The Importance of Cybersecurity to Private Equity and M&A Firms

Earlier this year, Accenture published a report called, The Rising Cost of Cyberattacks. If you haven’t seen it, you can read the entire report here. While it spoke specifically to private equity firms, its message is equally germane to firms that specialize in mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations. The importance of the report to all those firms is in this one sentence:

The announcement of a deal and the appeal of ready cash can attract cyber attackers the same way an open purse attracts pickpockets.

There are calculated risks. And then there are sure things. Given the rising numbers of cyber criminals perpetrating rising numbers of cyberattacks, that can’t be a risk worth taking.

 

Follow the Steps

We readily grant there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity. And since cyber criminals are adept at finding ways around the ongoing efforts to thwart them, we concede no network is impenetrable. Nevertheless, you can take steps that will secure your networks and your data from all but the most sophisticated (or lucky) hackers:

  1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is defined by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as a layered approach to securing data and applications … [using] a combination of two or more credentials to verify a user’s identity for login. MFA is all but a cliché at this point. But there’s a reason for that: It works.
  2. Virus protection software scans computer files on your computer for malware, quarantining or deleting infected files it finds. It also checks websites you visit and emails you receive for potential threats and alerts you if it finds any. An online search on that phrase yields 632,000,000 hits. It’s not hard to find.
  3. AI anti-phishing software is a relatively new technological development. It uses machine-learned algorithms to analyze emails, identify cloaking techniques, and scan the origin, content, and context of emails to identify sources of compromise. Anything that can prevent your staff members from being deceived into revealing sensitive information or granting nefarious access is a good thing.
  4. Security awareness training helps companies mitigate and prevent user risk by giving people the information they need to protect themselves and their organization’s assets from loss or harm.
  5. Dark web monitoring searches for and tracks leaked or stolen information, compromised passwords, breached credentials, intellectual property, and other sensitive data shared and sold on a hidden network of websites requiring a special browser to access.. If you don’t think you have a presence on the dark web, think again.
  6. Quarterly external and external vulnerability scanning constitutes identifying security weaknesses in systems and in the software running on them to protect organizations from breaches and the exposure of sensitive data. It’s a way of manifesting the expression, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
  7. Annual security risk assessment evaluate risk exposures across all people and departments to ensure they’re adequately managed and to weight the reality of risk against the achievement of company goals.
  8. Annual penetration testing simulate internal and external cyberattacks, revealing ways in which hackers might access your network like phishing emails and poor password management.
  9. Policies and procedures reviews and guidance ensure your people are forewarned, forearmed, and prepared to recognize and mitigate cyber threats.
  10. A breach incident response plan is an extension of #9. Having a plan in place maximizes the likelihood that you and your people will know what to do and minimizes the risk of confusion and panic.

 

Bottom Line

Protecting yourself from cyber-threats doesn’t need to be overwhelming, overly complicated, or disruptive to your business. The key is to choose a provider that offers cybersecurity and managed IT services.

 

That’s why we’re here.

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Our experience with hundreds of businesses across diverse industries provides us with the expertise to understand your unique challenges.