Cybersecurity risks can affect the operations of an entire company, irrespective of the company size. However, keeping the company network and data safe is often delegated solely to the IT department. While it is usually the responsibility of an IT department to keep data secure, the responsibility extends to every employee and every department. In modern businesses, the internet and smart devices are used on almost every level of daily operations, making it impossible for a single department to take sole responsibility for securing the network. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at the role that project managers play in cybersecurity.
Understand the Basics of Cybersecurity
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Although nobody expects a project manager to be a cybersecurity expert, it is important to understand the most basic cybersecurity principles to reduce the associated risks during a project effectively. Simple actions like using strong passwords can significantly decrease the chances of being hacked. Some of these basic steps include:
Identify and Analyse All Risks
As a project manager, it is essential to look at every aspect of a project to identify any potential security threats. In addition, as a project manager, you should look into how technology will be used to determine potential risks. These could include un-encrypted emails, data stored on devices, and unsecured Wi-Fi or network connections. It might be prudent to perform this analysis in co-operation with an IT security specialist.
Implement Advanced Security Mechanisms
Stolen credentials are one of the main methods hackers use to gain access to confidential data. Users often use weak passwords to secure their accounts, making it easier for hackers to gain access to confidential data. Using technology like two-factor authentication to secure project data adds a dimension of security. It makes it easier for authorized persons to access data while significantly reducing the probability of unauthorized access.
Upgrade Hardware Regularly
Make sure that the hardware such as networking gear, mobile devices, and computers incorporate the latest security technology. Older devices may have security flaws that could leave your network and devices vulnerable and easier to hack. This can be avoided by regularly replacing your old hardware with newer models. In addition, it is important to ensure that all old devices are disposed of by using a recycling service provider to erase any confidential data from devices securely.
Integrate Security on Every Level
Because internet connectivity is so deeply ingrained in modern business practices, it is important to ensure that security is integrated on every level. For example, ensure that staff is trained to identify potential security risks and avoid them. Special attention should also be paid to creating a safety-oriented culture amongst staff or team members as this is one of the best tools to combat cybercrime with.
Create Effective Security Policies
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As a project manager, it is essential to create strong and effective cybersecurity policies. These policies should aim to strike a balance between being user-friendly and allowing those who need access to information and systems to access them easily while making it difficult for hackers to gain access. A few key elements that this policy should address are:
Use of Personal Devices
The best form of security is to ban personal devices from being used on company networks, but this is not always possible. An alternative to a total ban is requiring employees to use security software such as antivirus, antimalware, and firewalls when connecting personal devices to company networks or using them to access company data via external networks.
Introduce a VPN
It is necessary to access company servers via external networks, but this can come with significant security risks. However, these risks can be mitigated by using a VPN to access company servers securely. Including the requirement to use a VPN in your cybersecurity policy is an excellent way of ensuring that data remains safe and confidential.
It is not often that all employees require access to all data. By distributing data only on a need-to-know basis, the overall security of your project and the company as a whole is improved. This is especially true for sensitive data such as financial information.
Despite what the common misconception would have us believe, cybersecurity does not begin and end with the IT department. Every employee plays a role in the security of data and company networks. As a project manager, it is important to understand the risks that a data breach represents and know how to avoid them. Cybersecurity is a team sport, and every employee should be called upon to do their part to keep data safe.