A merger or acquisition can be an exciting time in a company’s timeline, and it can mark the beginning of a new and profitable phase. However, it can also be a time of great risk, and the cybersecurity risks involved when a company is going through a merger or acquisition shouldn’t be underestimated. Take a look at what you need to know about insider cybersecurity risks during mergers and acquisitions.
Why Are Mergers and Acquisitions Risky?
Poor security infrastructure and nervous employees can contribute to cybersecurity risks.
There are a number of different reasons why the cybersecurity risks are higher during the merger or acquisition process. For one thing, insider threats rise because more employees are worried about losing their jobs. It’s not uncommon for companies to clean house when merging with a new company or when acquiring an existing company. Employees who are concerned that they might soon be unemployed are more vulnerable to outsiders offering money or employment in exchange for proprietary information or confidential data.
Another important reason why cybersecurity risks increase during an acquisition or a merger is the changes in the IT structure during this time. As old processes and programs are moved out and new processes and programs are implemented, there will be a learning curve. Employees may make careless mistakes when dealing with security protocols and programs that are new to them.
It’s also important to note that it’s common for acquired companies to have more existing security vulnerabilities, and that puts the acquiring company at risk. Finally, high-profile mergers and acquisitions may be at higher risk simply because they attract more attention. When more people know that the company is going through a merger or acquisition that will make them more vulnerable, the more cybersecurity attacks are likely to occur and the greater the likelihood that one or more will succeed.
Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks During Mergers and Acquisitions
Cybersecurity should be a high priority before and during the merger.
There are a number of things that you can do to protect your company during a merger or acquisition. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that cybersecurity is a high priority during this time. Making sure that you do your due diligence during negotiations can help you ensure that there are few risks during the crucial time after the deal has been closed.
Work with your IT team to identify risks and weak spots in the security system. Evaluate the existing safety protocols, as well as the workplace culture and employee training as it relates to cybersecurity. A workplace that emphasizes the importance of security protocols and proper training will be at less risk. Ensure that employees are trained to recognize things like phishing scams and social engineering fraud.
Employee monitoring software can also help you keep an eye on security risks during this critical time. Employee monitoring software can alert you to suspicious activity and help you identify where additional training or more robust security protocols are needed. To find out more about how employee monitoring software can make your company more secure during a merger or acquisition, start your free 7-day trial.