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Cybersecurity should be a top priority in your organization’s digital transformation strategy in the coming year. These key tenets will help ensure that security is baked in

Digital advances offer countless competitive advantages and can be a great equalizer for those they serve. However, organizations must consider the risks involved when generating a tidal wave of data and connections.

As businesses spend millions of dollars on developing strategic, long-term plans to digitize their processes, enhancing IT and cyber risk management functions should be at the forefront. In fact, 14 percent of C-suite executives indicate their organizations have no cyber threat defense plans.

Making cybersecurity a vital component of the transformation process and planning accordingly will protect your organization and safeguard the relationships and trust you’ve built with your customers and clients.

Here are four tips to help reduce risk as you embed technology across your business in 2023.

  1. Transparency about the data life cycle

Understanding the benefits of data collection is a two-way street. Organizations that are transparent about the information they gather and how it can benefit their customers or clients are in a better position to keep their trust should a data breach occur.

This is just one in a series of progressive and interdependent steps of a comprehensive information management plan to ensure important data goes through a complete life cycle. The plan should outline the creation and collection of data and how your organization processes, uses, and analyzes it.

The next step is to determine how it is stored, shared, and archived when updated data becomes available.

Lastly, how your organization will delete/archive information is critical to completing the final stage of the life cycle.

  1. Have a backup plan

As you implement stricter guidelines for data protection, it’s also imperative to plan for the worst-case scenario. Develop a business continuity plan to prepare for incidents from a data breach to a full-blown natural disaster. Go through the exercise of identifying threats and determining your assets’ value and level of risk.

Once you’ve identified the risks, prioritize risk reduction measures and run a tabletop exercise, assigning roles and responsibilities so everyone knows what to do if disaster hits. When you have a backup plan, you can implement “Plan B” and ensure your organization stays on track instead of panicking.

  1. Practice makes perfect

​​Cybersecurity training keeps employees, customers, and vendors safe from cyberattacks. Take the initiative to seek out top-of-the-line training resources that will walk you through every aspect of promoting a secure environment.

Training does not need to be expensive. Learn how to avoid data breaches, cultivate a security-first mindset, and maintain airtight security. While no measure can prevent a cyberattack entirely, proper training can help minimize your risk and reduce the chance of a breach.

In addition, continue to sweat the small stuff. While one weak password or phishing email may not seem like a big deal, it’s in your best interest to take every threat seriously.

Implement strong password complexity controls and policies, develop and maintain phishing campaigns, track user activity, and create policies for sharing information on the internet. For example, posting information on social media could reveal answers to common security questions. Staying vigilant will help your organization avoid trouble in the future.

Continue to implement and enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) across your organization. Roughly 80 percent of all breaches occur due to weak or stolen passwords. MFA can add the extra layer of security and authentication your company needs and is an easy and affordable way to keep your data safe.

  1. Know the rules

Compliance and regulations change frequently and can feel overwhelming, but they are critical to creating unified policies and encouraging employees to take cybersecurity seriously. Attacks have become so frequent that the federal government has introduced new legislation that requires specific organizations to carry cybersecurity insurance. It’s essential to do your homework, know the rules, and ask questions as you consider how to get the most comprehensive protection for your organization’s needs.