Ireland’s cyber crime statistics certainly don’t make for comfortable reading. In fact, major news outlets have highlighted Ireland’s cyber security risk as one of the highest in the world, and, in 2018, the number of cyber security incidents in Ireland more than doubled.
While Irish businesses are also known for being plenty capable when it comes to bolstering their cyber defences, 40% of organisations still miss the mark when it comes to properly identifying and assessing risk factors that lead toward cybercrime incidents.
Aiming to combat the increasing rates of cybercrime since 2011, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) works tirelessly to keep Irish government and infrastructure officials abreast of the latest threats. The NCSC has also aimed to provide resources to the general public about how they can best regulate their cyber security measures in the workplace.
One of these resources is a document published in 2018 which provides business owners with tangible and achievable steps they can take to keep their businesses safe. While the NCSC outlines twelve steps that Irish businesses can use to implement and maintain effective cyber security measures, they can be divided into three stages.
Before businesses dive into the more detailed steps suggested by the NCSC, they might benefit from acquiring a basic understanding of the overall message.
Stage 1: Organised Awareness
First and foremost comes a need for knowledge. Business owners should strive to educate themselves about the types of threats in existence, the motivations behind these possible attacks, and what they have to lose in the event of a significant cyber security breach.
Steps included in this phase include:
- Establish governance and organisation.
- Identify what matters most.
- Understand the threats.
- Define your risk appetite.
- Focus on education and awareness.
Stage 2: Optimal Preparation
Once business leaders have taken initiatives to inform both themselves and their employees about the existence and risk of cybercrime, the next set of steps summarises how businesses might best take action to defend themselves from future cyber security threats.
NCSC’s steps in this phase include:
- Implement basic protections.
- Be able to detect an attack.
- Be prepared to react.
- Adopt a risk-based approach to resilience.
- Implement additional automated protections.
These preparations may include everything from the installation of anti-malware programs to the consistent use of data encryption.
Stage 3: Ongoing Maintenance
Last but far from least, the final two actionable steps forming the NCSC’s plan are:
- Challenge and test regularly.
- Create a cyber risk management lifecycle.
One could argue that these initiatives are the most important steps to cyber security listed so far. Why? It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a rapid rate, and the reality is that criminals are becoming cleverer as they, too, take advantage of this impressive advancement in tech.
Cyber security threats are changing every day, but partnering with experts such as ethical hackers means that businesses can run simulations to assess whether their preparedness is up to date.
Getting Started on the Path to Cyber Security
Business owners, company managers, and IT professionals alike should certainly take the time to familiarise themselves with the ideas presented above. Even better, make a significant effort to carefully examine each of the steps suggested by the NCSC in their full document “12 Steps to Cyber Security: Guidance on Cyber Security for Irish Business.”
The year-round cycle the NCSC suggests means that now is the perfect time for Ireland’s business owners and office managers to take a leap and get started on their journey toward safer tech operations. With the proper education and implementation, any organisation can take a stand against cybercrime in 2020.