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Setting up defense against inevitable cyberattacks

The world of hackers and cybercrime is growing by the day. This news shouldn't be a source of panic for businesses - but it should drive company leaders to consider their current cybersecurity strategies and improve and expand them as necessary. Efforts to protect a company's data stores must recognize this security concern and take an appropriate approach in response. For many businesses, this means viewing online security and protection of sensitive data as an ongoing, and in some respects never-ending, issue.

How can companies develop the right perspective for cybersecurity efforts? Consider these major, enduring concerns as starting points:

"An accurate map of all networks and maintenance of such knowledge is critical to success."


End-to-end understanding of operations
No matter how advanced a business's knowledge of cybersecurity is, it's worth little if there's not true, complete comprehension of an organization's data stores and networks. The increasingly connected nature of commerce, with software as a service vendors, outsourcing and many other aspects in play, can sometimes obscure the true reach of an organization's digital presence. Developing an accurate map of all networks and coordinating across a company to maintain this knowledge as operations grow and diversify is critical.

The Mississippi Business Journal recently spoke with Alisa Chestler, a cybersecurity expert whose work includes leading those efforts at a law firm in the state and conducting seminars that attract international attendees. The Journal said one of Chestler's pillars of a successful cybersecurity plan is developing what she called the lay of the land. Company leaders and employees focused on protecting digital assets need to understand the extent of their networks, know where information is stored and keep track of responsibilities related to that data. While this process involves plenty of time and effort, it also strengthens cybersecurity through improved knowledge and the potential to reveal weak points or overlooked areas of a digital presence.

Applying the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, is common in the business world. As InformationWeek pointed out, that principle most commonly applies to sales. For many businesses, this means 80 percent of the sales generated come from 20 percent of the total customer base. InformationWeek suggested this principle can also apply to cybersecurity efforts and offers some benefits in terms of prioritizing defensive planning. Not all threats are created equal, and businesses have to make informed decisions about how they apply their limited resources.

One specific example provided by InformationWeek was dedicating too much in the way of time and resources to low-level malware or phishing campaigns against staff. The right safeguards must be in place and staff should understand the hallmarks of such scams - and should go through formal training as well. However, the tools to defend against these types of threats shouldn't be the main focus of spending nor internal change management efforts. Instead, the bulk of available resources, roughly 80 percent, should go toward defending against sophisticated attacks that have the potential to cause serious damage through their complexity, uniqueness and other, more developed attributes.

Tying the concepts together
Increased awareness and the Pareto Principle both provide valuable guidance related to cybersecurity, but neither will actually protect businesses when an attack inevitably arrives. A complete solution that stretches from the beginning of a company's digital presence to the end is invaluable. NC4 Mission Center balances flexibility and a sharing framework while using strong cybersecurity protocols to protect a company's digital assets. Compartmentalized data sharing and a need-to-know, need-to-share structure makes NC4 Mission Center a useful, secure and broad solution for a wide variety of organizations.


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