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Understanding Cyber Security the ‘Easy Way’

Cybersecurity is essential for business owners because it protects their sensitive information and assets from cyber-attacks and data breaches. These attacks can cause financial losses, damage to the company’s reputation, and loss of customer trust. Failure to follow data protection regulations can cause hefty fines. It is possible to prevent these negative outcomes and ensure the organization’s long-term success through the implementation of effective cybersecurity practices.

Cybersecurity can be difficult to understand for several reasons. One reason is that the field is constantly evolving as technology advances and new threats emerge. This makes it difficult for individuals and businesses to keep up with the latest developments and best practices. In addition, cybersecurity can be a difficult topic for non-experts to fully comprehend due to its technical nature. Understanding the various types of attacks, vulnerabilities and countermeasures can be difficult for those without a technical background.

But what if there was a simpler way to understand cyber security? Cybersecurity might be a very technical subject but it shares a lot of common ground with physical security. Just like physical security, cyber security is all about understanding and protecting against threats. It’s about making sure that your data and systems are secure and that unauthorized access is prevented. It’s also about ensuring that your data is backed up and that you have the appropriate measures in place to respond to any security threats that arise. In both cases, you are trying to protect your organization against unauthorized access and theft.
Imagine if you had some sensitive documents in your office inside your organization’s building and you were trying to protect them. What security measures would you put in place to protect those documents?

The obvious choice would be to prevent a thief from entering the office premises. That means you protect the potential entry points to the office — the doors and windows. You place locks on the windows and a security guard at the door. This security guard checks the identity cards of employees provided by your organization and decides whether or not to let them in. A firewall is like a security guard. Being the outermost layer of security, you can configure a firewall to allow or drop connections based on your preferences. An additional responsibility of a security guard is to check if the back doors and windows are locked. Computer ports are like doors and windows. They can be misused to enter a computer and access its services. And just like doors and windows, they can be locked too. If a security guard can lock your doors and windows, a firewall can block the open ports of the computers so that nobody can access the services/ files on your computer from the outside.

But let’s be honest, a security guard is not the only requirement for securing those documents. What if a thief somehow stole an employee’s ID and fooled the security guard into letting them in? Now they are inside and free to walk into your office and steal sensitive documents. Maybe not. Just like any other organization, your organization also has an employee structure. Not every employee can access parts of the building that other higher-level employees can. That is what we call Access Management. It brings up the question of Who has Access to What and is implemented to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Great! Now you have the outside of the building as well as the inside of the building secure. But there is one last thing left to do. Place the documents in a locked cabinet with the key only present with you. The stronger the lock, the more secure your documents are. Now, what if your documents/data were on a computer? Password-protected files and folders are the alternatives. A complex password means more secure file storage.

You have finally established a multi-layer security measure. Let’s say you get a call from the manufacturer of the locks on your doors. They have found an issue with the locks that makes them very easy to break. They are asking to send a replacement lock with that issue fixed. Would you get the replacement locks or keep the weak ones? You will get the replacement ones. Think of software & OS updates as replacement locks. When a software or OS developer finds a vulnerability in their product, they release a security patch to fix the vulnerability. Updating or applying a security patch is important in maintaining your system’s security.

Throughout this blog, we have created a more familiar and relatable method of understanding security. However, the concepts discussed above are not in detail. If you would like to get a better understanding of different cybersecurity measures and their configurations, I will be similarly explaining each topic in upcoming posts. I recommend you check them out as they are aimed to assist you in understanding basic cyber security concepts that are important for an organization so that you can make a better decision in implementing security measures and be more secure.

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