• Imraan Bashir, Author |
2 min read

Historically, cybersecurity teams have focused largely on prevention as their primary method of keeping their organizations safe from cybercriminals and other malicious actors. However, cybersecurity attacks are increasing in both complexity and frequency; as a result, the question is no longer if a company will be hacked but when.

With this information in mind, decision makers should consider the following four pillars to help them develop a more pragmatic approach to keeping sensitive data safe.

Let’s use a firefighting analogy to break down these pillars.

Prevention – build in safeguards and educate the masses
Although prevention is no longer the sole area of focus when it comes to staying cyber safe, it is still an important pillar to keep in mind. When we build structures today, we build them to a certain code to minimize the risk of a fire starting within the walls. Cybersecurity is no different. Ensuring networks are secure and protecting accounts with two-factor authentication are just a few things organizations can do to reduce risk. You may also remember a firefighter visiting your school when you were a child to talk to your class about fire prevention. Similarly, with cybersecurity, education and guidelines are just as useful in helping your staff prevent breaches. There’s no sure-fire way of avoiding an attack but proactively practicing good cyber-hygiene can be key to reducing risk.

Detection – sound the alarm
Continuing with the analogy of fire safety, early detection can be key to putting out a fire fast. The same way that smoke alarms notify us that we need to act quickly, the clock starts ticking the moment a cyber threat is detected. Discovering the issue early by rapidly noticing irregular behaviours or unplanned changes to your system, like a suspicious lockout or missing folders, can help you act on and contain the problem faster, potentially lessening any irreparable damage from the attack.

Response - stop, drop & roll
As previously mentioned, you will likely experience a cyberattack, which is why investing resources in response is crucial to minimizing damage and protecting your brand. This includes investments in the people, the processes and the technology to put the fire out, fix the issue quickly and update protocols to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. This must all be backed by a robust response plan. Organizations with employees who know their role and communicate internally and externally as soon as a breach occurs are already taking steps in the right direction. This is especially important as once trust is broken; it can be hard to win back.

Practice – schedule your fire drill
It isn’t enough to just have a plan. Businesses need to put their plan into practice, exercise it and continually improve it. The same way we conduct fire drills to prepare us in an emergency, organizations can do drills on a regular basis to train employees on how to respond. We all know how important practicing for these things can be. After all, the probability of your organization facing a cyberattack is likely higher than a fire happening in your building.

In a recent KPMG survey, 84 per cent of Canadians said they would “definitely reconsider” doing business with companies that had a data breach. So, the question is, what are you doing to protect your data?

Want to learn more about how you can make your business more cyber resilient?

Visit home.kpmg/ca/cyber.

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