Contrary to popular belief, large-sized companies aren’t the only ones vulnerable to cyberattacks. In fact, more than 40% of cyberattacks are targeted toward small and medium-sized businesses. Data shows that 60% of small businesses go bankrupt six months after facing a data breach, which is why implementing a proper cybersecurity strategy can help your company survive and safeguard its data successfully.
If you want to implement a robust cybersecurity plan to bolster your business’s digital defenses, here’s what you should do:
- Perform a cybersecurity risk analysis
Evaluate your company’s current cybersecurity strategy and perform a proper risk assessment. Ensure you have identified all security risks your company can face and evaluate its position. That’s how you can convince the management to allocate the desired resources for implementing a modified cybersecurity plan and provide you with the accompanying tech to support it.
- Educate your employees
Involve your employees in the process of drafting a foolproof cybersecurity plan; their cooperation is essential for the success of your security strategies. Invest in employee education and ensure they know the best practices for safeguarding your company’s data.
You can leverage online learning options to raise awareness of potential threats within your organization. While short courses and boot camps are available, enrolling for a security management master’s degree online is a good option if you or someone else wants to acquire in-depth knowledge combined with technical and soft skill development. This degree will keep the candidate up-to-date on cybersecurity and information protection while covering these key areas, including the following:
- Security policy deployment
- Human errors in cybersecurity
- Information security legal issues
- Set goals
A successful cybersecurity plan keeps toe to toe with your company’s business objectives. That’s why you must set clear-cut, proactive, and actionable security goals by aligning them with the company’s long-term objectives. Setting clear-cut goals will help you assess the success of your cybersecurity plan and measure its outcomes against the bigger picture. For instance, your goals may be:
- Integrity: Preventing unauthorized data modifications before or after submission
- Availability: Authorized individuals can access data whenever they deem necessary
- Confidentiality: Only the parties with adequate security clearance can access your data.
- Business continuity: Back up your data and have a robust disaster recovery plan in place
- Employee awareness: Employees are familiar with the best security practices and strategies
- Develop a framework
Review your existing security policies and consider updating the current cybersecurity framework. This framework is a collection of standards and practices that mitigate cyber threats and keep all your data safe from unauthorized access.
Different security frameworks exist and organizations should choose one that aligns with their needs. Some examples include CIS, C2M2, and PSI DSS, among others. These frameworks have been designed to respond to various cybersecurity challenges facing small-sized businesses. Typically, a framework is supposed to perform these functions:
- Think beyond preventive measures
Hackers launch thousands of ransomware attacks daily; two-thirds of businesses face cybersecurity threats at some time. As cyberattacks become inevitable, you must bolster your threat detection, prevention, and recovery strategies to make this certainty less harmful. For instance, you may automate the process of detecting cybersecurity threats to respond effectively to them. That’s how you can easily manageable data protection and improve your security plans.
- Check your incident response plan
A data breach can happen when you least expect it; there’s no knowing if hackers target your company for blackmailing. A robust incident response plan will guide your employees in case of data breaches so they know how to limit the fallout and recover from this attack.
Check your incident response plan to make sure it minimizes the impact and recovery time. Data shows that it takes an average U.S. firm 287 days to recover from a cyberattack; the longer it takes to respond to a data leak, the more difficult it becomes to manage the consequences. That’s why the cost of data breaches can range from $124,000 to well over a million based on how effective your response plan is and how well-prepared your cybersecurity team is! This plan usually covers these 5 phases:
Test your company’s incident response plan and make it goes through all these phases.
- Mitigate the human error element
Interestingly, not all cyberattacks are carried out by hackers who successfully unmask your passwords or infiltrate your networks. Data shows that 9 out of 10 data breaches happen because of human error, i.e., your employees being careless about adhering to policies and protocols. Your cybersecurity strategies could go to waste if your employees do not properly follow the security standards. Even if one employee unknowingly falls prey to a fraudulent email, it’ll harm your company’s reputation as well as survival. Here’s how you can prevent this from taking place:
- Encrypt your crucial data to ward off any hacking attempts
- Enforce strong password requirements within the organization
- Use multifactor authentication to protect your employee accounts
- Keep all software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches
- Limit access to sensitive data and properly manage access privileges in the organization
- Work with cybersecurity professionals
Consult with cybersecurity professionals about enhancing your data protection. Experts can help you create a foolproof information security plan or eliminate any flaws in your current plan. You don’t have to even hire cybersecurity professionals full-time within your organization. Work with freelancers to conduct periodic security audits, monitor network activity, and ensure your plan keeps operational without delays. That’s how you prevent cyberattacks from disrupting business operations.
As cyber threats continue to evolve and pose significant risks to organizations today, small businesses have to one-up their cybersecurity plans and prevent data breaches properly. Follow the guidelines mentioned in this blog to implement a successful cybersecurity strategy. Start by setting your cybersecurity objectives. Perform a security risk evaluation, find vulnerabilities, and check your incident response plan. Educate your employees and mitigate the element of human error efficiently.