What constitutes cybersecurity? Many companies believe perimeter point solutions, such as firewalls and antivirus software, are all it takes to become cybersecure. ANX Corp. identified eight major security gaps that affect food and beverage companies: outdated firewalls, insecure remote access, weak security configurations, operating system flaws, lack of staff training, flawed security policies, negligence, and poor change control procedures. All of these security gaps can be linked to a lack of security best practices. It’s not unusual for a company to believe it is safe, especially if it can’t see that it’s at risk. Trustwave found that of the number of organizations who were victims of a breach, only 16 percent were able to detect it themselves. The remaining 84 percent relied on outside companies to report the information.
Cybersecurity is much more than a point solution—it is a comprehensive plan that complies with company objectives, corporate requirements, and/or federal and state government regulations. Once you have identified your cybersecurity needs, you can start to address cybersecurity technical requirements. This is why simply using point solutions can provide a false sense of security, since they are typically deployed quickly to address a perceived need. This is where the trouble lies. A good cybersecurity plan begins with a risk analysis to determine the current state of security and what you need to do to improve it.
A comprehensive cybersecurity program that is regularly managed and maintained is key for protection. Simply installing firewalls and antivirus software does not guarantee that critical company assets are safe from criminals if the firewall is not maintained properly and the antivirus software is never updated with approved patches. There must also be policies and procedures, proper employee security training, and regularly updated operating system patches, to name a few. The “it won’t happen to me” mentality is no longer a valid defense.
Since cyberattacks are no longer a matter of if but when, companies in the food and beverage industry must plan for remediation if they fall prey to hackers, even if it means hiring additional specialized staff to help circumvent these attacks. It’s important to have a plan in place before an attack occurs, rather than afterwards. If companies neglect cybersecurity best practices, they risk legal issues, fines, and souring their brand. They can lose customers, money, and future business opportunities. Because most food and beverage companies use the same IT systems across their stores and franchises, it’s easy for criminals to duplicate attacks and cause extensive damage in a matter of minutes. And thieves are sure to make off with a lot of loot due to the high transaction volume of the food and beverage industry—which also contributes to its appeal to hackers.
Cybersecurity best practices should incorporate a security assessment to establish any security gaps and determine any risks to safe and reliable day-to-day business operations. Reviewing current policies and procedures on cybersecurity and comparing them to government, industry, or corporate requirements can help point out any security shortcomings, and determining how to protect critical assets from vulnerabilities and risks is key to adequately securing data. Most importantly, managing and maintaining a security program will allow food and beverage companies to adapt as new threats surface and as new technology emerges.