Once upon a time, the biggest risks your business faced were physical – burglary, fires, onsite injuries. This sort of threat, plus the obligatory worries about what competitors were up to, dominated the thinking of risk managers. However, since the advent of the internet and the move toward digitizing even the most basic and routine business processes, organizations now face an even greater threat: that of the cyberattack.

The old physical threats remain, of course – although the fast-growing remote working trend has mitigated some of those onsite injury issues – but they’re now joined by a threat that is much harder to manage and even harder to predict. Risk managers, CISOs, CTOs, CSOs and their peers must ensure the ecosystem upon which the entire business runs, its operating systems, remains intact and unexposed, that it can keep the cogs turning while still supporting business growth.

Of course, it’s not only the threat of attacks or viruses we now need to worry about. It’s easier than ever for confidential corporate information to fall into the wrong hands, either by accident or by design, and the importance of securing entity data grows daily. With each new digitized process, securing entity data becomes exponentially more essential, and without a plan for robust entity management, organizations are liable to fall prey to bad actors in the cyber world.

The increasing threat of corporate cyberattacks

Cyber-crimes accounted for $2 trillion in losses in 2019, according to research cited by CPO magazine, and it’s estimated that number will rise to $6 trillion by 2021.

Half of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses – so no one is safe because they’re “too small” – with phishing and social engineering attacks among the most prevalent. That means it’s less likely to be the proverbial hacker in a black hoodie tapping on a keyboard in real time trying to get at your entity data; rather, the cyberattack could come from within, with a staff member inadvertently opening an email attachment that unleashes a virus and causes chaos or exposes entity data.

The threat of corporate cyberattacks has become so prevalent that global and local regulators alike are taking an interest, and regulatory compliance is a key aspect of effective cyber risk management. The fines for a data breach can be huge, but perhaps unrivaled is the reputational damage an organization can suffer when there is such a breach.

One of the biggest data hacks of 2019 involved 100 million records taken from Capital One, including personal information and Social Security numbers for those who had applied for credit cards between 2005 and 2019. It’s not only customers that suffer here, as Capital One’s shareholders and stakeholders will likely now be much more risk-averse in future.

The cost of a data breach is not limited to the event itself, either. Costs continue after a data breach, often for several years after the incident, with only about 67% of total costs coming in the first year after the breach. Highly regulated industries often see costs continue for even longer as they work to recover lost ground.

How to protect confidential information from hackers

It’s important to remember that governance, risk and compliance cannot be a second thought in cyber strategies, with GRC and cybersecurity closely related. People and processes are just as important as the technology side of cybersecurity. The business risk and the compliance impact of any cyber events must be considered when assessing overall risks.

To combat this threat and to help secure entity data, cybersecurity strategy best practices include looking at IT and cyber governance within an organization. All boards should be aware of the cyber threat landscape and should understand what the advanced persistent threats are.

A robust cybersecurity strategy, according to consultants IT Governance, should cover:

  • Cybersecurity risk assessments
  • Enterprise and security architecture frameworks that align with and support the business architecture
  • Regular security audits and intrusion testing
  • Recovery and continuity plans to address cyber resilience
  • Training to ensure all staff have adequate skills and knowledge to both be aware of and to tackle threats

More than this, though, it’s important to ensure that you store entity data in a secure manner. Many organizations are still manually handling entity data, storing printouts in filing cabinets or soft copies on network hard drives, as they assume this is safer than having confidential information “out there, somewhere.” In fact, a cyber breach can impact network hard drives – and as for hard copies, well, they can easily go missing, be taken or get altered without any record of what’s happened.

Recognizing the importance of securing entity data, many organizations are turning to cloud-based technology to secure the corporate record. Functionality such as secure file-sharing technology can help to prevent data breaches by placing a virtual wall around entity documents, with the IT and risk managers able to control who can access the information and for how long.

Is the cloud actually secure enough for confidential entity data?

Some CISOs, though, still have concerns about the security of the cloud, especially when it comes to securing entity data and confidential corporate information. When assessing the suitability for cloud-based entity management solutions to help secure entity data, ask vendors about their security credentials. Make sure you bring the CISO, CTO and other stakeholders into conversations early, too, so that they can feel safe and secure in the choices made.

Whatever system you choose for entity management should be able to seamlessly integrate with any other solutions deployed across business information management – often, it’s not the individual software but the links between different solutions that can be the weak point in data breaches.

As an entity management system, Diligent Entities brings the best of all worlds to your governance, risk and compliance processes. Providing a way to centralize, manage and effectively structure the corporate record to improve entity governance, better ensure compliance, mitigate risk and improve decision-making, Diligent Entities also seamlessly integrates with board portal Diligent Boards and a secure file-sharing platform to create the Governance Cloud. This all-in-one governance ecosystem helps enable organizations to achieve best-in-class governance while securing entity data.

Get in touch and request a demo to see how Diligent Entities and the wider suite of cloud-based governance and compliance technology can help your organization to secure entity data and help protect against data breaches and cyber threats.