Seth Klein, Author at USX Cyber

The Importance of a Company’s Supplier Performance Risk System Score (SPRS)

Across the globe, threats continue to evolve and multiply. The cybersecurity industry is at the forefront of the movement to address those risks. The Department of Defense (DoD) has increased efforts to safeguard United States intellectual property within the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). This led to a new era of cybersecurity standards, labeled the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). A key component of DoD compliance is the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) score. This self-assessment lets companies prove their cybersecurity awareness to the DoD before an in-person assessment can be conducted.

Why Organizations Need a SPRS Score

An organization’s SPRS score is necessary for three crucial reasons:  

These aspects of operations are vital to innovation and growth, and can therefore separate an organization from its competition. Maximizing the utilization of SPRS scores can help your company prepare for the future by implementing a robust standard of policies that give prime and subcontractors an advantage when bidding on contracts involving Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

A favorable SPRS score indicates a hardened cybersecurity posture, therefore minimizing potential risks within the organization’s supply chain. The security and integrity of data is paramount to the DoD’s operations, and the SPRS score therefore serves as a testament to a company’s commitment to its cybersecurity. The framework required for a favorable score also provides a methodology for secure enterprise change management, ensuring continuous improvement within the organization’s environment.

Understanding the Benefit of SPRS Scores 

The benefits of a strong SPRS score go beyond solidifying your organization’s cybersecurity. As the DoD seeks to further implement the CMMC architecture, organizations operating in the DIB will receive greatly increased scrutiny around their cybersecurity. It will be required for all primes and subcontractors within the DIB to provide a SPRS score if they interact with CUI or Federal Contract Information (FCI). Therefore, this requirement will propel organizations with favorable SPRS scores ahead of the competitors who neglect their cybersecurity.

Planning for the Future

By implementing the required controls, organizations will optimize auditing, create effective documentation, and reliably maintain employee awareness of cybersecurity threats. As stakeholders and partners become more aware of cybersecurity, they will place a premium on businesses who demonstrate a commitment to data protection and security. A strong SPRS score will help foster and maintain trust with partners and ensure an organization’s readiness for the future of cybersecurity.

Learn how USX Cyber can help your organization improve its cybersecurity posture to meet future compliance requirements.

cybersecurity supply chain risk management

It’s Data Privacy Week: Here’s How You can Celebrate by Protecting Your Data

Data Privacy Week is a timely annual reminder to reflect on the significance of protecting our digital footprint. The importance of safeguarding our personal information has never been more critical. This week-long initiative aims to raise awareness about privacy issues, empower individuals with knowledge, and promote responsible practices in the digital realm.

Understanding Data Privacy:

Data privacy refers to the protection of personal information therefore ensuring that individuals have control over how their data is collected, used, and shared. With the proliferation of online platforms, social media, and interconnected devices, the need to prioritize privacy has become paramount.

The Evolution of Data Privacy:

Over the years, our reliance on digital services has grown exponentially due to personal data being constantly generated and shared. Online shopping, social media interactions, online healthcare records and financial transactions, put our personal data at risk if they’re not managed appropriately. Therefore, it is imperative that the businesses we interact with every day take the proper measures to keep this data safe. 

Key Themes of Data Privacy Week:

Data privacy week serves as a reminder of the need to safeguard our personal information. Therefore, it compels us to reflect on the profound impact of our digital footprint and underscores the importance of informed, proactive measures to protect our privacy. It is not merely a week on the calendar; it is a rallying call for individuals, businesses, and policymakers to prioritize and champion the fundamental right to privacy.

What We Can Do As Individuals

Data Privacy Week encourages us to take an active role in protecting our own data. This includes being mindful of the information shared online therefore understanding privacy settings on various platforms, and staying informed about potential risks.

A Call to Protect Our Digital World

As we observe Data Privacy Week, we can all collectively commit to a culture of responsible data usage. Therefore, by embracing awareness, education, and proactive measures, we can create a digital environment where privacy is upheld as a fundamental right. Learn how USX Cyber utilizes the XDR platform, to detect threats before they ever reach your personal data.

cybersecurity supply chain risk management

Don’t get Hooked: The Dangers of Phishing

One prevalent threat that internet users face is phishing—a malicious attempt to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information. Technology connects us all, however, the darker side of the digital realm has become increasingly sophisticated. As we immerse ourselves in the vast sea of cyberspace, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers lurking beneath the surface and equip ourselves with the knowledge to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a cybercrime technique where attackers masquerade as trustworthy entities, hoping to capture sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and financial details. This deceptive practice is often carried out through seemingly legitimate emails, messages, or websites that prompt users to click on malicious links or provide confidential information.

The Dangers:

As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by cybercriminals to exploit unsuspecting individuals. From identity theft to financial loss, phishing is a digital predator that preys on trust and exploits the human element of online interaction. Understanding the dangers of phishing is paramount in fortifying our defenses against these deceptive schemes and safeguarding the digital landscapes we navigate daily.

Identity Theft: Phishing attacks can lead to identity theft, as cybercriminals use stolen information to impersonate individuals, gaining unauthorized access to their accounts and personal data.

Financial Loss: Phishing attacks frequently target financial information. Falling for these scams may result in unauthorized transactions, drained bank accounts, and credit card fraud.

Ransomware Attacks: Some phishing attempts aim to infect devices with ransomware, locking users out of their systems until a ransom is paid.

Compromised Credentials: Phishing often involves tricking users into revealing login credentials. Once obtained, these credentials can be used to compromise other accounts that share the same or similar login information.

How to Avoid Falling for Phishing Attacks:

As we navigate through the digital age, fortifying ourselves against the artifice of cybercriminals becomes a paramount endeavor. By staying informed and adopting vigilant practices, we can collectively strengthen our defenses and safeguard against the ever-present risks lurking in the virtual domain.

Phishing is a persistent threat that targets individuals across the digital landscape. However, by staying vigilant, educating ourselves and others, and implementing security best practices, we can navigate the online world with greater confidence and reduce the risk of falling victim. Remember, a well-informed and cautious approach is the best defense against the treacherous currents of cybercrime. Reach out to one of our USX Cyber experts to learn how you can implement changes to protect your organization.

cybersecurity supply chain risk management

Shielding the Fortress, Small Business Cybersecurity

Small businesses are increasingly becoming targets for cyber threats, and not just in the U.S. Australia has recently committed $18.2 million to perform small business cybersecurity health checks. In Australia alone, cyber attacks against small businesses cost the economy an estimated $2 billion per year.

Regardless of size, small companies still handle sensitive customer data, financial transactions, and proprietary information that make them attractive to cybercriminals. As a result, it’s imperative for small businesses to prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect their operations, reputation, and customer trust. At USX Cyber, we understand that tackling the operational matter of cybersecurity can feel overwhelming, so therefore we’ve put together a few key components specifically for small businesses that will help in fortifying your digital defenses. 

Understanding the Threat Landscape

Small businesses may be under the misconception that they are too insignificant to attract cybercriminals. However, statistics show that they are often the preferred targets due to their typically weaker security measures. The common cyber threats faced by small businesses include phishing attacks, ransomware, and data breaches.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Begin by conducting a thorough risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats specific to your business. Evaluate the types of data you handle and thereby assess potential entry points for cybercriminals, and analyze the impact of a security breach on your operations.

Implement Robust Password Policies

Weak passwords are a common entry point for cyberattacks. Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords and implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. Regularly update passwords and educate employees about the importance of password hygiene.

Enforce Employee Training and Awareness

Your employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Provide comprehensive cybersecurity training to educate them about the latest threats, safe online practices, and how to recognize phishing attempts. Foster a culture of security awareness to instill a sense of responsibility among your team.

Secure Networks and Devices

Ensure that your network is secured with a robust firewall, and encrypt sensitive data during transmission. Keep all software, including antivirus programs, up to date. Regularly patch and update operating systems and applications to address vulnerabilities.

Implement Data Backup and Recovery

Implement a regular data backup strategy to prevent data loss in the event of a cyberattack. Store backups in a secure, offsite location, and regularly test the restoration process to ensure it functions effectively.

Secure Customer Transactions

If your small business handles financial transactions, prioritize the security of customer payment information. Use secure payment gateways, encrypt transaction data, and thereby comply with relevant industry regulations such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

Collaborate with Cybersecurity Professionals

Consider enlisting the services of cybersecurity experts or outsourcing your cybersecurity needs in order to gain a reputable provider. Professionals can conduct regular assessments, implement advanced security measures, and keep your business abreast of the latest threats and best practices.

Develop an Incident Response Plan

Develop a comprehensive incident response plan outlining the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach. Assign roles and responsibilities, establish communication protocols, and conduct regular drills to ensure your team is well-prepared to handle a cyber crisis.

An Investment in Cybersecurity is an Investment in Your Business’ Operational Health

Investing in small business cybersecurity is not just a precautionary measure; it’s a fundamental aspect of safeguarding your business in the digital age. By prioritizing cyber health, you not only protect your data and assets, but also demonstrate to your customers that their trust and privacy are paramount. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and fortify your digital fortress to ensure the long-term success and resilience of your company in an ever-evolving online landscape.

cybersecurity supply chain risk management