A Step-by-Step Guide to Identify and Prioritize Cybersecurity Threats

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Every business, regardless of its size, could be the victim of a cyberattack. The total value of cybercrime worldwide would make it the world’s third-largest economy, which shows just how much the risk has grown over the past few years. So, how can you protect your business? Here’s a step-by-step guide along with some of our pro tips to help you improve cybersecurity training and readiness.

Step One: Take Stock of Your Cybersecurity Assets

Before you make any changes, you should evaluate your current cybersecurity readiness. There are three main areas to consider. First, look at your associates. How experienced are they with technology in general? Does anyone have cybersecurity training or expertise? This will help you determine how much cybersecurity training you need.

Next, examine your technology. Do you have the right tools to defend your organization? 24/7 monitoring software, properly configured firewalls, and file backups are essential. Finally, consider your internal processes. Do you have clearly defined protocols for what to do in the event of an attack? Are you employing cybersecurity best practices in your company?

Pro Tip: Put Someone in Charge

When something is everyone’s responsibility, it’s no one’s responsibility. Consider putting one person in charge of your cybersecurity policy and having them oversee the changes you intend to implement. Large businesses have created the Cybersecurity Officer (CSO) position precisely for this reason.

If you’re a smaller company or don’t have anyone with enough experience, work with a managed services provider that can handle cybersecurity for you.

Step Two: Determine What Threats Could Affect Your Business

There are several common attack methods that every company should be aware of. However, some are more likely to affect your business than others. For example, DDoS attacks, which cripple a company’s servers or website, are much more frequent in the telecom and finance sectors.

Meanwhile, phishing attacks are much more likely to target less tech-savvy workers who have access to lots of information, like hotel staff. Marriott has suffered two massive breaches in the last five years for this reason. Most businesses aren’t hacked through terminals like we see in films; reality is much more mundane. Prioritize threats based on trends in data and your company’s profile.

Pro Tip: Keep Regular Backups

Even though prevention is the goal, you can still fall victim to an attack. Keeping regular backups makes it possible to restore operations quickly with minimal data loss. Never underestimate the value of backups.

Step Three: Define Cybersecurity Response Protocols

You need to assume that you will be attacked at some point. Even with robust security in place, human error can lead to a breach. A hardware failure might open up a vulnerability. Perhaps a disgruntled employee simply decides to take it out on your business. You cannot prevent every possible attack: you can be prepared for them.

It’s important to write down your protocols and make them easily accessible so that your associates know what to do in the event of an attack. Make sure that each of your associates knows their role and what they should do or who they should inform if they spot something irregular. Review these protocols periodically and communicate any updates or changes to your team.

Pro Tip: Early Detection Makes Response Easier

The longer a breach goes on, the harder it is to measure and mitigate. IBM has consistently found that increased spending on early detection and prevention yields massive future savings, yet many companies still do not spend enough on defense. Catching a breach quickly can turn a disaster into a minor affair that you can laugh about at lunch.

Step Four: Put Your Plans Into Practice

Plans on paper won’t guarantee a successful defense against attackers. You need to put your plans into action by practicing them. Just as you should hold regular fire drills or tornado drills, so too should you have regular cybersecurity drills. During your drills, you should monitor your team’s performance. Ideally, your plans should have benchmarks to measure against. How long should it take, for example, to reset everyone’s passwords in the event of stolen credentials?

Practice makes perfect. By performing regular drills, you build your cybersecurity capacity and can measure your improvement. You can also determine which individuals in your organization need extra cybersecurity practice.

Pro Tip: Surprise Your Associates

While some drills should be scheduled to avoid disrupting important business, it’s a good idea to surprise your associates from time to time with a cybersecurity drill. There’s a marked difference in how people perform when they think they’re in a real threat versus when they know it’s a drill.

Step Five: Get Cybersecurity Training to Reduce Risk

If you’ve run some drills and have found gaps in your armor, then you should consider cybersecurity classes for your associates. These classes can help individuals identify threats such as malicious emails or suspicious attachments. You can quiz your team on your protocols as well as measure their knowledge on how to respond to threats.

All too often, organizations assume that only those in the IT department need to know about cybersecurity. The truth is that cybersecurity is the responsibility of everyone in the company. When everyone’s properly trained, you’re far more likely to defend your business successfully.

Pro Tip: Work With a Managed Services Provider

An IT managed services provider (MSP) can take care of your IT needs for you, including your cybersecurity. MSPs can monitor your network and your file system remotely to detect suspicious activity, alert your on-site team if there is a problem, and help put your protocols in action to stop the attack. They can also help you determine the extent of a breach, should one occur. Working with an MSP is also much more affordable than hiring a full-time cybersecurity expert.

Contact Edafio to learn more about our cybersecurity programs and our managed service solutions. We can help your company be ready for whatever threats come your way. 

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