Understanding the Basic Building Blocks of Cybersecurity by Brandon Bowers

Posted on June 17, 2024 by Brandon Bowers

The frequency and sophistication of cybersecurity attacks continue to intensify, leaving businesses, governments and not-for-profits with an ever-present risk of falling victim to data breaches. These data breaches can impact normal business operations and erode public trust, leading to irreparable reputational damage, loss of customers and even litigation, fines and penalties. While no one tool eliminates cyber threats completely, businesses and other organizations can effectively manage their cyber risks by assessing their existing systems and implementing sound information security strategies.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity involves a set of practices, processes and technology solutions to help organizations protect their computers and servers, mobile devices, electronic systems and networks from unauthorized and malicious digital attacks. Just as you would employ various measures to defend your home against intrusion, protecting your data requires many layers of security.

Consider, for example, that your home security system may employ physical protection, such as locks and alarms; digital defenses, such as motion detectors and cameras; and real-time monitoring services that alert you and law enforcement of any suspected breach. A robust cybersecurity program works similarly, employing multiple layers of physical and digital systems and policies to fortify your defenses, including locks on server room doors, password-protected system access, data encryption, firewalls and real-time intrusion detection.

What are the Primary Principles of Information Security?

Data confidentiality, integrity, and availability protections are at the heart of any successful cybersecurity program. These principles, commonly referred to as the CIA triad, are intended to evaluate an organization’s security measures and help it achieve the following goals.

Confidentiality refers to securing sensitive information, such as trade secrets, corporate records and personally identifiable information (PII) about your clients and employees and ensuring that access is granted only to authorized users. To help keep proprietary data private, you may employ encryption technology, password-protect files and applications, limit user access to certain information and employ best practices, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and password managers, to preserve authorized access.

Data integrity is essential in a world where data is king and mission-critical to operational decisions. It requires the protection, preservation and ongoing maintenance of data accuracy against improper modifications, corruption or destruction – whether those actions are intentional or accidental. For example, consider what could happen if an unauthorized user gains access to your client files and changes social security numbers or billing information. At a minimum, you may not receive any payment for your products or services.

Some methods businesses may employ to protect data integrity include cryptography, strong access control configurations and frequent software program updates and patches.

The last leg of the CIA triad is availability, which aims to ensure data is available to authorized users when needed. This means that access to information and organizational operations are not impeded by a power outage or, worse, a ransomware attack. Some of the best methods to protect data availability include using threat detection technology and having a well-thought-out incidence repose plan (IRP) that you test regularly.

Every organization is unique, as are its cybersecurity risks. Therefore, it is essential that businesses work with experienced IT professionals to assess their potential threats based on their lines of business, their physical and digital environments and any potential regulatory compliance requirements they face.  These specialists can also identify gaps in existing security programs and make recommendations for businesses to fortify their cyber defenses within their required time and budgetary constraints.

About the Author: Brandon Bowers is director of Managed Cyber Security Solutions with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs, where he provides businesses, professional services firms and family offices with business continuity and recovery, cybersecurity and fully outsourced help desk services. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-7000 or