By Trey Richardson, Managing Partner
Cyber security is a necessity for political organizations.
Without a cyber-secure partner like Sagac, your company, association, or political committee cannot defend itself from threats, leaving you and your information vulnerable to bad actors.
Along with the way technology has evolved over the years, there has been a steady increase in inherent and residual risks. Political organizations can no longer rely on simple solutions like anti-virus software or firewalls to protect from the impending threat of cyber criminals. Every aspect of your organization must ensure protection, including third-party partners.
What is cyber security?
Cyber security is, at its most simple, a series of processes and strategies put in place to protect an organization’s critical systems and sensitive information against cyber-attacks and data breaches. Cyber-attacks on political groups are getting more sophisticated as criminals are having an easier time evading traditional security controls, through the adoption of new methods of attack that target your organization’s providers and consultants.
What does Sagac’s cyber security strategy consist of?
Sagac’s cyber security strategy consists of different layers of protection to defend your organization against all kinds of cybercrime, including attacks that are designed to access, change, or destroy data, extort money from your group, or aim to disrupt your day-to-day operations.
Sagac’s cyber strategy takes into account:
Employee security training and awareness
Disaster recovery or business continuity
Why is this important to your organization?
Every major corporation, trade association and political organization in America are more reliant on technology and require cyber-secure partners. Sensitive information like employee, member, and donor data is being stored online on cloud storage solutions. Organizations have become more reliant on computer systems, and this has only been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of organizations adopting work-from-home solutions.
To support new remote-work and technology environments, Sagac has invested heavily in cyber security infrastructure, staffing, policies, and coverage to protect our clients and keep their data safe from intruders.
We take cyber security seriously.
Among political consultants, Sagac maintains the toughest privacy and security protocols in country.
Participation in Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program
Privileged access management
Vigorous data retention policy
Maintaining a designated data-protection officer
Ongoing cyber security training
Requiring user consent to process information
Anonymize data for privacy
Providing an incident response plan
Communicating data breaches in real time
Cyber insurance to cover risks
Criminals are increasingly targeting political information. This is due to the increase in organizations storing identifiable information via cloud services, thus increasing exposure. However, it is important to note that theft is not the only possible goal, with some criminals choosing to either change or destroy information, with the hope of building distrust in an organization or political enterprise such as political action committees, campaigns, and parties.
Social engineering continues to be the easiest form of cyber-attack with ransomware and phishing attacks being common methods to gain entry into a organization’s critical systems or networks. Third-party risk among vendors is also increasing, as criminals choose to target third or fourth-party vendors, such as consultants and database providers to gain access to organizations they partner with. All of the above trends have only helped heighten the need for and importance of cyber security to be taken seriously by political operations.
How to protect your organization from cybercrime
There are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself from cybercrime, below are a few examples:
Educate employees — Cyber security training should be implemented among government affairs staff in an organization to prevent and mitigate risk when it comes to compromising data and information security. A successful security awareness program helps employees understand proper cyber etiquette, the security risks associated with their actions and to identify cyberattacks they may encounter during their day-to-day work.
Implement privileged access — Privileged Access Management refers to the strategies and technologies organizations use to manage access and permissions for users, accounts, processes, and systems. By strategically assigning employees the correct level of access depending on their role and responsibilities, the overall risk of suffering extensive damage from a cyber-attack is effectively mitigated, irrespective of whether it is from an external actor or internal errors.
Monitoring, Detection & Response — Organizations need to monitor their systems and networks on a 24/7 basis to ensure that there is no suspicious activity that may point to an attack or breach. If cyber security monitoring is not in place this could lead to a delay in detecting that an attack is underway, and your organization may not be able to respond in time to prevent it or reduce its impact.
Manage Third-Party Risk — Third-Party Risk refers to the potential threat presented to a data, financial information, and operations, from third-party vendors e.g. consultants, suppliers, and other outside parties that provide products and/or services and have access to your data and systems. It is important for organizations to do due diligence when partnering with vendors to ensure cyber security policies and programs are in place.
These are just a few examples of initiatives you can adopt to increase your cyber security and reduce the chance of falling prey to a cyber-attack or data breach.
How can Sagac help?
Connect with Sagac today to find out how we can help you and your organization reduce risks and maintain cyber security compliance.