North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center

A resource for assisting North Dakota businesses in obtaining federal, state, and local government contracts.

August 2021: Back to Cybersecurity

As we all know, cybersecurity is changing daily. Therefore, when addressing cybersecurity, it is important to know the basics, keep good housekeeping, continuously improve, and prepare for the future.   

First, the basics of cybersecurity.   

What is cybersecurity? It is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. Cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information, extorting money from users, or interrupting normal business processes according to CISCO.  

Why is cybersecurity important? Upguard states that cybersecurity is important because it protects all categories of data from theft and damage. This includes sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems. 

How does cybersecurity help a business? According to Norton, cybersecurity is a series of processes, networks, devices, and programs that stop and/or detect a cyber-attack. 

Next, you and your employees must practice “good housekeeping” to protect your company’s information. This includes:  

  1. Creating strong passwords and changing them often. Learn how to create a strong password. 
  2. Consistently updating software programs from your software company to protect your data.  
  3. Authorizing information access for only those employees that need the information.    
  4. Remembering to backup, backup, backup your systems.  

Continuous improvement is extremely important. As technology changes, malware and hackers adapt.  This means each employee must be aware of possible ways into the company, both physically and virtually. Train your employees to notice concerns, unusual emails, and suspicious websites. Part of continuous improvement is documenting issues, changes, processes, progress, etc. Consider building a cybersecurity strategy, you can learn about the importance of developing a strategy and find additional resources. 

Business owners must prepare for the future of cybersecurity. The new CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) process is just around the corner. This certification will start with Department of Defense’s (DoD) large prime contracts. However, other contracts and subcontractors will eventually encounter certification requirements too. Giga-Green, a CMMC-AB RPO, offers a summary of CMMC and explains the different certification levels.   

 Cybersecurity resources 

Remember… once is not done. When addressing cybersecurity, think never done. Protect your company, your customers, your data, and your future.   

As always, if you are not sure where to start or how to get organized, connect with the North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (ND PTAC). Our services are at no cost to businesses based in the state of North Dakota. Register to schedule an appointment.  Additionally, take advantage of the many training opportunities and events listed on the ND PTAC website. 

 Not from North Dakota? Find your closest PTAC on the APTAC website and then click on your state.