According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation report, there were more than 53000 cybersecurity incidents and 2200 data breaches last year. This trend is not going to subside and will continue in 2019. This clearly indicates that cybersecurity attacks will increase in number and grow in complexity.
If you are a small business thinking that these cyber-attacks only target large-scale enterprises, then you are wrong. We have seen instances where cybercriminals have attacked small businesses as well. Small businesses are more vulnerable as they serve as a soft target for attackers due to a lack of resources and cybersecurity policies.
Whether you have a small business or a large one, having a robust cybersecurity program at your disposal helps in protecting against modern-day cybersecurity threats. How can I create a cybersecurity program for my business? Is that what you are thinking?
In this article, you will learn about a step-by-step process of creating a cybersecurity program for your business.
Lay The Foundation
The first step of creating a winning cybersecurity program is to lay the groundwork. Establish the foundation of your cybersecurity program which you can use to expand upon later on. Thankfully, you don’t have to create everything from scratch as there are many frameworks you can use for this purpose. You can either opt for the NIST framework or choose COBIT5.
As soon as you start working with the framework, you will realize that many functions, categories and subcategories are not relevant to your business. Now, you will have to align your operational needs with the framework. Use standards of good practice for information security laid out by the Information Security Forum and identify which operational services align with cybersecurity definitions of a particular framework.
Perform Audit of Assets And Policies
After you have laid a solid foundation, it is time to perform a detailed audit of your current assets and cybersecurity policies. Ask yourself questions like, “Which IT assets are critical for your business and need more protection?” Take some time to develop a better understanding of how and where your sensitive data is stored and how it is being accessed.
Instead of solely focusing on your hardware such as devices and best-dedicated server hosting, you should also consider software running on your IT assets as you might need to keep the software and patch updated. Next, critically analyze your current cybersecurity policies. If you identify some loopholes and outdated stuff that needs to be updated, you should go ahead and do it as soon as possible.
This analysis should include everything from access rights of employees to authentication systems to password policies. The stringent your cybersecurity policies might be, the harder it is for cybercriminals to break into your network and wreak havoc on your critical business infrastructure.
Control Access To Your Data
Once you have a clear understanding of your data and where it resides, it is time to manage access to that data in an efficient and secure manner. The easiest way to do that is to adopt the least privileged method. Offer employees access to only that information that they need to perform their tasks. For instance, a sales team should not have access to your HR data or your marketing should not have access to your financial transactions.
You cannot afford to give access to all your data to all your employees. That is where controlling access to data comes into play. Assign role-based access and monitor access constantly to prevent any hiccup. Force employees who have resigned to hand over their login credentials to you before leaving your organization. Most businesses tend to ignore this and end up paying a hefty price for it. Restrict removable storage usage and constantly monitor employee activities online to protect your sensitive data.
Build an IT Security Team
Creating a cybersecurity program is useless if you don’t have the right team to implement it. Hire IT professionals and industry experts and form a dedicated team that will be responsible for overseeing program implementation. Your IT team would be responsible for enforcing the company’s cybersecurity policies. Moreover, this team can also identify and tackle intrusion attempts and cybersecurity attacks to prevent any damage.
Before building a team, you should ask yourself questions like, “How many people do you need in your team?” or “What skills your IT security team should have?” This will simplify the process of building your IT security team. Small businesses that do not have the resources to build their team internally can take the services of managed security providers. This way, they can get the full services of an IT security team at a fraction of the cost.
Another advantage of hiring an IT security provider is that they are quick to identify shortcomings of your cybersecurity program and offer suggestions and recommendations on correcting them. This can come in handy as you can enhance your cybersecurity program and fill in those gaps to ensure smoother sailing for your business.
Invest In Training and Education
You created one of the best cybersecurity programs, got the services of IT experts but all that won’t help your cause if you don’t educate and train your employees. Invest in employee education and training and it will do a world of good to employee education and training and it will do a world of good to keep your business asset safe. By spending money on employee’s cybersecurity education and training, you can significantly reduce the risk of cybersecurity attacks such as social engineering. The more aware your staff is of enterprise cybersecurity, it will be much harder for hackers to trick them into taking an action of their choice.
Before creating a cybersecurity program for your business, you need to lay a solid foundation, invest in the training and development of your employees. Conduct an audit of your digital assets and cybersecurity policies. Control access to your data and only offer limited access to each user needed to complete their work. How do you create a cybersecurity program for your business? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.