Is Your Community Ready for a Cyber Attack?

Has your organization protected itself from a cyber-attack that could cause the devastating loss of “community assets”? As discussed in this earlier blog post, cybercriminals have already victimized several rural Oregon communities and cost those communities hundreds of thousands (Tillamook County), if not millions (Curry County), of dollars.

Ensuring your organization and your community are protected from cyber-attacks is crucial. This is something that needs your proactive attention. But how do you know if your IT department has taken adequate measures? You can begin the conversation today by asking a few key questions recommended by cybersecurity professionals:

1. What are our most important assets, and how are we protecting them?

   – Boards must identify and prioritize the protection of their most important assets, such as customer data, operational systems, or intellectual property.

2. What layers of protection do we have in place?

   – Implementing a multi-layered defense strategy, known as defense-in-depth, which includes technological controls, policies, and human oversight, is crucial to thwart potential attacks.

3. How do we detect a breach, and what are our response plans in the event of an incident?

   – Robust detection mechanisms to identify breaches promptly and a comprehensive response plan that outlines actions, responsibilities, and communication strategies in the event of an incident are essential.

4. What is the board’s role during a cyber incident, and what are our business recovery plans?

   – Directors should know their roles during a cyber incident, including decision-making on ransom payments or engaging with key stakeholders. A tested business recovery plan is critical to ensure operational continuity following a cyber-attack.

5. Are we investing enough in cybersecurity?

   – Boards must ensure adequate investment in cybersecurity measures, including regular assessments, simulations, and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities and prioritize resource allocation effectively.

6. How do we educate and train our employees about cybersecurity?

   – Developing a cybersecurity awareness and accountability culture among all employees can significantly enhance the organization’s defense mechanisms.

These questions can initiate a deeper conversation about your organization’s cybersecurity readiness and reveal areas needing improvement. Remember, a proactive approach to cybersecurity is needed to avoid a potentially devastating loss of your community’s valuable services and money. To dive deeper into these essential questions and actionable insights, check out Harvard Business Review’s article on Pressing Cybersecurity Question Boards Need To Ask here.

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