When it comes to managing security risks, failing to plan means planning to fail. According to a joint report by IBM and Ponemon, cybersecurity incidents cost an average of $3.92 million per event. Here’s a question: Can your business take that hit?
To mitigate the risks and impacts of a security breach, it’s important to have a cybersecurity plan in place as soon as possible. Having a strong network security framework that includes a detailed plan of action for responding to incidents can make a world of difference in how quickly a breach can be contained and how much damage is caused.
Here are a few tips on how to create a cybersecurity plan that can help you protect your business against future breaches and their effects.
Start with a Detailed Network Map
If you don’t know all the moving parts in your network architecture, how can you defend it effectively? It’s important to create a detailed network map of all the assets that are a part of your company’s operations. This includes:
- All Users on the Network. Who is allowed access to your network? Are there obsolete user accounts that belong to former employees still on the system? Are users restricted from accessing information and systems not related to their primary job role? Users are your biggest network security risk, so it’s vital to have all of this information about them.
- All Network Endpoints. What physical assets are on your network? What kind of device is each asset categorized as? How is each asset connected to the company’s network? It’s difficult to effectively protect your network assets if you don’t have a complete picture of what those assets are.
- All Locally-Installed Software, Operating Systems, and Cloud-Based Apps. What software and systems are being run on your network endpoints? Which cloud-based apps are company devices interacting with? Having a thorough understanding of the software your devices run is crucial for keeping up with security patches.
- How Data is Stored, Processed, and Protected. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) own cybersecurity planning publication strongly recommends knowing “how each type of data should be handled, validated and protected based on where it is traveling and who will be using it.” This is crucial for providing a sufficient amount of protection for sensitive information while still ensuring that it’s accessible for those who need it.
Establish a Cybersecurity Planning Budget
Before you start creating a grandiose cybersecurity plan, it’s important to have a firm grasp of what your plan’s budget will be. Everything has a cost. Some key issues to budget for include (but may not be limited to):
- Employee training time;
- Acquiring solutions to counter specific cyber threats;
- Network infrastructure maintenance;
- Periodic testing of your network security framework; and
- Maintaining an incident response team to enact cybersecurity plan initiatives.
While the budget for a robust cybersecurity plan may be hefty, it can be well worth the investment. Think of it this way: If spending $100k on cybersecurity planning prevents just one cyberbreach, then your return on mitigation (ROM) after expenses would be about $3.82 million dollars on average. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure in cybersecurity!
Investigate the Specific Cybersecurity Regulations That Apply to Your Company
Your business may need to follow different cybersecurity standards depending on several factors, such as:
- The size of your business (based on employees or earnings);
- The specific industry your business is in (healthcare, manufacturing, retail, supply chain management, IT, financial, etc.);
- Who your customers are (some regulations, such as the EU’s GDPR, only apply to companies that handle the data of EU citizens); and
- Where your business operates (some states or municipalities may have specific rules governing data security if you operate in their jurisdiction).
It may be necessary to reach out to your state or municipality’s government office to research what regulations affect your business. These regulatory requirements may impact your cybersecurity plan and budget allocation—but may also prove necessary to avoid fines and other penalties in the future.
Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities Under Your Cybersecurity Plan
Every employee in your organization needs to have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them under your new cybersecurity plan. This is crucial for ensuring that, when action needs to be taken, it can be taken quickly.
If your employees don’t know what to do in the face of a cybersecurity incident, then how can they work to contain it? Who should incidents be reported to if they do occur? What can an employee do to contain different types of cyber threats to minimize security risks and impacts?
Assigning clear roles and responsibilities can help answer these questions for employees to encourage decisive action that saves your company from harm.
Provide Employees with Training to Understand Your Cybersecurity Plan
It isn’t enough to just create a plan—it’s important to ensure everyone understands it, too! In your cybersecurity plan, you need to allocate resources to train new and existing employees to learn what their roles and responsibilities are so they can act on them if the time comes.
Additionally, training is a good way to improve cybersecurity awareness in your organization in general—helping employees learn to recognize cyber threats and risks so they can avoid them. Simulated phishing attacks and other tests can help reinforce training lessons and keep employees on their toes to further encourage a corporate culture of cyber safety.
Leadership should be included in this training. This helps to reinforce the cyber-secure culture at the top, show employees that management is taking the issue seriously, and generate more understanding of the security risks the company faces amongst decision-makers.
Need Help Establishing a Solid Cybersecurity Plan?
This article provides a few “broad strokes” steps for how to create a security plan for protecting your data, but it doesn’t cover everything. It’s important to remember that protecting your business from cyber threats is too important to leave it to a DIY solution! So, reach out to the ideaBOX team today!
We’re here to help you protect your business from cyberbreaches and security incidents so you can focus on what you do best.