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Fractional Security Engineer
Engage A Fractional Security Engineer
For many businesses, a full-time security engineer might feel like overkill, while DIY security often leaves vulnerabilities exposed. A fractional security engineer might be the answer.
- Targeted Expertise: Unlike generalists, fractional engineers specialize in specific areas like penetration testing, incident response, or cloud security. You hire the exact skills you need, avoiding the expense of a jack-of-all-trades who might be weaker in your critical areas.
- Scalability on Demand: As your security needs evolve, so can your fractional engineer's engagement. Need an extra pair of hands for a critical project? Increase their hours. Security calmer? Scale back seamlessly, optimizing your cost-efficiency.
- Fresh Perspective: Fractional engineers bring diverse experience from working across different industries and companies. This outsider's view can expose blind spots in your existing security posture and lead to innovative solutions tailored to your unique needs.
- Guidance and Mentorship: Fractional engineers not only tackle immediate issues but also act as mentors, building your internal security expertise. They train your team, recommend best practices, and guide you in developing a robust long-term security strategy.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to a full-time CISO or team, fractional engineers offer significant cost savings. You pay only for the time and expertise you need, avoiding hefty salaries and benefits packages.
- Flexibility and Efficiency: Fractional engineers often work remotely, providing access to top talent regardless of location. They integrate seamlessly into your existing workflow, avoiding disruptions and delays.
Hiring a fractional engineer doesn't just improve your security posture; it brings peace of mind. You gain experienced support, knowing your critical systems are monitored and protected by a dedicated professional.
Connect With Fractional Analysts
Like all other fractional positions, fractional analysts are available as little or much as your organization needs them. They may be individuals or a team, bridging the gap between your security needs and available resources. They are essentially cybersecurity experts hired on a part-time or contract basis, offering specialized skills and experience to organizations that might not require a full-time analyst but still need top-notch security expertise.
Some of the services fractional analysts can offer your organization include:
- Threat detection and analysis, including monitoring security systems, analyzing incident data and conducting threat intelligence research
- Vulnerability assessment and pen testing to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your networks, as well as provide recommendations for fixes
- Security policy and procedure development, including helping train employees on those policies and procedures and assisting with compliance, both industry and government
- Incident response and forensics, including identifying attackers and providing recommendations for mitigation
- Security engineering and architecture, implementation of security tools and technologies
Like other fractional positions, you can scale the level of engagement from a fractional analyst based on your needs and budget. As outsiders, they may offer a fresh perspective and spot opportunities for improvement that might be overlooked by more entrenched members of your teams. You can also benefit from their experience and expertise more quickly without the extensive onboarding required by employees.
Get Your PCI Assessment
The world of credit card payments is under constant attack by bad actors; safeguarding customer trust that they can safely do business with you is paramount. Enter PCI cybersecurity assessments – rigorous evaluations that ensure businesses handling cardholder data adhere to strict security standards.
Developed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), these assessments measure your compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This comprehensive set of requirements mandates data encryption, secure storage, vulnerability management, and more – essentially building a robust fortress around sensitive cardholder information.
Data breaches can be devastating. Stolen card data translates to financial losses, reputational damage and hefty fines. Companies have been destroyed by data breaches. PCI assessments act as a proactive shield, minimizing these risks by:
- Identifying vulnerabilities: Assessments uncover weaknesses in your systems and processes, allowing you to plug the gaps before attackers exploit them.
- Ensuring compliance: Meeting PCI DSS requirements demonstrates your commitment to data security, fostering trust with card brands, banks, and customers.
- Building a secure foundation: Regular assessments create a culture of security within your organization, making data protection an ongoing priority.
Investing in PCI assessments is an investment in your brand's reputation and your customers' peace of mind. It's not just about ticking boxes; it's about building a robust defense against ever-evolving cyber threats.
Talk To Us About HIPAA Assessments
In the healthcare world, patients entrust sensitive medical information to providers, making its security non-negotiable. This is where HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) cybersecurity assessments help your organization serve as guardians of protected health information (PHI).
HIPAA compliance isn't just tick-boxes; it's about actively safeguarding PHI. Assessments explore multiple facets of your organization's security around PHI, including
- Technical safeguards: Are your systems encrypted? Do you use robust access controls?
- Physical safeguards: Is patient data secured physically? Can unauthorized access be prevented?
- Administrative safeguards: Do you have clear policies, training programs and incident response plans? Are employees regularly trained in updates and new compliance requirements?
Beyond avoiding hefty fines, HIPAA assessments offer crucial benefits:
- Patient trust and loyalty: Demonstrating robust security protects sensitive data, building trust with existing patients and attracting new ones.
- Reduced risk of breaches: Assessments identify vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them, minimizing the impact of potential breaches.
- Improved efficiency and cost savings: Streamlined data security processes, fewer fines and a proactive approach to mitigating risks lead to operational efficiencies and cost savings.
By regularly evaluating and strengthening your cybersecurity around PHI, you can ensure patient data remains secure, fostering trust and navigating the healthcare landscape with confidence.
Let's Talk About Compliance Requirements
Some entity, somewhere, has written rules and regulations your organization must follow around data protection. Staying in compliance with industry and government regulations around cybersecurity is more important than ever and has more consequences than ever because of that importance. Failures in compliance can lead to lack of consumer and industry trust, significant fines, loss of business and even complete business failure. Having your compliance evaluated by outside advisors who can give you a fresh perspective and help you stay up to date is one way to make sure that your organization avoids those consequences.
The landscape of cybersecurity and data protection compliance requirements depends on your
- Healthcare: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) governs the protection of patient health information.
- Finance: PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) protects credit card data.
- Technology: SOC 2 (Service Organization Controls) ensures security for cloud services.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): CFR Part 11 and 21 CFR Part 200/201 for protecting electronic records and signatures in the pharmaceutical industry.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Applies to any company processing personal data of EU citizens, regardless of location.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Safeguards personal information collected by businesses.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Cybersecurity Framework provides a voluntary set of standards and best practices.
- Critical Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): Protects critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.
- Sector-specific regulations: Vary by industry, like HIPAA for healthcare and Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) for financial institutions.
It's vital to understand which regulations apply to your company based on your industry, geography and data practices. You should consider
- Consulting with compliance specialists: They can help you identify relevant regulations and develop a compliance plan.
- Implementing security protocols: Encrypting data, securing systems and training employees are crucial steps.
- Conducting regular assessments: Evaluating your cybersecurity posture and staying updated on evolving regulations.
Compliance is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Stay proactive, adapt to changing regulations and prioritize robust security practices to protect your data and your business. The right advisors can help you do that without needing to invest in a full-time compliance staff.
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Also known as ethical hacking, pen testing checks your network for potential breach opportunities by bad actors. Think of it as testing the fences looking for weak spots, for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. In some cases, the tester may try to go in with no prior knowledge and infiltrate the internal network, collect data, then show the client what they did and how to prevent it. That’s the more traditional approach. Another approach is to simulate attacks after the testing company has been given the schematics of all your apps and network.
Simulated attack simulations take much less time because the “hacker” doesn’t need to take days or even weeks to figure out the environment and work their way into your system - they’re already in! Especially in time-pressured situations, the simulation can be far more effective and less costly for the client. Either approach helps clients discover vulnerabilities they may not have realized exist so they can protect their networks, data, customers and employees.
Pen testing is usually done without the knowledge of general IT staff. It may start quietly and ramp up as attacks aren’t detected. Detailed reports will include the vulnerabilities found, damage that could be done and at what point intrusions were detected. Pen testing may be required by industry or government regulations, so it’s important that companies be aware of what they need to do.
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Companies have gone out of business because of data breaches. Strong passwords are the first line of defense against cyberattacks. But passwords and PINS can also be notoriously weak, to the point that some analysts project a future without them as biometric security and other options like one-time login codes become less expensive and more widespread. What are the dangers of weak passwords and how can you work with a trusted consultant to overcome them?
- Data breaches: Weak passwords are a major factor in data breaches, costing businesses billions of dollars annually. Hackers can easily guess or crack them, gaining access to sensitive information like customer data, financial records, and intellectual property.
- Malware and ransomware: Weak passwords can also be the gateway for malware and ransomware attacks. Hackers can infect your systems with malicious software, encrypting your data and demanding a ransom to unlock it.
- Reputational damage: A data breach or cyberattack can severely damage your company's reputation, leading to lost customers, investor trust, and legal repercussions.
Working with the right partner can help you implement changes to your password strategy that will enhance your security at the front line. These may include
- Regular password changes: While not always necessary, requiring employees to periodically update their passwords can provide an additional layer of protection.
- Employee training: Educate your employees about password best practices and the importance of keeping them confidential.
- Password management tools: Consider offering a password manager to securely store and generate strong passwords for all your accounts.
- Multi-factor authentication: Add an extra layer of security with multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires a second factor like a code from your phone or a fingerprint scan to log in.
- Education: Phishing and impersonation techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, mimicking banks, government agencies and even your own organization; training employees on how to spot them can help prevent password breaches and greater infiltration.
A fractional CISO can help your company craft the plans, policies and educational messaging to help protect your team’s passwords and your company data.