Mergers and acquisitions are popular for many reasons. They help make an organization more competitive in the market, increase revenue streams, and overall add more value. Like any other business strategy, however, mergers and acquisitions are not without risks, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. There are many steps you can take to help mitigate these risks, though. The following are a few examples.
Recognize the Risks Involved
Remember that as a purchasing organization, you aren’t just acquiring another company, you’re also acquiring their cybersecurity program and any associated cybersecurity risks. According to a survey, 95% of M&A professionals believe cybersecurity is a valuable asset. Acquiring an organization with one of these programs is great, but you need to be proactive about vetting the group before and during the process. 53% of M&A professionals stated that critical cyber security issues jeopardized potential M&A agreements. An unexpected problem may delay the acquisition process and lead to extra costs and potentially business-threatening consequences.
Common Cybersecurity Risks
There are a myriad of cybersecurity risks that plague businesses across the country. One example is malware, which includes dangerous viruses and trojans. Hackers use spam emails, infected downloads, and malicious websites to receive unauthorized access to private networks. Doing so often allows them to steal or destroy data. If the company you’re about to acquire is vulnerable to malware, you could be facing unauthorized access and compromised internal data.
Risks aren’t just external. In fact, 25% of breaches in 2017 were inside jobs. Employees, former employees, contractors, and other parties are often privy to data they don’t need to have. Unnecessary access has the potential to lead to harmful effects, both unintentional and intentional. Before and during the acquisition process, you should examine the data each employee is able to access.
The Importance of Vetting Organizations
You can’t resolve issues that you don’t know about. Vetting an organization before you acquire it is of the utmost importance. To an extent, every business is vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. It is your responsibility to assess the most common threats and develop strategies to ensure they aren’t a problem in the future. After all, when you acquire a business, you are acquiring everything that comes with it, for better or for worse. The future of the organization is in your hands.