How selecting the right comms partner can safeguard your business from cyber threats

Guest post by Chris Peregrine, Head of Product Management at DigitalWell 

In Ireland – as is the case in many other countries – cyberattacks have grown to become a primary concern for businesses. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Institute of Directors in Ireland, 41% of organisations have experienced a cyberattack in the past, with most of these occurring within the last two years.

This is thanks, in part, to increasing digitisation, which has meant the potential for exploiting vulnerabilities and unauthorised network access has increased and organisations are more likely than ever to have to deal with a major cyber attack.

Alongside an ever-evolving digital landscape, cybercriminals are also continually devising new techniques, with common targeting tactics including focusing on critical infrastructure, such as energy and healthcare sectors, with the aim of disrupting essential services and causing economic harm.

Additionally, businesses – especially those in technology, pharmaceuticals, and finance – are being targeted for corporate espionage, seeking to steal valuable intellectual property and sensitive information. Ransomware attacks, affecting both large enterprises and SMEs, also encrypt data and demand payment for decryption keys, while sophisticated threat actors may launch advanced persistent threats (APTs) against high-profile organisations, government agencies, and research institutions, seeking prolonged access to confidential data.

Whether the outcome is data breaches, financial losses, disruptions in operations, legal penalties, or reputational damage, inadequate protection against cyber attacks can have severe consequences for businesses – never mind the aftermath of an attack, which can disrupt productivity and lead to costly recovery efforts.

Prioritising cybersecurity via strategic partnerships 

To mitigate these risks, businesses are all too aware that they should prioritise cybersecurity, which may include investing in robust security measures, conducting regular assessments, providing employee training, and adopting up-to-date security technologies. But one aspect some businesses may miss in the fight against cyber threats is the importance of choosing a reliable communications partner.

Partnering with a communications provider that prioritises cybersecurity can significantly enhance your business’s resilience to cyber threats, protecting your sensitive data, reputation, and overall operations.

Having evolved beyond the mere exchange of pleasantries and signing of contracts, this task now demands a careful examination, with robust due diligence becoming the compass that guides your selection and procurement teams through the intricate process. By doing so, you can identify those equipped with the knowledge, tools, and practices necessary to safeguard your communication channels.

How to select a qualified comms partner

During the selection process, it is vital to ask the right questions to certify that your communications partner is qualified to help you identify and mitigate cyber risks efficiently.

Here are key inquiries to consider:

Experience and Expertise: Inquire about the partner’s experience in handling secure communications for businesses in your industry. Request case studies or success stories that demonstrate their ability to address security challenges effectively.
Security Measures: Assess the partner’s security infrastructure and protocols and ask about their adherence to industry standards such as ISO 27001 certification, an internationally recognised certification for information security management systems. If your prospective partner is ISO 27001 certified, this demonstrates their dedication to maintaining robust security protocols. Additionally, inquire about their data backup and disaster recovery plans.
Employee Training: Security is not just about technology; it also depends on the people who handle your communications. Ask about the partner’s employee training programmes to ensure that their staff are well-versed in security best practices and aware of emerging threats.
Compliance and Certifications: Inquire about the partner’s compliance with relevant regulations, A good partner should comply with industry standards and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or industry-specific standards.
Incident Response and Support: Determine how the partner handles security incidents and the level of support they provide during such situations. Ask about their response times, communication channels, and the availability of dedicated security teams.
Communication tools: When evaluating potential partners, inquire about the security measures in place within their communication tools. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) for devices is a must-have. In addition, their toolset should have features that protect data privacy and security such as end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, and data encryption at rest.

Ultimately, cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Irish businesses must continuously monitor and improve their cybersecurity measures to stay ahead of emerging threats and best protect their valuable assets, data, and reputation. But, by taking these proactive measures and partnering with a qualified and trustworthy communications provider, businesses can mitigate cyber risks and fortify their resilience in the face of ever-evolving cyber threats.

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