Spade Technology: Blog

What is a Security Heat Map and How Is It Used?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a few high profile cyber-attacks occur – from small businesses to large organizations – it’s clear far too many companies are still disorganized and unprepared when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s no longer possible for companies to guarantee they’re completely safe against a breach; not even with the most comprehensive security measures. It’s more important than ever before to stay ahead of vulnerabilities and threats, otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to become yet another statistic in the world of cybercrime.

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable, high profile cyber-attacks that have occurred recently:

  • Equifax in July 2017: The personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, and birthdays, of over 143 million consumers was impacted. Plus, 209,000 consumers had their credit card numbers impacted.
  • JP Morgan Chase in July 2014: The personal information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and more, of over 76 million households and 7 million small businesses was impacted.
  • Anthem in February 2015: The personal information, including social security numbers, birthdays, and employment histories of up to 78.8 million current and former customers was impacted.
  • Home Depot in September 2014: The credit and debit card information of 56 million customers was impacted after POS systems were infected with malicious software.
  • eBay in May 2014: The personal information, including names, addresses, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords, of 145 million users was impacted after hackers accessed the network.

That’s just the beginning. Check out CNN’s article on the 10 biggest hacks of 2017 alone. It’s incredible how many companies have been impacted. And it’s not just large corporations that need to worry. In fact, small businesses are often the biggest target for cybercriminals. Why? Because they have the smallest budgets to invest in securing against threats.

According to PwC’s 2018 information security survey, which can be found here, 28% of business and technology executives around the world weren’t aware how many cyber-attacks they’ve suffered in total. Plus, only 56% have an overall information security strategy in place. This survey studied more than 9,000 business and technology executives worldwide – throughout 122 countries and 75 industries.

Here’s some more interesting findings from the information security survey you should know:

  • 53% of businesses require employee training on privacy policies
  • 46% of businesses conduct compliance audits of third parties handling data
  • 46% of businesses require third parties to comply with their privacy policies

These statistics show that not nearly enough businesses are taking information security as seriously as they need to, even in today’s ever-vulnerable day and age where cybercrime is evolving at a rapid rate. In fact, only 25% of consumers say they believe most companies handle sensitive data in a responsible manner. Unfortunately, those 25% of consumers are wishful thinking.

So what gives? Why aren’t companies taking cybersecurity seriously? Chances are, it’s the “it won’t happen to us” mentality wherein companies feel as though they’ll never be victims of an attack until it happens to them. That’s where security heat maps come in handy. A security heat map involves conducting a full assessment to ensure the following:

  • Policies and procedures: Looking at your policies and procedures from a cybersecurity perspective, in order to determine if:
  • They’re documented across all departments to keep all areas of the business safe.
  • They’re tailored and customized to fit your unique environment – allowing employees to stay productive in a secure manner.
  • They’re comprehensive and address every possible question or risk that may arise.
  • People: Looking at your people from a cybersecurity perspective, in order to determine if:
  • You’re allocating the proper time and resources to assess your employee’s knowledge of best practices.
  • You’re simulating “social engineering attacks” on a regular basis to test their ability to thwart threats.
  • You’re creating policies for real-world scenarios based on the latest threats out there.
  • Technology: Looking at your technology from a cybersecurity perspective, in order to determine if:
  • All network devices, including mobile devices, are addressed to ensure vulnerabilities don’t go undetected.
  • All employees, including those who have been let go, are considered in terms of access controls.
  • All findings from ongoing assessments and/or audits are reported, concise, and actionable.

A security heat map is essential to determine exactly where your issues and/or vulnerabilities are and what needs to be fixed to keep you fully protected. Above all, a security heat map helps you answer the most important questions pertaining to cybersecurity, such as:

  • What information and systems are necessary to keep your business operating and serving customers?
  • Where business-critical information and/or data is located and who has access to that information and/or data?
  • What risks are associated with information being held and/or accessed by third-party suppliers?
  • What impact and/or consequences are associated with digital assets being compromised?
  • What additional measures or strategies, if any, could be used to lower your risk exposure?
  • Have you considered cyber-risks during your strategic information technology planning process?
  • Have you established mechanisms to review and assess your cyber risk landscape on a regular basis?
  • Do you have proper cybersecurity awareness training programs implemented across all departments?
  • Have you implemented any type of cyber insurance as part of your risk management strategy?

Once we’ve answered these questions, we’re able to provide a range of IT security services to ensure the protection of your company against a multitude of sophisticated threats. Having the right IT security services helps prevent unauthorized users from invading your systems. This is vital as hackers are able to infiltrate the network fairly easily nowadays, especially when employees:

  • Open email attachments containing malicious software
  • Visit malicious websites
  • Click on dangerous links
  • Download harmful programs
  • Forget to apply security patches and/or updates
  • Share or re-use passwords across multiple services

In fact, employee mishaps are the most common reason companies become victims to cybercrime. Our IT security services are comprehensive and complete – protecting you against hackers with:

  • Enterprise-grade, properly configured firewalls that are designed to prevent unauthorized access without slowing down your workstations or impacting performance.
  • Anti-virus software that is regularly updated and ran to prevent, detect, and remove malicious activity and/or viruses as soon as they’re found on the network for optimal protection.
  • 24/7 network monitoring to detect any sort of intrusion and keep an eye out for anything that might compromise the security of your network and all the devices connected to it.
  • Spam and web-filtering software that keeps your employees from accessing any type of unwanted website or suspicious emails to begin with, so they can’t accidentally let any virus on the network.
  • Mobile device protection wherein we keep all devices safe when they’re accessing the network and/or sensitive data, in order to ensure complete protection throughout the office.
  • Staff awareness training on best practices to ensure your team members always know what to look for in terms of detecting threats, so they don’t accidentally cause a data breach.

In addition, we also provide business continuity planning because we know it’s not always possible to stay 100% safe against every threat out there, but it’s vital to make sure your data is accessible and recoverable in the event of something going wrong. Our business continuity planning keeps you prepared for:

  • Any sort of natural disaster, such as a floor or fire
  • Any type of cyber-attack that damages the network or holds data hostage
  • Any sort of unexpected mishaps, such as a power outage
  • Any sort of human error, including file deletion or hardware damage
  • And much, much more

You can rest assured knowing automatic daily backups of operating systems, applications, and files will take place – being stored locally and offsite in the cloud so you can recover easily in times of emergency, even if onsite equipment is damaged. You’ll be able to instantly restore critical machines with virtual copies of your systems. This is designed for your peace of mind!

For more great articles like this, check out our blog here. Call us at (508) 332-4849 or send us an email at to find out more about security heat maps and how they’re used.