Redefining Your Enterprise’s Cyber Security Posture During Mergers & Acquisitions

With 3,205 data compromises occurring in 2023 alone, fortifying your enterprise’s cybersecurity posture is more important than ever.

During mergers and acquisitions (M&As), however, companies are at high risk of cybersecurity threats due to the moving parts involved in the process.

Below, we’ll outline the top tips and techniques for redefining your enterprise’s cyber security posture during M&As. 


Common Enterprise Cyber Security Vulnerabilities During M&As

Lack of data security: The company acquiring the other company must analyze any cybersecurity risks in advance. Many of the vulnerabilities of the acquired company can be carried over to the acquiring company, leaving them more exposed to attack vectors and resulting in catastrophic data breaches.

Overburdened IT teams: During M&As, IT teams may become overburdened trying to ensure the M&A goes smoothly. While they’re focused elsewhere, however, more vulnerabilities could pop up that go undetected.

Outdated legacy systems: One of the most common culprits of data breaches is outdated legacy systems that don’t provide up-to-date security features. It’s essential to have correctly updated, modern systems in place to help prevent vulnerabilities to both software and hardware.

Missing security software: In today’s cybersecurity landscape, having antivirus/antimalware is the bare minimum defense layer companies should have. While the acquiring company may have this software in place, the company becoming acquired may not. If the company being acquired is already infected with malware, for example, it will spread to your systems if not appropriately handled.

Absence of company-wide cybersecurity policies: Ideally, all companies within the M&A should have company-wide cybersecurity policies in place that follow the most updated best practices from the top of the organizations to the bottom. This will help mitigate the chances of a threat actor gaining access to sensitive login credentials and data.


How To Maintain a Strong Cybersecurity Posture During M&As

Involve Your IT Team From the Very Beginning

Cybersecurity and IT teams are rarely involved prior to mergers and acquisitions since the fewer people involved, the smoother the process generally goes. However, that's not the case from a cybersecurity perspective.

One of the best ways companies can mitigate their enterprise’s cybersecurity risks is to make IT involved from an early point in the M&A process. If your IT team is looped into the process early on, then they can take a proactive approach by preparing your company in advance, as well as help avoid any issues during the M&A.

Perform a Cybersecurity Assessment of Your Organization

Informing stakeholders and assisting in appropriate actions to threats that are discovered are the main goals of a cyber risk assessment.

Cyber risk assessments can lead to many benefits, such as the following:

  • Lowered risk of data breaches, such as pinpointing attack vectors
  • Identified cyber threats for future reference and remediation
  • Increased cybersecurity knowledge across your enterprise
  • Improved data management
  • And more

Utilize Advanced Cybersecurity Testing Frequently

It’s always ideal to take a proactive approach to your enterprise’s cybersecurity posture. One way to proceed is to invest in advanced cybersecurity testing for your organization. This should be performed once a year, if not quarterly, to reinforce your cybersecurity posture proactively.

Understand the Cybersecurity Posture of Your Target M&A Company

It is imperative to evaluate the cybersecurity environment, posture, and policies to safeguard both the acquiring and target companies. 

Throughout the entire process, you should monitor both your own cybersecurity posture as well as communicate with other companies involved in the M&A about their own cybersecurity posture.

Work With Cybersecurity Experts Who Tailor Their Services To Your Needs

Cybersecurity experts who have both the tools and experience to fortify your entire network’s posture can help ensure your M&A goes smoothly.

An expert team that tailors their services to match your specific needs, and also creates comprehensive reports that give your IT team concrete steps toward improvement is essential.


Protect Your Company During Mergers and Acquisitions From Today’s Cyber Threats

Mergers and acquisitions are stressful enough without worrying about your cybersecurity posture. That’s why it’s vital to be proactive by learning the best practices for keeping your enterprise cybersecurity hardened enough to protect against today’s cyber threats.

Get our 5 1/2 Easy Steps to Avoid Cyber Threats to safeguard your business from the most advanced cyber attacks.

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Topics: cyber security, data breaches

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