Matt Gardiner, CPA, CFE, Audit Manager

For organizations lacking dedicated IT departments or comprehensive controls and risk assessments, cybersecurity threats are a growing concern. As organizations increasingly rely on digital technologies for data-driven decision making, member-relations, and supply chain operations, the potential for a cyber attack grows significantly.

Without adequate cybersecurity measures in place, your organization can be exposed to a range of threats, including ransomware, phishing, and unauthorized access. It is crucial to prioritize cybersecurity by investing in regular risk assessment, implementing security best practices, and fostering a culture of awareness to safeguard operations and protect the interests of members-owners.

Risk assessments are an essential step in understanding potential vulnerabilities within your organization. To know where you stand, it’s crucial to gain an understanding of how different roles and departments interact and utilize data and systems. By engaging employees, your organization can identify areas of concern, such as outdated software, unsecured data storage, or inadequate access controls.

Once a risk assessment has been performed, the best risk mitigation is training your employees to be vigilant and creating a culture of awareness, and to implement a few best practices which will significantly strengthen your organization’s security. Some best practices to consider are:

  • Keep all software and devices up-to-date
  • Use of strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible
  • Train staff on how to spot and avoid common threats, like phishing emails, and establish clear rules for handling sensitive data
  • Regularly back up important information to recover quickly in case of a cyberattack
  • Limit user access to only what is needed for each person's job
  • Consider working with cybersecurity experts to get advice tailored to your organization’s needs

If you have any questions on how to begin the process of assessing your organization’s risk or implementing the best practices above, please reach out!