Written in collaboration with
Michael VanDeventer, CPA, Partner
Many organizations still do not have formalized information technology (IT) policies and procedures in place that specifically address cybersecurity risks. Organizational data and assets are at constant risk as cyberattacks have become more frequent, sophisticated and targeted. In addition, amidst the ongoing pandemic, cybersecurity risk has only increased as organizations become more reliant on remote workplace environments to perform day-to-day activities.
In general, cybersecurity risks relate to gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for the purpose of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Potential negative consequences may include remediation costs for repairing system damage that may have been caused, loss of sensitive or critical data, litigation, delays in providing services, and reputational damage.
In order to address cybersecurity risks, organizations should be prioritizing the development and formalization of their IT policies and procedures. There are ways in which organizations can defend their information systems and potentially avoid and mitigate risks of cyberattacks. These recommendations include:
- developing and formalizing IT policies and procedures;
- creating an incident-response plan in the event of an attack;
- regularly testing information system resilience;
- keeping secure data backup;
- creating awareness within the organization through periodic training and education; and
- engaging an IT security consultant to identify areas of improvement.
Every organization faces cybersecurity risk. It is ultimately not a matter of if a cyberattack will happen, but when. Taking a proactive approach to mitigating an attack will prepare your employees and benefit your organization now and in the future.