Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May, 2023 at 10:52 am by Andre Camilleri
Joseph Galea is an EY Malta director and leader of IT Risk and Assurance
Digital transformation is on every Board’s agenda, and rightly so. While this brings many benefits, it also opens up new risks of cyber threats, which can damage your organisation’s reliability and value unless one is prepared.
This is why cybersecurity has become an integral area for entities in today’s digital age. With the increasing amount of critical information being processed, stored and transmitted by electronic means, organisations must take proactive measures to ensure information is properly protected against cyber threats. When doing so it’s important to keep in mind some key elements.
Auditing your organisation’s security regularly is essential to identify any potential threats. This allows you to take a prevention approach that implements control measures ensuring that these threats are mitigated and can limit the occurrence of major cybersecurity incidents. Continuously going through this process and updating your security protocols will keep you one step ahead from new cyber threats.
Build your organisational infrastructure with security in mind. Implementing a comprehensive cyber security strategy involves conducting a thorough risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats to your organisation’s network and data. Based on the results of the risk assessment, organisations can enhance their cybersecurity strategy to include technology measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection system (IDS) and encryption to protect the data and network from unauthorised access.
Culture is another curated component that can future-proof an organisation with cybersecurity. Instilling the importance of cybersecurity in your employees and training them on how to identify and prevent cyber threats through best practices, strong passwords, recognising phishing scams and using secure networks and devices adds an additional layer to your security arsenal. This can all be achieved through regular security awareness sessions for all employees and any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to IT or cyber security officer/personnel.
Data policies and procedures, which establish the correct handling of sensitive information, can further limit your liabilities and chances of a data breech. Such controls include restrictive access to sensitive information on a need-to-know basis, implementing data retention policies and ensuring that data is stored and transmitted securely.
Educating yourself and your board on the latest threats and vulnerabilities can keep you on top of the constantly evolving cyber-adversary. Staying informed allows you to implement updates and patches to your IT infrastructure and business applications before it’s too late. This can involve subscribing to security newsletters and alerts, attending security conferences and working with security experts to stay ahead of threats.
Finalise an incident plan that responds to cyber-attacks. This will define a response team that can quickly and effectively respond to any security incidents, as well as develop a communication plan for notifying stakeholders and customers about any security breaches. Regularly testing your response plan can confirm that it is still effective and can be executed quickly in the event of an attack.
Getting your ABCs in order is only the first step to having a cybersecurity infrastructure that works to keep your organisation and its data safe from future threats. New technologies and regulations are constantly developing to reduce your worries and allow you to focus on your product, services and value.
Remember: prevention is always better than cure, but a strong cybersecurity infrastructure can help you do both.
Cybersecurity and emerging technology in the sector will be discussed during EY Engage happening on 1 June at the Westin Dragonara Resort, St Julian’s. The event is sponsored by SG Solutions, BMIT Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Microsoft, GO, Exigy, ICT Solutions, AIVHY Ltd, Smart Cloud, eSkills and MDIA. For more information on the event and to register your spot click here: https://www.ey.com/en_mt/events/engage-2023