With developing data breaches and malware outbreaks in the news, we hope you’re taking a step back to analyze the situation. In today’s world, big corporations and small business alike are vulnerable to potential ransomware outbreaks and data breaches. In fact, did you know – 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses?

We’ve compiled questions to help businesses create what we like to call a preventative mindset. This mindset is future-thinking and contrasts with the traditional ‘reactive’ mindset that you see many companies stumbling over today. This new approach uses a combination of data, training, planning and analytics to stop data breaches quicker. We know the longer a data breach goes unnoticed the more costly it is, right? The idea behind a preventative mindset is to simply be prepared, forward-thinking and ready to ‘jump’ on threats as they come, because they will come.

We’ve compiled a list of informative cyber security questions that you can use to analyze your current state of security, and help you on your way to thinking preventive.

What does the cyber security playing field look like?

This question is to judge your general awareness of the industry, new technology, regulations and what’s unfolding in the industry. You can’t prevent what you don’t understand or are simply not aware of. With this said, it’s important for IT and security professionals to be researching and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry. This is why you have us at IT Security Central.

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What are the threats to my data?

Along with understanding the industry, it’s important to understand all the developing vulnerabilities around data exposure. This includes everything from IoT integration, cloud storage to MongoDB and [Amazon] S3 Buckets. Yes, those are fancy names, but we assure you that these are important and even talked about by Troy Hunt.

Where is my most valuable data?

You can’t understand potential threats, if you don’t understand what malicious criminals are hungry for. This question begins with an overview analysis of all your data. Understanding the most sought after dark web data will give you insight on where to place your resources and money. Once you know the value of your data, you need to understand who has access to it. This means administrators, employees, managers and even third-party agencies. All these individuals represent potential entrances to your data, and it’s best to understand who does in order to close the security ‘holes’ and limit exposure of that data to employees that simply don’t need it.

How will I fortify my security infrastructure?

An easy said question, but it’s much harder to implement. Threats can come from multiple sources, and this can even include traditional methods like stealing paper data files. However, in our internet-based current state of society, our data infrastructure can be penetrated from many different angles. Traditional methods such as regular computer updates and the firewall still hold substance, and they should still be a part of your cyber security strategy. However, the future calls for a more preventative mindset, where technologies like monitoring, threat hunting and user analytics is an important step.

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What is your incident response plan, and are your employees on board to be your top defenders?

You can have the best technology on the market, but vulnerabilities in your infrastructure will point back to your employees. Today, it’s not a matter of ‘will’ a data breach will occur, rather it’s a ‘when’ question. A data breach or malware outbreak is bound to happen to your company. On the way to creating a preventative mindset, having a formidable incident response plan will allow you to understand the situation quickly, react quickly and clean-up quickly. It’s proven that the longer a data breach goes unnoticed and unresolved, the higher the costs for the company. Don’t be subject to these costs. Further, your top defenders are your employees. Phishing emails are the top forms of transmission of malicious ransomware software. A simple click on a link can bring down your well-sustained technology infrastructure. Training your employees on what to watch out for is a good step. Further, monitoring employee usages can limit outbreaks. For example, simply limiting employees from downloading malicious email attachments with a monitoring software.

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These informative and enlightening questions will have you walking in the right direction in relation to data security. Cyber security and data breaches should be taken seriously. The threat landscape will only expand, and this is why creating a preventative mindset to your best defense.