How to Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks in a Cost-Effective Manner

April 3, 2018 Eric Dosal Eric Dosal

A lot of people seem to think that cybersecurity is something that only really big businesses, like banks or giant tech companies, really need (or can afford). However, cyber attacks aren’t just a concern for big businesses. In fact, according to data cited by USA Today, “two-thirds of all cyberattacks are directed at small business.” Worse yet, that figure is based on the attacks that get reported—it cannot account for attacks that go undetected or unreported.

It is true that going all-out with your cybersecurity can be prohibitively expensive if you want all of the latest and greatest proprietary security technologies and solutions. However, protecting your company against an attack doesn’t have to cost a proverbial arm and a leg.

So, how can you keep your company’s network and systems safe without breaking the bank? Here are a few suggestions that can help your company mitigate cybersecurity risks in a cost-effective manner:

1) Educate Your Employees

Do you know what one of the biggest cybersecurity risks is in any organization, regardless of its size? The employees that work for it. As noted in one Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “60% of all attacks were carried out by insiders. Of these attacks, three-quarters involved malicious intent, and one-quarter involved inadvertent actors.”

The malicious-intent attacks carried out by insiders can be hard for any organization to stop because the person carrying out the attack usually knows their way around your systems and can bypass most of your outer defenses thanks to their legitimate access credentials.

However, the “inadvertent actor” attacks can be prevented by educating employees about common cybersecurity risks. A lot of attacks where the employee unintentionally acts as a vector of attack happen because the employee does something that compromises their user account credentials or their workstation without meaning to, such as:

  • Connecting a Malware-Infected Device to the Work Network. An employee may bring a personal laptop or data storage drive that’s infected with malware from the home and use it on the company’s network, turning it into a launching point for the malware to get onto your network.

  • Getting Duped by a Phishing Campaign. Attackers frequently use “social engineering” attacks to trick legitimate users into surrendering their credentials. Phishing emails send bogus requests for information to your employees—information that could be used to usurp their user accounts.

  • Sending the Wrong Email to the Wrong Person. We’re all only human. So, the occasional mistake is bound to happen. Sometimes, an email gets sent out to the wrong person and, before we can undo the mistake, sensitive information is sitting in a non-employee’s inbox.

Many of these situations can be avoided by educating employees about common cybersecurity risks. An employee who is aware of phishing campaigns and knows that some security information would never be requested in an email is less likely to surrender their credentials to an attacker.

Likewise, if your company has a set policy for using personal devices at work that employees are aware of, then your employees are less likely to accidentally connect corrupted devices to your network.

Making sure that employees know about specific email features can help them avoid sending out emails to the wrong people. For example, delayed sending features put a time lag on the “send” button so that if the email was going to the wrong recipient, the sender has time to cancel the email and correct the problem.

A workforce with an education in basic cybersecurity is a workforce that is less likely to accidentally leak your data or allow cybercriminals free access to your systems.

2) Create a Few Cybersecurity Policies for Employees

To mitigate the risk of insider threats to your networks and data, you’ll need to create, and then strictly enforce, some cybersecurity policies for your employees to follow.

Some examples of employee security rules that can reduce your cybersecurity risks include:

  • BYOD Policies. Establishing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy is a good first step in curtailing the unauthorized use of personal devices on your company’s network. Restricting the use of personal devices can help to prevent compromised devices from being connected to your network—whether it's intentional or accidental.

  • The Policy of Least Privilege. When providing employees with access to your network, try to only give them access to the bare minimum needed for them to perform their assigned work. The fewer systems and resources an employee has access to, the less damage they can do if their access privileges are abused.

  • Password Sharing. One of the basic rules employees should follow is to never share their passwords with anyone—even fellow coworkers. If employees share their passwords with a coworker, then that coworker could abuse those access privileges and pass the blame to the person who shared their password.
  • Internet Use Rules at Work. If an employee visits a malware-riddled website from their workstation, that could allow attackers to get a foothold in your networks. Setting rules that prohibit visiting certain websites or downloading resources from untrusted sources online can help limit your company’s exposure to malware infections and attacks.

These kinds of employee cybersecurity rules can help mitigate insider cybersecurity risks on your company’s network—both intentional and accidental. Better yet, setting a rule doesn’t cost you anything but the time to create and enforce it.

3) Consider Outsourcing Key Cybersecurity Functions

One of the biggest expenses in any cybersecurity strategy is the expert personnel needed to manage all of your networks and security solutions. First, you have to find IT experts specializing in cybersecurity. Then, you need to make sure they’re up-to-date with all of the security solutions your company uses.

Simply finding people with the requisite knowledge and experience to manage cybersecurity is an enormous challenge. Candidates with extensive experience in cybersecurity are in high demand, and they know it. This allows them to command a significant salary—according to Payscale’s data, the median salary for a cybersecurity engineer is around $91,932! More experienced engineers can command a higher salary—as much as $133,302.

So, forming a core team of 2-3 experienced cybersecurity personnel could easily cost your company over a quarter-million dollars per year.

However, there is a way to get access to a larger pool of cybersecurity talent for a fraction of the cost of hiring said talent internally—using outsourced cybersecurity staffing services to fill your company’s need for expert talent.

Outsourced cybersecurity staff can remotely manage your company’s network infrastructure from a central location by using intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and other security tools. These experts can handle security patch management, provide training/education for your employees, perform security audits, and manage your business continuity/disaster recovery solution for you with ease—allowing you to focus on running your business rather than worrying about recruiting and onboarding costly IT security talent.

With outsourced security staff, you get a deeper pool of experienced talent without the frustration and expense of having to headhunt in an extremely competitive field.

Thanks for reading our list of ways to mitigate cybersecurity risks in a cost-effective manner!

If you need more help with cybersecurity issues, please contact Compuquip Cybersecurity today. Or, check out our cybersecurity basics guide at the link below!

back-to-cybersecurity-basics