In today’s business environment, where new cyberthreats are constantly emerging, security is currency. That is especially true for organizations working in corporate development and M&A, where preventing unauthorized user access and protecting the confidentiality of data is paramount. Studies confirm that cloud-based M&A platforms are more secure and better able to respond to security challenges than generic, standalone tools.
Security is particularly important for frequent acquirers because the more companies that are involved, the greater the potential for breaches. Each separate tool or device a member of your M&A team uses brings with it the potential for a security breach. At best, a breach will slow down the process and at worst, could kill the deal and tarnish your company’s reputation.
Companies with sophisticated acquisition strategies and pipelines brimming with new opportunities — and sensitive information — need to be assured that their plans and data are not going to fall into the wrong hands. Despite the perilous landscape, the security measures taken by many organizations don’t reflect the risks associated with a typical M&A process. Companies that rely on outmoded analog systems for managing data security are particularly vulnerable because analog systems simply cannot provide adequate protection against data leaks and breaches. Read on for more details on what to look for to ensure your M&A practice is supported by a platform with top-tier security.
ISO 27001 Certification
M&A platforms should be built on a foundation of proven, widely accepted security products and protocols. A certified information security management system (ISMS) is designed to protect data both in transit and at rest to ensure its confidentiality, integrity and availability. A platform’s ISM should comply with the ISO 27001 standard, an internationally recognized benchmark for security control and best practices. While other M&A software providers are ISO 27001 compliant, there are only a handful of M&A platforms that are ISO 27001 certified, meaning they have passed a rigorous audit measuring how well they execute processes.
Read ISO 27001 Certification: What It Is And Why You Need It by Michelle Drolet at Forbes.
Secure Cloud Providers for M&A
M&A platforms that run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) — a leading cloud provider with best-in-class security — have a leg up in many ways. AWS ensures the availability of computing resources and handles infrastructure management tasks like capacity provisioning and patching. If an M&A tool runs on multiple Amazon availability zones, an outage in one zone will not affect service in other zones.The platform contains five distinct layers of services for added security: User Interface, Authentication, Application Programming Interface (API), Data Persistence, and Event & Log Handling. Availability is monitored by an automated service with “heartbeat functionality,” which ensures that both front-end and back-end services are available.
ISMS, Permissions, and 2FA
The ISMS is an integral part of an M&A platform’s day-to-day operations and governance, encompassing personnel, processes and systems. Security controls are based on risk analysis, periodically performed throughout an organization to ensure the mitigation of any emerging security risks. Operation and maintenance of the most secure platforms follow documented processes and plans.
Rigorous permissions settings also play a factor in security of M&A platforms. Midaxo’s multi-level, customizable permissions management system enables administrators to grant access based on individual deals, tasks or documents. This granular access management system keeps documents safely on the screens of those who need them — and away from those who don’t.
Administrators should use two-factor authentication (2FA) and personal admin accounts when operating the platform. Employee access to resources is best limited to a role-based, need-to-know basis. Granting, regularly reviewing, and deleting access rights following documented processes is best practice. Passwords must follow length, complexity and renewal requirements. Access to the software code repository and the platform production environment should be restricted to a few software developer roles.
Ideally, you want the security on your choice of M&A platform to be continuously monitored to ensure a response to deviations and incidents in a timely manner. Alarms generated by automatic monitoring systems should be promptly analyzed and, if necessary, escalated to ensure proper incident response. At Midaxo, every incident is analyzed to determine whether changes in the existing architecture or implementation are necessary. All reported incidents are logged, and the remedial action indicated. Midaxo policy holds each employee responsible for reporting perceived security incidents.
Login attempts should be monitored to detect malicious attacks such as brute-force attacks on a customer’s account. The number of allowed incorrect credential combinations should be restricted, and abnormal activity reported to the affected customer. Application usage and access management events should be logged, which would allow your M&A platform to manually investigate potential cases of misuse reported by customers.
At Midaxo, we maintain a list of all third-party components used on the platform and closely monitor published vulnerabilities and software updates related to those components. We also monitor security alerts and advisories from various security organizations and authorities to protect against possible vulnerabilities.
In case of a data breach or other critical security incident, Midaxo will immediately inform affected customers of the scope of the incursion and mitigation activities. To date, we are proud to report Midaxo has never experienced a data breach.
Automated, Encrypted Backups
Use of AWS’s Key Management Service (KMS) allows automatic daily encrypted backups. In Midaxo’s case, backups are stored for 90 days, and monthly backups are kept for one year. All customer data can be fully recovered in case of hardware failure or an outage of the Amazon service.
Midaxo’s business continuity plan covers various scenarios with prevention, response and recovery strategies. The plan is regularly updated based on a risk analysis, and Midaxo’s monitoring team regularly tests the plans and work instructions. All changes are properly planned, approved and documented, and associated risks are analyzed and changes implemented in a controlled manner.
Choose A Tool Designed with Security in Mind
A purpose-built platform like Midaxo is designed to provide the security required in M&A. Midaxo was built with an acute understanding of the importance of safeguarding confidential data. Security is incorporated into every facet of the platform, from the comprehensive information security architecture on which it was built to the multi-level, customizable system for managing access; the continuous, real-time monitoring; the automated, encrypted backups; and the “heartbeat functionality” that ensures all services are available and working properly. Read more about Midaxo’s Platform Security.
Midaxo is committed to maintaining the highest level of information security for its customers. Our top priority is protecting customers’ confidential data and maintaining the security of our platform. In M&A, security is currency; Midaxo works to be the gold standard.