Minimizing Cybersecurity Risks During A Merger
Anyone who’s been through a merger or acquisition knows how complicated and error-prone the process can be. As two organizations become one, data continuity and integrity can be difficult to maintain. Without the right planning, cybersecurity standards can quickly fall and end up putting your organization, both during and after the process, at risk.
However, with the right knowledge and strategy from the outset, you can mitigate many of the most prevalent cybersecurity dangers that crop up in a merger or acquisition.
4 Cybersecurity Concerns To Note During A Merger Or Acquisition
According to the Ponemon Institute, 80% of businesses agree that vendor security is important. However, only 60% take action in order to verify it. There are a number of key facts that expose the role that your vendors play in your security:
- Businesses share confidential information with an average of 583 third parties
- One-third of businesses have no vendor risk management policy in place whatsoever
- The businesses that do undertake third party risk assessments spend an average of 15,000 hours each year doing so
No matter what, your vendors are either exposing you to unnecessary risks or drawing a considerable amount of time and money from your organization as you manage them. You can’t just hope or assume that your vendors are protecting your clients’ data – you need to find out for sure.
No matter how secure your main location is, that defense doesn’t automatically extend to the vendors you work with. As a part of your “supply chain”, vendors need to be as secure as you are.
Assess Yours & Their Risks
No matter how much you’ve invested in your cybersecurity, you can’t just assume it’s effective enough to protect you against cybercriminals. A key best practice for cybersecurity is to regularly test your measures to make sure they hold up in the event of an attack, and to identify any unseen vulnerabilities that are putting you at risk.
That’s why third-party vulnerability assessments are so important. By having an experienced IT security company examine your cybersecurity from top to bottom, you can verify the effectiveness of your cyber defenses.
Vulnerability Testing is about identifying and assessing any security loopholes that exist in your IT environment. In finding these vulnerabilities, you can then address them and make sure they do not put you at risk.
Consider The Risks You Pose
Don’t forget about the risks your staff may pose to the organization that you’re merging with. Organizations are often at risk based on the weakest links in their cybersecurity – poorly trained employees. That’s why continuous training with a variety of different methodologies is necessary in order to have employees be knowledgeable and aware.
Security awareness training helps users to recognize and avoid being victimized by phishing emails and scam websites. They learn how to handle security incidents when they occur. If users are informed about what to watch for, how to block attempts and where they can turn for help, this alone is worth the investment.
- Make sure your staff knows how to identify and address suspicious emails, phishing attempts, social engineering tactics, and more.
- Implement training that shows how to use business technology without exposing data and other assets to external threats by accident.
- Test your staff on how to respond when they suspect that an attack is occurring or has occurred.
Intrusion Detection & Analysis
You need to have a process in place to both track and evaluate any potential intrusions, even if only attempted.
This means having an Incident Response Plan, which provides the plans, procedures, and guidelines for the handling of data breach events at your office(s), or via any of your servers or mobile devices. The plan encompasses procedures on incident response engagement and how the incident response team will communicate with the rest of the organization, with other organizations, with law enforcement and provides guidance on federal and local reporting notifications processes.
This plan is necessary to clarify the roles and responsibilities of your employees so you can quickly mitigate risks, reduce the organization’s attack surface, contain and remediate an attack, and minimize overall potential losses.
There are three main components of an incident response plan: technical, legal, and managerial.
As part of your plan, designate specific, skilled people who are best positioned to cover those functions. Make sure you answer the following questions:
- What information does each component need?
- What should you expect from each component?
- What’s the chain of command?
- To whom does the team report?
- Who has the authority to make judgment calls as to when the computer networks will be taken down, quarantined, or put back online?
Double-check that your legal, technical, and management experts approve of your incident response plan. And make sure your response team regularly reviews and practices the plan.
Need An Expert Team To Manage Your Firm’s Cybersecurity During A Merger?
Assistance from an expert IT company can be incredibly valuable – Elevate Services Group will help. Our team will help implement a range of robust security measures, deploying security devices like firewalls, patching, antivirus software updates, intrusion and gateway protection, and more. With our help, you don’t have to be worried about cybercrime in the legal industry.