Do you think a small business owner need not worry about cyberattacks? 46% of all cyberattacks impact businesses with less than 1000 employees. Small businesses have fewer resources to invest in the security paradigm. That’s why; hackers find it easy to attack such vulnerable systems instead of large corporations who have spent millions of dollars on cybersecurity.
A well-throughout cybersecurity plan will help your small business prepare for the worst, comply with the regulations, and show customers that their information is secured. Let’s get started with a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for your small business.
Identify Threat Vectors
The first step of a well-planned cybersecurity strategy is identifying the avenues of attack in your system. Some most common areas where hackers tend to attack are;
1. Lack of encryption
This is something that you should not overlook if you are running any sort of business. Ensure the information you transmit to or from the network is encrypted to protect your sensitive information.
2. Malicious outsider
Sometimes, you do not need an external attack because you are nurturing a virus within your company. So it is always best to identify anyone with a malicious employee in your system.
3. Weak credentials
The cost of credential theft has increased by 65% since 2020. Never secure your credentials with weak or repetitive passwords, as it invites attackers to access your intellectual property and sensitive information.
4. Unpatched or outdated software
Keeping up-to-date with software patches is time and money-consuming but is extremely important to manage your security framework. If your information is stored in outdated software databases, add it to the list of vulnerabilities.
Misconfigurations are always a favorite venue for attackers, whether they are network configurations or application security controls.
Ensure your Legal Compliance
Before prioritizing your threats, risks, and remedies, determine the rules and regulations that your company is obliged to follow. If you already know about compliance standards, understand how they affect your security solutions.
The most common security regulations which a company is entitled to comply with are California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and EU Payment Service Directive (PSD2).
Prioritize Your Risks and Assets
Once you are done with enlisting your threat vectors, it is important to go through a risk assessment and create a prioritization list of your assets. Simply put, you must identify which components of your business hold the utmost importance and the level of vulnerabilities to those components. You can easily formulate the countermeasures for each identified threat by doing so.
Formulate Security Policies to Eliminate Risks
The next step is to ask, “how can I protect my business from listed threats? You must understand which countermeasures are effective for your system and how to incorporate them into your existing infrastructure. Protecting the network and utilizing access control protocols can make your system secure.
A firewall is a primary source to protect your network from hackers by making a wall between your system and network. All the information flowing in and out of your system is protected, and any suspicious actor trying to intrude into your network is prevented. Businesses make use of Virtual Private Networks to secure their applications and devices.
Access control protocols
The most basic protection is to secure the gateway so that no one can get access to your system without permission. That’s why Zero Trust infrastructure is getting traction in the mainstream. Zero Trust states that both internal and external environments can threaten your system, hence should not be trusted.
This approach was once a part of cloud data security but is now getting into endpoint security. Get a deeper insight into Zero Trust Endpoint security and understand how this integrated approach will help your plan cybersecurity for your small business.
Conduct In-Depth Training of Employees
Human error is always the main concern in a business’s cybersecurity plan. No matter how compelling and secure your plan is, unaware employees can cause havoc. Train your employees about your cybersecurity plan. They should be aware of potential threats within your system and how to respond in case of a cyberattack.
They should understand which security measures can put your business’s data and information at stake. ( do not open malicious or suspicious sites, do not log in with a business account on an insecure Wi-Fi connection, do not send sensitive information without confirming in person or over the phone, etc.)
Test Out Your Plan
Now that you have mapped out your security vulnerabilities and addressed the weak points, developing a plan comes the fun part. Plan your test to check if it’s worthy of implementation or not. An ethical hacker can access your business information or bring your network down.
There are several types of penetration tests you can consider.
- White box test: A hacker is given information about the target business’s secret information.
- Blind Test: A hacker is provided with the target company’s name only.
- External Test: A hacker is tasked to attack the target company’s external technology, such as its website or external network servers.
- Internal Test: hacker performs the task from the internal network of the target company.
Although your security plan is effective, you should continually monitor your system to protect your digital assets. Ensure all the network and devices are encrypted, firewall settings are optimized, antivirus and anti-malware are installed, and everything is up to date. Cybersecurity is not something you do at once; it is a living document that must adapt to ever-changing security trends.
Create a Robust Response Plan:
A basic security framework will protect 98% of attacks, which means hackers can still get in through the cracks in your armor. In such cases, an effective response plan will reduce the losses if an incident happens. Moreover, ensure all your system’s critical components are backed up.
Hackers attack weak security infrastructure, so protecting your small business is a must-have. Now that you know the steps of a comprehensive small business cybersecurity plan, all you have to do is get started. Your small business might have limited resources. However, the aforementioned steps have highlighted key areas which will help you create a simple security plan for your small business.