Cybersecurity has become, as it should, an extremely important topic on company boards’ agendas. The main question on everyone’s mind is: “How can we eliminate this problem?” The answer, unfortunately, is that you can’t. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and their knowledge evolves with every new technology. As discussed by a panel of experts at the 2015 FOLEYTech Summit however, there are certain steps that companies can take to help prevent these cyberattacks from occurring.

1. Understand Why Hackers May be Interested in your Company

Cyberattacks have become threats that system administrators and webmasters need to guard against. In order to adequately guard the company, it is first important to understand why a hacker does what he or she does. Potential reasons:

  • To use your computer for illicit purposes
  • To steal valuable information
  • Thrill and excitement
  • Prestige and bragging rights
  • To spy on someone
  • Money (e.g. credit card fraud)
  • To cause financial or reputational harm

There is a need to be proactive when it comes to protecting your system from such attacks.

2. Include the Right People

In addition to building walls strong enough to prevent hackers from accessing your company’s information, you must build a strong team to develop and implement a cybersecurity strategy. This team can be hired or outsourced depending on the needs and resources of your company. If hiring internally, your team should be led by a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) whose role should be to know your company’s IT systems inside and out, to know how to act upon the first signs of a breach, and to know how to place the appropriate road blocks for hackers. One of the CTO’s primary tasks will be to keep the company’s officers and directors informed of any real or potential breach, in order to allow them to act appropriately.

3. What can the Technology Team do?

Once you have the right team in place, there are many steps that can be taken to protect the company.

First, your company’s systems can be tightened by, for example, deactivating unnecessary software, configuring the base operating system for increased security or installing a firewall. Second, a sufficiently qualified technology team will be able to identify and fix any existing holes in your systems. Finally, the technology team should develop company policies and educate the employees on the use of strong passwords and file encryption.

When a company is attacked, the blame ultimately falls on the company’s executive members, and the victims’ question becomes “Did the company do enough to protect itself?” You don’t want to have to answer “no.” While it is true that cyberattacks cannot be stopped, they can certainly be reduced or prevented to the extent the right steps are taken.