a cyber security plan is lengthy and difficult to follow. However, that does not have to be the case. COMPASS recommends 5 steps for your cyber security plan.
BECs remain a prominent threat and will continue to be used in targeted scams. The victims of BEC attacks range from small business to large corporations and all employees should be aware of the dangers. Organizations that utilize robust prevention techniques have proven highly successful in recognizing and deflecting BEC attempts.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the unique cyber threats your organization faces, please CONTACT US.
Because humans are often the weakest link when it comes to cyber security, it is critically important to integrate employee security awareness training into your cyber security action plan. By educating employees on best practices, policies, procedures, popular attack methods and trends, organizations can significantly reduce their risk of a data breach.
Increasing your investment in cyber security awareness training can decrease the threat of a cyberattack by 45% to 70%. Common and effective employee training methods include:
On-boarding – When a new employee joins your organization, immediately make them aware of cyber security best practices your organization requires. This will create a strong cyber security posture throughout the employee’s lifespan.
Mock phishing exercises – Phishing attacks are one of the most common forms of social engineering that can harm businesses. By employing these exercises organizations can test their email platform and see how their employees would react in a real-life scenario.
Webinars – Webinars on cyber security trends give employees a chance to ask questions and hear firsthand of the importance of keeping data secure. These interactive sessions empower employees with the information necessary to support the organization’s goal of protecting its sensitive data.
Policy check surveys – Regularly testing the knowledge of employees is important to their understanding of company policies and procedures. These can identify and prioritize gaps that should be addressed in further employee training sessions. In addition, these surveys and their results will be important if your organization is audited or breached.
Regularly discuss cyber security with employees – Make cyber security part of your workplace culture so that employees are regularly acting with the organization’s best interests in mind. Proactively address employee negligence as it is one of the top causes of security incidents.
Incident response plan –Ensure employees are aware of their role in the company’s incident response plan. Practice this plan quarterly so in the event of a breach your organization can respond quickly and comprehensively to minimize the impact and associated costs.
Onsite training – Providing face-to-face security awareness training on cyber best practices and company policies and procedures gives employees an opportunity to ask questions and learn from experienced personnel.
Proactively training employees before an information security incident is critical to protecting the future of your business. Create policies and guidelines that assume your company will be targeted by cybercriminals and make sure employees know the appropriate actions that are necessary to keep the company’s data safe. Implementing employee training in your organization at least quarterly is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to reduce cyber security risks.
For more information on employing training in your workplace, please contact us.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a great method to ensure that your employees remain productive and do not violate any corporate policies. In the ever-expanding Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world, more organizations are allowing employees the freedom to work from their own mobile devices. Tablets, smart phones, and personal laptops are taking a larger and larger space on corporate networks.
While there are numerous advantages to a BYOD environment, allowing personal devices onto a corporate network introduces a variety of security threats. A Mobile Device Management solution helps in securing that environment.
Here are 5 Tips you should implement when securing your devices with a MDM approach:
Require standards for password strength – Make sure that your MDM is configured to require device passcodes that meet or exceed guidelines concerning length, complexity, retry and timeout settings for the appropriate device.
Device Update Compliance – Set a minimum required version for employee mobile devices. This will require that employee devices are kept updated and restrict devices that do not comply with this setting.
Prevent Jail-breaking – Prevent jail-broken or ‘rooted’ mobile devices. Allowing these devices could add an additional attack vector as many ‘rooted’ or jail-broken devices install third-party app stores that may contain malicious apps. Preventing these devices helps secure access to company data.
Require usage of signed apps and certificates – Use your MDM to screen any mobile devices for suspicious applications before allowing access to company resources. These could be email programs, mobile apps, and networks (Wi-Fi or company VPN access). As with jail-broken devices, unsigned apps and certificates may allow malware to infect the device.
Seek Employee Buy–In – Prior to allowing a user device onto your network, require the user acknowledge and accept basic corporate policies. Make sure that the user understands that company administrators will be able to revoke and/or restrict access to devices that don’t comply with company policy.
The best idea is to decide your corporate strategy and then choose a MDM solution that fits your project. For more information on mobile device security, download our iPhone and Android Security Guides. If you would like to begin a conversation about Mobile Device Management, please CONTACT US.
As a part of COMPASS Cyber Security’s ongoing commitment to raising cyber security awareness in the community, we are excited to announce the launch of our very own mobile application! By downloading this app, users will be provided with real-time cyber security threat alerts, best practice tips, and applicable guidance, so they can be prepared for the cyber security risks they may face. It is COMPASS’ mission to “shift the world’s data to be safe and secure” and this app is a testament to that by offering businesses and consumers valuable content they can use to protect their data.
Download the COMPASS Cyber Security app in the iTunes and Google Play stores to begin improving your cyber security posture!
As schools open their doors for a new academic year, it is evident that education is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. As a result, cyber security is a critically important component to the risk management strategies in schools.
Having worked with dozens of schools internationally, COMPASS understands the unique threats they face. Fall is the best time to set the tone for your school’s cyber security posture, here is how:
Perform a risk assessment of your school’s IT infrastructure to identify critical vulnerabilities and remediate them.
Segment your network so if one part of your network is compromised, it does not affect the integrity of the rest of your network. For example, put students on a network separate from the faculty and staff.
Limit the number of privileged users to only administrators with a legitimate need as defined by management protocol.
Implement quarterly cyber security awareness training. It is important that the faculty as well as the students are cognizant of cyber best practices so they have a strong digital safety background.
Review all policies to make sure they are current with the technologies and procedures within your organization.
Conduct a security configuration review of the central image from which all of the faculty devices are copied to provide maximum security.
With a variety of diverse user profiles traversing the network and a treasure trove of sensitive personal and financial information, it is often difficult to balance cyber security in an open learning environment. However, by implementing these cyber security strategies in your school you will greatly reduce your risk of an incident.