As technology evolves, the need for securing digital assets and critical corporate information has increased dramatically. Cybercrimes are rising in the post-COVID world, where 89% of all businesses have already implemented a digital-first business strategy. Hackers and cybercriminals have developed new ways to steal, tamper, misuse, and restrict critical organizational information. In addition, they have improvised conventional hacking techniques to trick employees into giving out sensitive business data.
A good cyber posture is critical for businesses to retain customer trust, build credibility among stakeholders and investors, and improve brand identity. Businesses need a comprehensive strategy to counter cybersecurity threats, mitigate data breach risks, decrease vulnerability, and restore online business services without prolonged disruption in case of a security lapse. Here are ten easy steps to create a cybersecurity plan for your business and ensure all-out security for critical business information:
Consult or hire cybersecurity specialists
The need for a strong online presence and a digital layout has compelled businesses to invest in cybersecurity. To create a cybersecurity plan, businesses need to consult cybersecurity specialists to identify business needs and devise a policy for state-of-the-art data and network security. Many organizations and businesses have a separate cybersecurity department comprising cybersecurity specialists, network engineers, IT experts, and project managers. These specialists build and maintain security infrastructure that aids in mitigating security risks.
Cybersecurity experts have a comprehensive understanding of the gravity of a security breach. They are well-versed with numerous tools, techniques, and methodologies to counter security threats, reduce system vulnerabilities, and secure data, applications, networks, and servers from internal and external security risks. Cybersecurity specialists undergo degree programs and boot camps for getting into cybersecurity professions in top-rated companies. They apply their expertise and technical knowledge to keep businesses from falling victim to cyberattacks and data leaks.
Analyze Your Existing Structure
A team of cybersecurity specialists, network engineers, technicians, and management representatives analyzes your business’s entire IT structure. This examination aims to verify the usability of existing devices, determine user rights and access controls, go through existing security protocols, and understand the flow of information between departments, stakeholders, supply chain partners, and customers. This will help the team figure out your business’s security needs and required technical infrastructure to implement state-of-the-art security protocols in the future.
Examine Potential Vulnerabilities and Threat Vectors
The most basic step in developing a cybersecurity plan for your business is identifying potential weaknesses in the existing system. This includes all the digital assets, technology infrastructure, security architecture, and digital communication. Cybersecurity specialists will examine all the threat vectors and map out the entire threat surface, including web applications, network connectivity, servers and databases, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Some of the most common threat vectors to a business include insider threats, weak or no passwords, poor encryption algorithms, outdated security systems, lack of security protocols in data centers, poor network configurations, weak credentials, and lack of employee training. These threat vectors indicate the poor cyber posture of a business and increase your chances of falling victim to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity specialists will include these security parameters while developing a security policy and work on each security vector to mitigate security risks.
Identify Your Legal Obligations
Businesses that deal in online sales and purchases with customers and suppliers are legally bound to protect critical information like credit card details, personally identifiable information, bank accounts, and transaction information. A business failing to comply with privacy standards like PCI DSS and to protect critical customer and stakeholder data faces severe penalties from regulatory bodies. So before you begin prioritizing security risks, you must first determine which compliance standards your company is held accountable to. You must also determine how those standards affect the security solutions you will implement.
Prioritize Your Assets and Risks
Once you’ve identified the threat vectors to your business, it’s time to conduct a risk assessment and prioritize your assets. Your team will determine the most critical business processes, information flow, and the level of risk posed to them. This will help your team prioritize digital assets, information technology infrastructure, and existing vulnerabilities in the system. Cybersecurity specialists will identify potential threats a business may face in core business functions and critical areas. They will also determine the possible outcomes of information loss or misuse.
Develop a Cybersecurity Policy to Fit Your Needs
After a detailed analysis of the existing system, identification of risks, and examining legal obligations, you can create a comprehensive security policy that considers the existing vulnerabilities, threats, and risks and defines measures to fill the security lapses. A security policy provides a detailed security layout for the organization, starting from points of data entry to data transmission, flow, storage, retrieval, and network infrastructure. Cybersecurity specialists will document the mitigation action processes for each potential threat.
Disaster recovery plans and incident response are an integral part of security policy. This provides a comprehensive strategy to minimize disruption and keep the business functioning when a disaster strikes. Cybersecurity specialists and technical support will document all possible events that pose a risk of data breach and lay out a plan to respond to the disaster. A disaster recovery plan also incorporates modes of security analysis to determine the cause of the security breach. The purpose of this is to determine who will be responsible for responding to an incident and how far that responsibility extends.
Implement Security Policies in True Essence
A cybersecurity plan is ineffective if it is not implemented in its entirety. The cybersecurity department is responsible for implementing each security measure documented in the security policy. It also trains employees on existing security threats and changes in security posture and ensures strict compliance with security procedures across the board.
Test a Cybersecurity Plan
After implementing your cybersecurity plan, it’s time to test your security infrastructure to examine its efficacy. Cybersecurity specialists run various tests like network penetration testing, ethical hacking, web application pen testing, vulnerability scanning, white-box, black-box, and grey-box testing, planned simulated DoS attacks, and other crucial tests to check the reliability of security measures. You can also hire security services providers to plan a complete network and application test schedule to identify points of compromised security in applications, networks, and servers.
In penetration testing, cybersecurity specialists define the scope and goals of external tests. A third-party tester or ethical hacker schedules the tests to discover how the network, applications, and devices respond to the test. The tester identifies loopholes in the system through the tests and creates a comprehensive report on all the areas that lack appropriate security.
Identify areas of improvement
Using the test reports, cybersecurity specialists determine what security protocols should be used to provide additional security for applications and network infrastructure and plug security loopholes in the existing system. Cybersecurity specialists adjust the security plan to mitigate risks and change data encryption and protection measures.
As technology continues to evolve, businesses face more and more security threats to critical corporate data. Cybersecurity is not a one-time measure. The entire security plan workflow needs to stay in a constant loop to keep critical operations and data protected from possible security threats. Businesses must stay updated with the latest security threats, review their security plan, and incorporate cutting-edge technology to protect critical data from internal and external threats. Regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessment help businesses stay informed and well-prepared to counter both prevalent and fresh security threats.
In the modern digital world, businesses must maintain a digital-first business strategy and strong online presence to achieve long-term objectives and attain sustainable growth. A poor cyber posture results in substantial reputational damage and costs businesses millions in a single security breach attempt. A well-laid-out cybersecurity plan with updated security protocols and state-of-the-art intrusion detection and prevention mechanisms can help businesses maintain a good cyber posture, prevent a major security breach, and win the trust of customers and stakeholders. Since a cybersecurity plan cannot guarantee a complete cover against security threats, prepare your business for cyber threats and have a plan in place for how to get your business back up and running if something goes wrong.