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Ransomware-proof your enterprise with Canada’s ITSG-33 security framework

If cyber criminals attacked your business today, would you be able to defend your data, maintain critical operations, and notify the appropriate legal authorities and partners that may be impacted? Would you even know whether your system had been hacked at all?

Although it seems daunting to keep your business running smoothly amid these constant threats, you can make your enterprise ransomware-resistant with a mature security program built around standard IT guidelines such as ITSG-33 and NIST CSF.

Equipped with a thorough understanding of these security frameworks and the support of a dedicated security partner like OnX Canada, organizations can strengthen their defenses against cyber threats. A robust IT security program can give your company the ability to assess ever-changing risks and take measures to establish security policies, conduct ongoing testing and training, and transform infrastructure and applications to secure your assets and data.

Here are the most important steps you can take to move toward a mature information security program.

Prioritize cybersecurity

The first step is to make cybersecurity an organizational priority throughout your enterprise. Your executive leadership team and board of directors should agree to make room for IT security in your formal business plan and your budget.

This step typically begins with a comprehensive risk assessment that will inventory every business asset and data set to be protected and identify all known and potential threats. A thorough evaluation will reveal gaps and opportunities in your cyber defense system to provide a roadmap toward IT security.

Businesses lacking the budget or resources for this deep-dive exercise can benefit from the security expertise of a partner like OnX to perform an assessment and provide ongoing IT recommendations.

Read more: How to Prepare for and Respond to Information Security Breaches

Protect your business assets

Once you’ve defined your company’s current cybersecurity posture, you can determine which security controls and frameworks are needed to protect your critical business activities and data.

An information security framework is a series of documented processes that define your company’s policies and procedures for deploying and managing information security controls. Examples include the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) in the United States and its equivalent in Canada, which is laid out in the “Overview of IT Security Risk Management: A Lifecycle Approach,” better known as ITSG-33.

These well-known frameworks provide blueprints for building a robust IT security program that enables businesses to manage cyber risk and reduce vulnerabilities effectively. Since there is significant overlap between the controls recommended under these two frameworks, many Canadian enterprises implement both sets of guidelines simultaneously—especially if they interact with the U.S. government by bidding on federal contracts.

The ITSG-33 recommends three types of security controls, including:

  • Technical security controls, which use technologies such as firewalls, data encryption, and anti-virus software to protect against cyber threats.
  • Operational security controls, which rely on manual procedures like access control and authorization protocols to restrict IT privileges within an organization.
  • Management security controls, which focus on the ongoing management of IT security risks to effectively monitor and respond to potential threats.

Together, these three categories of controls represent a holistic approach to standardized security requirements to consider when building and bolstering your IT environment.

Benefit from ITSG-33 Compliance

Whether your organization follows NIST CSF, ITSG-33, or a combination of the two, achieving IT compliance is a continuous process. It requires consistent effort and evolution to safeguard your critical data and business systems. Even though non-federal enterprises may not be required to implement these standards, any business can benefit from deploying these basic risk management guidelines.

The benefits of IT security compliance include:

Protection from cyber threats

From malware, spyware, and ransomware to email phishing and other cyberattacks, the sheer volume and sophistication of threats looming online today can leave any business vulnerable. If an organization doesn’t have the resources to deploy a full-time IT staff, following a framework of proven best practices like ITSG-33 can give companies a baseline of protection. Maintaining compliance only costs a fraction of what it costs to employ an entire IT team while leaving companies better equipped to recognize and combat dangerous cyber risks.

Competitive edge

Following the guidelines established by NIST and ITSG-33 can position Canadian companies to compete for valuable government contracts. This compliance can give your organization a competitive edge over other companies bidding for a federal job in specific markets. Implementing these standards can also give your company a credibility boost by showing that you follow proven best practices to protect against cyber threats.

Reputational integrity

Even if your business is not legally obligated to abide by these standards, enacting strict data security policies can strengthen your reputation in any market. Clients—whether federal or private—are more likely to trust a company that takes extra measures to protect its data and its clients’ confidential information. Compliance with ITSG-33 indicates that your organization has a process in place for dealing with threats and taking information security seriously.

Strengthen your cyber defenses with ITSG-33

In today’s sophisticated IT landscape, organizations must be prepared to defend against—and quickly recover from—cybersecurity breaches and attacks. If you’re not confident that you could handle these threats, then implementing the basic security controls recommended in the ITSG-33 could prevent your business from costly financial loss and reputational demise.

Partnering with the security experts at OnX can make your path toward a mature security program even more manageable. Whether you need help developing a robust response plan, adopting stronger security controls, or formalizing your cyber risk management program, turn to OnX for the expertise and experience addressing security gaps and achieving ITSG-33 compliance with confidence.

Contact the security experts at OnX to assess your cybersecurity program and ransomware-proof your business.