Cyber Security, also known as information security is highly important for business owners. Proper cyber security measures can help protect against unauthorized access to your business's information including client data. Our team provides the following tips for implementing cyber security in your business:
Step 1: Know Your Data, Systems, and Network
The first step towards cyber resilience is to “know thyself.” Know what (and where) data are being created, collected, and stored; maintain an accurate inventory of computer systems and software, and understand your network infrastructure. This will enable you to better identify and prioritize appropriate security controls, patch and maintain existing systems and software, and respond more effectively when an incident occurs.
Step 2: Focus Your Cyber Security Efforts
Once you understand the data, systems, and network that you are trying to protect, you can focus on implementing (or improving) the security controls that would be most effective in light of your specific needs and resources. In doing so, you may want to consider the following:
- What are your crown jewels? If you have adopted a data classification scheme, you may want to implement stronger security controls for the storage and transmission of data that are classified as more sensitive.
- What are the most likely threat scenarios? If you understand the threats that are most likely to impact your business or organization, you can focus on meeting those threats.
- What are your vulnerabilities? A vulnerability assessment can help identify weak spots in your cybersecurity. If your organization permits systems or network access to outside parties, such as contractors or vendors, understand that their vulnerabilities become your vulnerability.
Compliance with a particular cyber security standard is not a prerequisite to achieving cyber resilience, but it can be important in determining which security controls to implement. Businesses that handle payment card information, for example, must comply with the PCI Data Security Standard.
Step 3: Educate Your Employees
Many cyber security incidents can be directly attributed to inadequate security awareness training. A training program designed to empower employees to recognize common cyber threats and to notify the IT staff is a cost-effective way to reduce these threats.
A comprehensive training program should:
- Emphasize the importance of cyber security to the business or organizational success.
- Train employees to avoid information security risks.
- Explain how to protect laptops, mobile devices, and digital storage media.
- Encourage employees to report suspicious activity.
- Employees should also receive training on policies and procedures that relate to cyber security. In many instances, explaining the rationale for re-strictive “system use” policies will help to promote greater compliance
Step 4: Plan For Incident Response
Every business or organization should plan for the unexpected, including a data breach or cyber incident. In fact, without an incident response plan, there is a greater likelihood of making mistakes in responding to the breach or incident—for example, by failing to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Such mistakes can cause damage to the business or organization that goes beyond the damage directly caused by the attack. A well-designed incident response plan will make it easier to launch a rapid and coordinated response.
The incident response plan should provide a framework for action so that important decisions have been considered ahead of time and are not made under pressure. In particular, it is important for the incident response plan to provide procedures and guidelines on difficult issues, including identifying lines of authority and internal reporting obligations. The team should be focused on making the best possible decisions, not on figuring out how and by whom the decisions need to be made.
Once you have an incident response plan in place, it is important to test it regularly—annually, if possible. These “tabletop” exercises should involve the full incident response team, and the results of the exercise should be made available to senior management. It is better to address issues that might be raised by senior management about the incident response plan in connection with a tabletop exercise — not in the midst of an actual incident response effort.
Step 5: Insure Against Residual Risk
Strong cyber security is just one part of the equation; obtaining cyber insurance is the other. According to the American Bankers Association: As cyber risks grow, the senior management and boards of directors of companies have increasingly focused on a holistic response to cyber threats that includes risk mitigation, risk transfer, and response/recovery. This holistic approach necessarily includes insurance. Once a business or organization knows its systems and data and understands its exposure, it will be well-positioned to work with an independent insurance agent or broker to evaluate its cyber insurance needs and to obtain coverage in this fast-growing insurance market.
Let us help simplify cyber security for your business. Call our team today at 417.359.5470 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!