Cybercrime is more than just the high profile hacks we see in the news. In fact, small businesses are impacted just as much as large businesses, if not more. Yet, in spite of this sporadic increase, many small businesses tend to shove aside the idea that cyber-criminals could attack them. The shocker here is cyber-criminals will not overlook your “small company” because of its size. In fact, small businesses are a major target of their nefarious activities.
A recent Verizon data breach report stated that small businesses are the target of 43 percent of cyber-attacks, which is a pretty huge figure. This huge figure tells us that small business owners have to discard any notion that suggests there’s not too much to steal from their businesses. Such a mindset is completely false and out of sync with the realities of today’s digital world. According to Yahoo Small Business, on average, small businesses lose more than $188,000 million dollars per attack.
This, without a doubt, is more than enough reason for small business owners to take the bull by the horn and take charge of their cybersecurity. But, how do you take charge without having a structured cybersecurity policy and plan for your business?
Don’t know how to create a cybersecurity policy for your business? Read on to find out now.
What is a Cybersecurity Plan?
Small businesses are the favorite target of cyber-criminals. As a matter of fact, ransomware attacks in 2017 caused nearly a quarter of small and medium-sized businesses to completely halt operations. Recent statistics also show that around 60 percent of small and medium businesses forced to suspend operations after a cyber-attack never reopen for business.
According to Cyrus Walker, Managing Principal at Data Defenders, there are two key mistakes small companies make that leave them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The first key mistake is that small businesses assume they won’t be targeted. The second key mistake, which is as a result of the first, is that they don’t provide any cybersecurity training for their employees. These two mistakes eventually result in serious cybersecurity threats to small businesses.
Employees sometimes give cyber-criminals access into the defense networks of businesses due to ignorance on how to handle activities in accordance with cybersecurity best practices. This is why a cybersecurity plan is very important.
A cybersecurity plan is a written document containing information about an organization’s security policies, procedures, and countermeasures. The objective of this plan is to ensure the integrity of operations and security of your company’s assets.
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It’s an essential tool to protect your customers, employees and corporate information. By defining the current and future state of your cybersecurity space, you are provided with clarity on how to best reposition your organization for cybersecurity best practices. A cybersecurity plan also enables your information technology team to communicate effectively within an organisation regarding your cybersecurity structure.
Why Do Small Businesses Need Cybersecurity?
Still in doubt that your small business needs a well-developed cybersecurity plan? Here are three reasons why you need a cybersecurity plan.
- Cyber-attacks are the new normal for small businesses. Generally, media reports may focus more on bigger corporations, but small businesses are the new target for cybercriminals. When a breach occurs in your organization, every second either counts against you or for you. If you have an incident response plan incorporated in your plan, you can swiftly and drastically reduce the damage. Hence, the earlier you detect it, the easier it is to deal with it and to secure your data.
- A quick response to cyber-threats will protect your organization’s integrity before your employees, customers and stakeholders. For instance, if a computer system that contains sensitive data is stolen, you could deactivate or lock it from wherever you are before any information is compromised. A cybersecurity plan will contain all necessary procedures and countermeasures needed against any cyber-threat.
- A cybersecurity plan that contains measures against information technology breach could help to prevent cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity doesn’t begin after an attack occurs; it’s an ongoing process that requires consistent maintenance and monitoring.
Developing Your Cybersecurity Plan
Once you’ve understood best practices in cybersecurity and have assessed your organization’s cybersecurity structure, you’re ready to start building your cybersecurity roadmap. How do you develop a cybersecurity plan?
1. Identify Key Assets And Threats
The first step in developing a cybersecurity plan is to identify the assets you’re protecting. This step involves active consideration of your business’ context, as well as asset/risk assessment and threat management processes.
2. Prioritize Assets, Risks, and Threats
After assessing your assets, threats and risks, the next step is to prioritise them with the right approach depending on the context of your organisation. Here are three questions you need to answer to help you identify top risks:
- What are the risks or threats in your organization?
- What are the main concerns of your organization regarding cybersecurity?
- Which risks and threats would harm your organization more?
You can then go on to determine countermeasures and treatments for each risk or threat identified. Classify them from the easy wins to the hardest to achieve.
3. Set Achievable Goals
It’s cool to aim high on your goals, but achievable goals are more important to your company than a long list of policies and procedures that don’t help. While a cybersecurity plan should identify all activities that you’d like to undertake, you need to identify those goals that will be truly achievable. Some companies at the beginning of the year set goals of completing a task in 6 months but they never complete it in over a year.
Start with the basics; the goals that are easily achievable. Remember, cybersecurity policies are a strong foundation that will drive the rest of your cybersecurity efforts. Focus on the most important and high-risk areas first and get them out of the way as they are a matter of priority.
4. Document Your Cybersecurity Policies
It’s a known fact that small businesses often operate more by word of mouth and intuitional knowledge rather than operating out of the books. Cybersecurity is one area where it’s essential to document your protocols, processes, policies, and every procedure. Having a cybersecurity plan avails you the opportunity to have a detailed toolkit that is in line with cybersecurity best practices and policies.
Writing these policies may be a herculean task, however, some organisations are best known for their expertise in technical and business writing. You can hire the services of any of these organizations.
5. Link Goals To Business Objectives
Identify the business reason for each goal earlier highlighted. For example, it’s better to indicate that a firewall is needed, not just for the sakes of it, but so staff can easily access the data they need to do their jobs. Don’t ignore the business side of your cybersecurity plan because every of your plans will have an impact on your organization.
6. Test For Vulnerabilities
Having done all, don’t forget to have a test run. You need to find out if your cybersecurity plan works or not. Waiting to find out when a cybercrime occurs will be too late and too risky. Therefore, test your plan.
How do you do this? At least once in a year, hire a cybersecurity expert to perform a full assessment on your security to make sure that your plan is still relevant, up to date, and effective. Some organizations even hire ethical hackers to attempt to breach their system. Cyber-threats are always evolving, so your computer security plan should evolve also.
Building a cybersecurity plan or drafting a policy doesn’t have to be too technical. However, it’s crucial that expertise is involved in such technical writing. RSI Security offers the best services in any form of technical or cybersecurity writing.
Unlike other technical writing organizations, RSI Security provides deep domain expertise in all facets of cybersecurity defense, compliance, and certifications. Be it audit report writing, documentation writing, policy writing, business technical writing, or even online proofreading, RSI Security is the best service provider.
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