10 May Protect your digital assets
Protect your digital assets. Quick Guide.
Organisations are increasingly investing in digital assets to improve their processes and operations. The data collected, stored and queried for intelligence is arguably the most precious asset. In the advent of cyber criminals accessing these assets and tempering with or stealing the data within, can result in irreparable damage for organisations. Common damages of data breaches and hacking include loss of licences, fines, reputational damage and loss in clients’ confidence in the company and brand.
Digital assets like all your business assets are valuable and should be protected.
In this blog article we present a number of tips for protecting your digital assets.
Cyber Security is critical to any company’s success.
What are digital assets
Assets are elements of value to the organisation. The traditional, and possibly the most common assets are the plant and machinery, cash and capital and any owned patents. In addition, during the past years we experienced the rise of digital assets and their value and importance in the context of running a business. Digital assets include: source code, intellectual property, customer data, market insights, employee records, software systems, websites and blogs, digital documentation and e-workflows.
Their importance stems from the fact that they are an integral part of the day-to-day running of organisation’s operations and the foundations for decision making. Costs and values of these digital assets are included in the profit and loss statement and balance sheet of the organisation. Some of these assets reside on on-premise servers whilst others live on the cloud.
Create an overarching security strategy
The starting point for creating an effective and encapsulating cyber security strategy is to create a register of all the digital assets and a responsibility matrix with clear boundaries and ownership. Best practices need to be documented in manuals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and clearly communicated organisation-wide. A risk log is to be kept alive and managed on an ongoing basis. Apart from the risk of hackers and cyber criminal malicious action organisations are also exposed to risks of misuse by internal staff members – this can be due to lack of knowledge or negligent behaviour.
External experts should be engaged to bring an additional perspective and regular audits, assessments and tests should be the order of the day. Protocols of use and housekeeping should be in place; covering areas such as regular backups, updating and patching of systems and managing access rights. Common mistakes that lead to data breaches include lax internal procedures. When an organisation offers flexible engagement models to its employees in the form of work from home or bring your own device – strict procedures need to be followed to ensure security is in place and the company’s assets are protected.
How to protect your organisation’s digital assets
Acknowledging the importance of cyber security is the first step in the right direction. Educating the workforce is a close second. Following are other tips that should be followed to protect your digital assets and reduce your worries.
Take regular backups of your data and systems and secure them accordingly. Have a procedure in place to reinstate backups in regular intervals to ensure the system is efficient and reliable.
Regular Assessments and Penetration Tests
Assess your internal and external systems, your websites, mobile applications, network and physical environment in a proactive manner to identify any potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses which can be exploited by attackers.
Limit access and constantly educate
Have clear authority levels in place mapped on access rights management. Procedures need to be in place to safeguard against instances whereby employees leave the organisation or external suppliers or contractors are engaged or stopped. Cyber security awareness educational sessions need to be delivered to all tiers of the organisation in order to keep everyone abreast of the latest threats and trends.
Verifying users is of utmost importance. Use multi-factor authentication where possible. Control who is allowed to log in, to where and when. Avoid instances wherein everyone is given full access – this only creates a lot of unnecessary risks.
When storing data and/or transferring data to any internal or external stakeholders data should always be encrypted and secured.
Record Activity and Detect Threats
A log and audit trail is to be kept to keep track of all versions and all the activities happening in the digital space. Any threats should be detected as early as possible to be neutralised before it is too late. Best-of-breed applications are to be deployed and maintained to make it possible to detect such threats, namely: anti virus scanners, anti-malware software and firewalls.
Have a cyber insurance in place
In addition to professional indemnity insurance policies organisations are lately investing in cyber insurance, which protects an organisation against Internet-based risks. Such policies cover expenses related to investigation, business losses, and lawsuits in case of data breaches and hacks.
Plan for the future
Protect your brand and your bottom-line and make sure your digital assets are safe and secure. Constantly identify, mitigate and manage risks. Take cyber security to the next level. Learn more about protecting your digital assets. Get in touch with us today!