Cybersecurity Considerations When Adopting New Software

Trying new software is exciting, but staying safe online is crucial. Here are some things to consider to help you ensure your organization’s not at risk.

Check the Software Provider’s Track Record

Investigate the software provider’s background. Does it consistently release security updates? How seriously does it handle user information? A reliable history with frequent updates and a strong commitment to data protection is a good sign the software is secure.

See what others are saying about the software. Look for reviews from people and organizations you trust. Recommendations can be a green light, while a pattern of issues may be a warning sign.

Check if the software has security certifications like ISO 27001, an international standard specifying the requirements for establishing, implementing and continually improving an information security management system. These certifications indicate the product has met specific standards — like a stamp of approval from cybersecurity experts.

Before fully committing, consider a trial period. Use this time to test the software in a controlled environment. Check if it meets your security expectations and integrates well with your existing tools.

Ensure the software can grow with your organization. Scalability is not just about size — it’s also about adapting to changing security needs. Products that scale well will likely remain secure as your business evolves.

Review Compliance Standards

Ensure the software aligns with industry-specific and regional compliance standards. Examples of industry standards include:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): A U.S. standard that ensures the security and privacy of health information. It outlines rules for the protection of sensitive patient data.
  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard): A global standard to secure credit card transactions. It sets requirements for securing payment card data to prevent fraud and protect customer information.

This step is critical for industries with strict regulatory frameworks, as noncompliance can lead to legal actions and financial penalties. Stay informed about changing compliance standards within your industry and select software that demonstrates a proactive approach to meeting and exceeding them.

Assess Data Encryption Protocols

In 2021, more than 60% of data breaches stemmed from stolen credentials. By 2022, almost half of all companies fell victim to cyberattacks, often from third parties. During the same year, the count of Internet of Things (IoT) attacks surged to 112 million incidents.

Encryption acts as a virtual shield, ensuring the confidentiality of organizational data. Choose software with configurable options for tailored security measures.

Opt for robust software encryption, like TLS for data in transit and AES for data at rest. TLS secures information during transmission, and AES ensures security when it’s stored on servers or devices.

Assess how encryptions align with industry compliance standards like HIPAA or PCI DSS for a comprehensive and compliant data security approach. Collaborate with IT and security teams to evaluate software alignment with organizational security policies and industry standards.

Conduct User Training

Keeping your organization safe requires more than just advanced software. Chief information officers (CIOs) are essential in steering companies through tech challenges. They also actively engage in user training, educating teams on new systems, policies and protocols.

Your team is a crucial line of defense, and their awareness plays a vital role. Here are steps to enhance cybersecurity through user training:

  • Security boot camp: Start a training program to teach your staff about potential security risks related to new software. This could be a structured onboarding session or regular workshops to keep everyone in the loop.
  • Human firewall: Recognize that human error is a big player in cybersecurity incidents. Over 80% of cyberattack incidents are attributed to people’s actions. You add an extra layer of defense against potential threats by training your staff to be a human firewall.
  • Real-life examples: Share real-life stories of security incidents and breaches. This practical approach helps staff understand the consequences of lapses in cybersecurity and reinforces the importance of following safety protocols.

Perform Continuous Monitoring

Implementing continuous monitoring tools is a critical component of your cybersecurity strategy for your new software. These items work tirelessly to detect anomalies and potential security breaches in real-time.

Proactively monitoring your digital environment will enhance your organization’s ability to respond swiftly to emerging threats. This rapid response capability is invaluable because it significantly reduces the impact of security incidents.

Develop an Incident Response Plan and Other Steps

Incidents like malware attacks, phishing attempts and ransomware are on the rise. There’s been a 176% increase in new malware attacks posing as Microsoft Office files. The start of 2020 saw a substantial 350% rise in phishing websites. Within six months, ransomware attacks surged by 20%, totaling 121.4 million events.

Develop an incident response plan specific to the new software. It should outline steps to be taken in case of a security breach, minimizing downtime and potential damage to your organization.

For instance, it could include isolating affected systems and notifying the right people. Here are other steps you can take:

  • Conduct regular security audits: Regularly check for vulnerabilities in your systems. This could involve testing your security measures, reviewing code and assessing networks for weaknesses. Doing this regularly can fix problems before they become serious.
  • Focus on cross-departmental collaboration: Ensure different parts of your organization work together on cybersecurity. IT, security and other departments should communicate well. Having everyone on the same page strengthens your overall cybersecurity.
  • Stay informed: Stay up to date on the latest threats. Subscribe to updates, join industry forums, and connect with cybersecurity communities. Being informed helps you anticipate and address potential issues.

Stay Safe When Adopting New Software

Exploring new software can benefit your business, but guaranteeing safety is still crucial. Asking questions and adhering to these simple tips can ensure it won’t bring any unwanted issues.