Enterprise security refers to protecting a company’s digital and physical assets from threats and risks through various technologies, policies, and procedures.
Think of it this way: Is your organization prepared for a data breach? According to research, 83% of companies have experienced more than one data breach.
The cost of a data breach can be staggering. In 2022, for the 12th year in a row, the U.S. had the highest cost of a data breach, averaging $5.09 million more than the global average of $4.35 million. And it’s not just large corporations at risk. Nearly 2 in 3 midsize organizations have suffered a ransomware attack in the past 18 months.
What can your organization do to protect itself from these threats? It all starts with enterprise security. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of enterprise security and provide tips on improving your organization’s security systems.
How enterprise security affects companies
Companies rely heavily on digital technology to conduct their operations—84% of companies use at least one emerging technology for operations and finances. The enterprise network is the backbone of modern business, connecting employees, customers, and partners worldwide. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), even more devices and systems are connected to the network, creating new vulnerabilities and security risks.
The consequences of a security breach can be severe, including loss of proprietary information, damage to a company’s reputation, and legal and financial penalties. In fact, the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million globally, and it takes an average of 277 days to identify and contain a breach. Even for midsize businesses, this is a major expense—20% of midsize businesses spent at least $250,000 to recover from a data breach.
In addition to financial costs, security breaches can have long-lasting effects on customer trust and brand reputation. Customers expect companies to protect their personal and financial information, but a security breach can erode trust and lead to a loss of business.
It’s essential for companies to prioritize enterprise security and implement robust IT security and network security measures to protect their assets and information. This includes regular security assessments, vulnerability scans, and penetration testing to identify and address weaknesses in the network and systems.
Companies must also stay vigilant against emerging security threats and stay updated on the latest best practices and emerging technologies. For example, as IoT devices proliferate, companies must ensure they’re properly secured and not left vulnerable to attack.
Securing IoT devices involves implementing security features like firewalls, data encryption, two-factor authentication, and intrusion detection systems. This article will explore several best practices in more depth.
Cybersecurity vs. enterprise security
While cybersecurity and enterprise security are related, the two have a few key differences. A subset of enterprise security, cybersecurity protects digital assets and information from unauthorized access, theft, or damage. Enterprise security is a more comprehensive approach that includes protecting physical assets and personnel, along with digital assets and information.
For example, let’s say a company experiences a phishing attack, where an employee falls for a fake email and provides their login credentials to an attacker. In this case, cybersecurity tools and measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption can help protect against further damage.
Enterprise security also includes physical security measures like surveillance cameras, access control systems, and security personnel to prevent unauthorized access to the building and protect employees.
In addition to physical security measures, enterprise security can involve non-cyber actions like:
- Conducting background checks on new employees
- Providing security awareness training to employees
- Implementing clear desk policies to ensure confidential information isn’t left in the open
- Performing regular maintenance and inspections on equipment and facilities to prevent potential security breaches
To go beyond the basics of cybersecurity, organizations need to implement comprehensive security solutions to address physical and digital security risks. This includes information security policies and procedures, regular security awareness training for employees, and incident response plans that cover cyber and physical security incidents.
By taking a holistic approach to security, organizations can help minimize their security risks and protect their assets from a wide range of threats.
Enterprise security architecture basics
Enterprise security architecture relates to designing and implementing security measures within an organization to protect its assets—including physical and digital property—from unauthorized access like cyberattacks, theft, or damage. Enterprise security strategy involves identifying the organization’s assets, assessing the risks, and developing policies and procedures to mitigate those risks.
Key components of enterprise security architecture include:
- Risk assessment. This process involves identifying the organization’s assets and assessing the risks the organization may face, including cybersecurity and physical security risks.
- Security posture evaluation. A security posture refers to the overall strength and effectiveness of an organization’s security measures, policies, and practices in protecting its digital and physical assets from potential security threats and risks. A company can evaluate its security posture by conducting a comprehensive security assessment, identifying potential vulnerabilities, analyzing existing security controls, and evaluating the effectiveness of its policies and procedures.
- Policies and procedures. This step involves developing security policies and procedures that cover all aspects of the organization’s security posture, including data protection, access control, cloud computing infrastructure, incident response, and compliance.
- Technical controls. This operation includes implementing technical security controls like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus software, and data encryption to protect against cyberthreats.
- Physical security. Another aspect is protecting physical assets, such as buildings, data centers, and equipment, from unauthorized access or damage by use of surveillance cameras, access management systems, and security personnel. Physical security measures can include the installation of fences and locks to secure the perimeter and implementing fire detection and prevention systems to protect against potential fires.
- Continuous improvement. Enterprise security solutions aren’t a one-time thing. Companies should regularly review and update their security policies and procedures, perform security assessments and testing, and stay current on the latest security technologies and best practices.
5 tips to improve your enterprise security
Ready to improve your company’s enterprise security? We provide tips and best practices to help you establish an enterprise security strategy that works.
1. Conduct a security risk assessment
Conducting a comprehensive security risk assessment is one of the first steps in improving your enterprise security. A security risk assessment identifies and evaluates your organization’s security risks and determines the right measures to mitigate those risks.
This process involves analyzing your organization’s phyIT ecosystem, operating systems, software applications, and data storage and assessing your current policies and procedures to identify vulnerabilities.
During a security risk assessment, you may want to consider using frameworks like the one provided by Microsoft to help identify potential security risks. During a security risk assessment, determine if your employees have the proper permissions to access sensitive data and if they follow security protocols.
By identifying potential security risks and taking steps to mitigate them, you can improve your organization’s security posture and reduce the risk of a security breach.
2. Create security goals
Creating security goals is part of establishing an effective enterprise security strategy. Check out these security goal practices you can implement to improve your company’s security posture.
- Implement access controls. Establish and maintain access controls to ensure that only authorized users can gain entry to systems and sensitive information. Access controls include multifactor authentication, password policies, and role-based access controls.
- Enhance endpoint security. Endpoint components, including laptops, mobile phones, and other devices, are increasingly vulnerable to attack. Methods and tools like encryption, firewalls, and regular software updates can help.
- Secure APIs. As organizations rely more on APIs (application programming interface) for process automation and data exchange, one goal is to determine whether these interfaces are secure and whether access is properly managed. This can be achieved by measures like API gateway security, encryption, and monitoring.
- Train employees on security best practices. Employees are often the weakest link in an organization’s security posture. Regular security training is an important goal for businesses to ensure employees know how to identify and avoid phishing scams, create strong passwords, and protect sensitive information.
- Develop an incident response plan. Even with the best security measures, security breaches can still occur. To help minimize the damage caused by a breach, develop an incident response plan outlining the steps to take in the event of a security incident, including how to detect, contain, and remediate the breach.
- Conduct regular security assessments. Continuing the security assessment process is an important security goal. Many organizations set goals to reevaluate risks every quarter, create automation to remove employee permissions when they’re no longer at your company, automatically set up two-step authentication for the workforce, and update security software when new versions are available.
3. Install the latest security protocols and barriers
Your systems should have the latest security protocols and barriers to protect against threats. Essential security measures to consider include:
- Encryption. Use encryption to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access or theft. Encryption can prevent data breaches by making it difficult for attackers to access or read data even if they gain access.
- Firewalls. Install firewalls to block unauthorized access to your network and protect against malware and other malicious attacks. Firewalls can also be configured to limit access to specific types of traffic, such as web or email traffic.
- Monitoring. Implement continuous monitoring to detect and respond to security threats in real time. This can include network traffic monitoring, intrusion detection, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems.
- Physical barriers. Fences, gates, and locks are long-standing methods used for preventing unauthorized access to sensitive areas like data centers or server rooms. These physical barriers serve as an important first line of defense against physical threats and can help deter would-be attackers from attempting to breach the facility.
- Antivirus software. Install antivirus software to protect against malware and other malicious software that can infect your systems and compromise your data.
- Regular updates and patches. Keep your systems updated with the latest security updates and patches to address known vulnerabilities and prevent attackers from exploiting them.
4. Establish planned responses to security threats
Now you need a detailed plan for responding to security threats. This plan should outline the steps to take in the event of a security incident, including how to detect, contain, and remediate the breach.
Below are some key elements to consider when developing a response plan:
- Incident response team. Establish a team responsible for responding to security incidents, including members from IT, security, legal, facilities, and other relevant departments.
- Detection and analysis. Protocols for detecting and analyzing security incidents help you catch cybersecurity risks quickly. This can include monitoring systems for suspicious activity, performing regular vulnerability scans and penetration testing, and conducting phishing simulations to test employee awareness.
- Containment and eradication. Develop procedures for containing the incident and preventing it from spreading. This can include isolating affected systems, disabling access, and removing malware or other malicious code.
- Notification and communication. Create procedures for notifying internal stakeholders, customers, and external partners about the incident. This can include preparing templates for internal and external communications and establishing a point of contact for issues.
- Recovery and remediation. Establish procedures for restoring affected systems and data, as well as conducting post-incident reviews to identify future improvement opportunities.
5. Keep your security team and workforce educated
Your enterprise security strategy is an ongoing process, with one of the most important steps keeping your IT and security professionals updated on the latest security protocols, threats, processes, and best practices.
And it’s not just cybersecurity professionals who need to be up to date. Your whole workforce should be trained on security best practices and compliance requirements. This includes regular security awareness training to cover topics like social engineering threats, phishing scams, and how to recognize and report suspicious behavior.
Social engineering threats are cyberattacks that target human behavior rather than technical vulnerabilities. Social engineering issues can take many forms, including phishing scams, pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo attacks. These attacks are designed to manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions they wouldn’t normally do.
Unfortunately, social engineering attacks can be difficult to detect and prevent because they exploit human nature, such as trust, fear, or curiosity. To protect against social engineering threats, organizations should educate their employees on recognizing and avoiding these types of attacks and implement policies and procedures requiring strict verification and authentication measures for sensitive information and access.
Some other examples of required workforce behaviors for enterprise security include:
- Lock computers and offices. Employees should lock their computers when they step away to prevent unauthorized access or theft.
- Follow remote work protocols. As remote work becomes more common, employees should follow established protocols for accessing sensitive information and systems outside the office, like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and two-factor authentication.
- Avoid work-related discussions in public. Employees should be mindful of potential problems with discussing work-related topics in public places, such as coffee shops or on public transportation, where others might be able to overhear sensitive information.
- Store confidential information in allowed places. Employees should be trained to store confidential information in approved locations, such as secure file servers or document management systems, to prevent unauthorized access or theft. Follow records management rules to minimize the amount of information susceptible to potential exposure.
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Enterprise security is critical to any organization’s overall risk management strategy. It’s essential to stay vigilant against emerging security threats, keep updated on the latest best practices and emerging technologies, and implement comprehensive security measures to protect your assets and data.
If you need help implementing an enterprise security strategy or want to hire internet security specialists to help secure your organization, Upwork is an excellent resource.
Upwork provides access to a global network of experienced and talented security professionals who can help you protect your assets and data. Don’t wait until it’s too late—protect your business from security threats now.
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