5 Key Cybersecurity Measures to Protect Your Firm

By Oyster Consulting LLC

Colorful network cables connected to a switch

Cyber criminals are always seeking new entryways to your systems and your data. When a breach happens, the financial and reputational repercussions can be extensive. According to the IBM Security Cost of Data Breach Report 2022, the average total cost of a critical infrastructure data breach (critical infrastructure includes financial services) was $4.82M.

Protect Your Firm and Your Clients

It is a best practice for your firm to regularly assess and update cybersecurity measures by adopting the following key practices:

Encryption of Sensitive Data. Encryption is the process of converting plain text data into a coded format (such as ciphertext) to protect it from unauthorized access. In the context of financial services, encryption is used to secure sensitive customer information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal identification data.

Implementing firewall and intrusion detection/prevention systems. A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. It acts as a barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external network (e.g., the internet).

Conducting regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Conducting regular risk assessments and information security audits identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s compliance and information security systems and processes. These assessments will help firms prioritize remediation to improve the firm’s security posture. Penetration testing is a simulated cyber-attack on a computer system, network, or web application to evaluate its security. It is usually conducted by ethical hackers who use the same techniques and tools as malicious attackers.

Conducting employee training on cybersecurity best practices. The goal of this training is to raise awareness and create a culture of security within the organization, as well as reduce the risk of human error leading to a data breach or cyberattack. Employee training educates employees on how to secure an organization’s information and IT systems, and typically covers topics such as strong password management, identifying phishing attacks, safe browsing habits, avoiding social engineering scams, secure data handling, and mobile device security.

Implementing and testing Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans. These plans ensure an organization’s critical business functions and processes can continue during and after a disaster or interruption event. Disaster Recovery (DR) plans focus on the IT systems and data recovery, ensuring minimal data loss and downtime. Business Continuity Plans (BCP) go a step further, addressing the overall impact of a disaster on an organization and ensuring the continuation of critical business functions and processes. BCPs involve identifying critical systems and processes, creating alternative plans, and regular testing and updating of the plan.

Monitoring Threat Intelligence. Regularly monitoring and analyzing global and industry-specific threats help your firm stay informed about the latest threats and vulnerabilities.

Compliance Monitoring. To maintain your firm’s reputation and to stay on the right side of the regulatory expectations, conduct regular monitoring of industry and government regulations and standards, and implement changes to ensure ongoing compliance.

It is critical that firms have a process in place to assess their cybersecurity risk and controls and to take steps to strengthen controls if gaps are identified. Oyster Consulting will bridge the gap between business and technology, ensuring that you have the controls in place to protect you and your clients from the threats of today’s world.