As Mother’s Day approaches, we take time to reflect on all of the things mothers, and all caregivers, do to ensure the safety and security of their children. From the very beginning, she anticipates threats, protects against unsafe situations, keeps her child clean to ensure their health, teaches about stranger danger, and so much more. Why? Because it’s her baby and she wants nothing more than to see her baby grow and thrive.
At some point or another, every organization was someone’s “baby,” and, like a mother, their goal was to see it grow and thrive. So why wouldn’t we protect its greatest vulnerabilities like data, sensitive information, and more?
Here are some practices your organization should consider, which are sure to be on every mom’s mind—not just in the beginning, but every single day.
Baby Proofing (Anticipating Threats and Vulnerabilities)
From installing baby gates and car seats to removing furniture with sharp corners and any choking hazards in arms distance, baby proofing the home is critical to ensuring safety. Mom’s comb through their home anticipating any threat that could harm her child. This stage never really ends… think teenagers and curfews. Now let’s talk about how you can baby proof your business.
“Just like anticipating threats and vulnerabilities for your child, start by listing any potential threats that exist within your company,” says Whitney Perez, director, Attest Services, at BARR Advisory and mom of two. “Begin with the areas that have the highest level of risk and impact. Consider people (employees, clients, third parties), processes or lack thereof, and technologies. Identify and apply ways to counter those risks. For example, setting up a firewall or password manager, establishing local and backup locations, and more.”
Staying Clean (Cyber Health and Hygiene)
From runny noses to smelly soccer socks, mom is there to ensure her child is healthy and learning how to practice good hygiene. These tasks can be completed every day (e.g., bathing and laundry) to yearly (e.g., the annual trip to the pediatrician). So how does this translate to cyber health and hygiene?
“This practice should be thought of as a continuous process, not a one-time gap assessment or penetration test. Every day, there are opportunities for children to get messy. Same goes for cybersecurity—new threats exist and emerge every day,” says Perez. “For example, ransomware is a prevalent threat. But, with the right ‘cyber hygiene,’ in this case, daily data backups—its harm can be mitigated. By implementing the right defense, businesses can focus on developing measures to protect against messy situations/new threats.”
Stranger Danger (Unsafe Networks)
From an early age, moms teach their children about stranger danger. They want their child to understand that unfortunately, strangers can potentially be dangerous. Though an unfamiliar face may seem friendly, you never know what their motivations are, what they need, or who they hang with. Same goes for many emails and networks.
“Just like teaching your child not to talk to strangers, you should instill a similar practice at your organization. Teach employees about safe interactions,” says Perez. “For example, if you don’t recognize the email sender or company, don’t engage or click. Also, practice safety measures like VPNs to turn your public connection to private. Disable internet and Bluetooth auto-connections so your technology doesn’t automatically connect to any network.”
Lock Up the House (Strong Passwords)
Before leaving the house or tucking in for the night, moms will make sure the doors are locked and the house is safe. The stronger the lock, the better. This practice keeps any unwanted visitors out. We can all agree lots of unwanted visitors lurk online. Here are some mom-approved ways of keeping them “locked out,” too.
“The risk of weak or stolen credentials can be removed with one simple step and that’s to implement multi-factor authentication, or MFA,” says Perez. “MFA takes something you know, such as a password or PIN, and combines it with something you have or something you are, such as a token, smartphone, or fingerprint to authenticate users in a secure way. With MFA in place, stolen passwords alone are useless to a malicious actor.”
It Takes a Village (Advisory Services)
Raising a baby takes a village. Whether it’s a friend who’s “been there” and can share what to expect when a child starts kindergarten, or a doctor who knows exactly what that weird looking rash is, having an expert at the ready helps mom rest easy knowing she’s doing the right thing. Like parenting, keeping a company safe and secure also takes a village.
“Having an accessible and trustworthy team who has your back at every stage of your ‘babies’ life is invaluable. Identifying a cybersecurity partner who can help your company, no matter if you’re in the security planning stage or need long-term continuous support, will help you sleep better at night knowing you have made sound security decisions,” says Perez.
Though overwhelming at times, by following through with each of these security practices, both moms and business leaders (and especially, moms who are business leaders) can feel confident knowing they have done everything in their power to set their “baby” up for a successful future. Eventually, that baby will grow, and they too, will practice those same measures, ultimately making the world a safer place.
Is your company’s cybersecurity posture mother-approved? Let BARR help. Visit barradvisory.com to learn more or contact us to schedule a free consultation with a BARR specialist about your security and compliance needs.