Life science companies regularly deal with intellectual property and expensive lab equipment, making them an appealing target for cybercriminals. This is a major issue on two crucial fronts:
- Cybersecurity threats can disrupt your essential research and development of highly sought-after pharmaceuticals. There is no shortage of diseases and conditions that need treatments and cures, making your work highly valuable.
- Life science companies represent significant investments that already face the challenge of getting a product to market. Boards of directors are becoming more interested in companies protecting their investments with comprehensive cybersecurity.
How can you protect your intellectual property, your team, and your investors? Learn about these five key cybersecurity musts from your knowledgeable Data Evolution team.
1. Training, training, training!
Antivirus software, antimalware software, and firewalls have become standard cybersecurity practices. These days, social engineering and phishing are the top threats to your company’s cybersecurity. No matter what cybersecurity program you are using, you will always need to train, update, and evaluate your team to protect your environment from user-targeted cyberattacks.
Onboarding training helps establish awareness about potential threats from the very beginning. You will also need to constantly update people to keep them informed about new or ongoing threats. Finally, it is crucial to administer evaluations using a program that will ensure the training is effective and to identify and retrain anyone who may be potentially vulnerable.
It can be unexpectedly easy to compromise unsuspecting or even educated users, making this the single most vulnerable factor in these environments. Working with an experienced partner such as Data Evolution to train your team can help you defend against cyberattacks.
2. Procedure, policy, practice
Wire fraud is a common form of phishing. Establishing solid procedures around things like automatic ACH payments, wire transfers, and purchase requests helps prevent wire fraud. You should especially establish procedures for out-of-band authentication (OOBA), or requiring authorization from at least two different channels.
OOBA can help prevent fraud and hacking by making it more complicated for a cybercriminal to request money or information. For example, you should not confirm any financial activity, vendor bank accounts, or other critical information over email alone. Use multiple methods, including a phone call, before setting up any transactions or executing transfers.
Verification procedures and policies can be a lifesaver, especially in the life sciences industry, where it is not uncommon to receive bills for large sums of money for equipment or other reasons. Avoid getting exploited by establishing and practicing quality procedures and policies around financial transactions.
3. Multi-factor authentication
People have become highly mobile these days when it comes to working. They may access data, accounts, or systems from multiple platforms and devices, including mobile devices. Your company needs to control when, how, and what information can be accessed.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a simple-to-set-up option that effectively reduces threat actors that compromise accounts. It is used to control access to systems and protect company information by requiring proof of identity using at least two pieces of evidence before allowing a user to access any information.
If you need to access many different platforms for work, MFA can become tedious or inefficient. Check with your IT service provider about a single sign-on solution (SSO) to help manage your various platforms. While SSO can be more convenient, it also creates a single point of vulnerability. Your Data Evolution team can help you evaluate this tradeoff and decide on an option that balances convenience and efficiency with cybersecurity.
While these solutions do not come free, especially for SSO, we want to reassure you that they are a worthwhile investment. MFA and SSO solutions are much easier and less expensive to implement early on, and they can help prevent IP theft and other costly problems.
4. Infrastructure monitoring & auditing
Your IT infrastructure requires ongoing monitoring & auditing to ensure you have proactive and reactive approaches in place in case of any suspicious or compromising activity.
Infrastructure monitoring is primarily proactive. At Data Evolution, we approach this by collecting and analyzing network data and activity to monitor for anything suspicious, ensuring that the right people are looking at and acting on information as needed.
Infrastructure auditing is more reactive. For example, after a compromising event occurs, Data Evolution may look at audits to assess what was compromised and what information was accessed or lost. An audit is crucial in these situations to help you determine your next steps.
5. Backups, updates, & a reaction plan
Ransomware is another typical cyberattack that targets end users. An example of a ransomware attack is when a cybercriminal encrypts your files and holds them hostage. In these types of crypto lock events when you are locked out of access to your data, you must have uncorrupted backups to enable you to continue your work.
Here at Data Evolution, we recommend scheduling data backups multiple times a day. The exact schedule and rotation for data backups will depend on the system or application, but backups of cloud systems, data storage, email systems, and more are necessary. If something does happen to your IT infrastructure, it is vital to have a reaction & recovery plan in place.
In addition to backups, you should establish a good patch updating policy. Patches are changes, fixes, or improvements to programs and their supporting data. It is vital to ensure patch updating policies and backup plans are being followed correctly and regularly. That is where an experienced IT service provider such as Data Evolution can help.
The life sciences industry is highly resilient even during turbulent economic periods, but this also means biotech companies are a constantly available target for cyber threats. Cybersecurity is a worthwhile and highly necessary investment for any biotech company. Protect your work and financial investments by implementing these key cybersecurity musts as soon as possible.
Ready to get started? Talk to your experts at Data Evolution today