Want to create a comprehensive cybersecurity plan? Read on!
Cybersecurity threats are increasing at an alarming rate. The worldwide cybercrime incidents exceeded 31,000 cases last year. Also, the global number of data breaches with confirmed data loss reached 3950 in 2019.
Organizations need to adopt robust cybersecurity measures to protect their business network from potential cyber-attacks and data breaches. A proper cybersecurity plan can help companies mitigate catastrophic damage caused by cybersecurity incidents.
A cybersecurity plan is a written document with comprehensive information about a company's policies, processes, and measures to tackle potential IT security threats. Let's take a look at the various elements that go into creating a strong cybersecurity plan.
Table of Contents
Important Components Of A Cybersecurity Plan
Identification of Key Assets
Businesses can't protect their network from cybersecurity incidents until they know what needs to be secured. Therefore, organizations need to start by identifying the IT assets that require protection.
These IT assets typically include servers, devices, and storage repositories. Once businesses have the necessary information about their important IT assets, they should know where and how to store this critical data and protect its integrity.
For instance, they should know whether their client details and intellectual property information have been stored on-site or have been migrated to the cloud, or are saved in the organization's CRM software.
2. Detection of Network Vulnerabilities of a Business
It is important to identify vulnerabilities in a business’s network to avoid exploitation. These vulnerabilities usually include outdated or unpatched software, misconfigured operating systems, privileged employee access, and more.
Timely detection will help organizations get their cybersecurity measures in order and avoid the chances of encountering a breach. Businesses can ensure that their various network vulnerabilities are fixed properly through:
- Regular software updates
- Incorporation of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
- Setting up of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Implementation of anti-virus, firewall, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and spam filters
3. Conducting Regular Risk Assessment
Risk assessment should be a critical part of an organization's cybersecurity plan. It helps companies make informed decisions to reduce the occurrence of a cyber threat. Here's how risk assessment works:
- IT assets and threats are prioritized based on the security concerns of a business. Companies can know which assets are critical for them and which threats can be more harmful than others.
- Current organizational security is analyzed to figure out if it is competent enough to mitigate potential threats and vulnerabilities.
- Probable losses along with the recovery costs of potential cyber-attacks or data breaches are forecasted.
- Countermeasures for reducing cybersecurity risks are adopted. For instance, businesses can incorporate Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools to identify unauthorized access to a business’s network and mitigate a potential malware attack.
- The risk assessment process is analyzed on a regular basis to ensure that security measures are relevant, up-to-date, and effective.
4. Formulating an Incident Response (IR) Plan
Organizations should have a thorough knowledge of the effects of a cybersecurity incident and how to minimize the damage. An IR plan can help businesses prepare to deal with cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. It facilitates a systematic analysis and investigation to remediate a threat.
The IR plan should contain the following documented policies and procedures on incident management.
- Highlighting the aim gives employees and stakeholders a detailed overview of what an IR plan is meant for. For instance, a financial firm's IR plan should aim to prevent and/or mitigate the loss of its customers’ financial data.
- The plan should mention the established roles of the incident response team. For instance, while the team leader should be responsible for communicating the security incident to the business's staff, the lead investigator should analyze the occurrences during a security incident. It is also important to document these roles and communicate the responsibilities clearly. It will keep the incident response team well-coordinated. It will also let them know what they need to do when a cybersecurity threat arises.
- The plan should rank the potential cyber threats on the basis of their severity. It will help the incident response team decide the level of response required for each cyber incident.
- Further, the IR plan should contain procedures for detecting, analyzing, and mitigating a cybersecurity threat. For instance, in case of a potential ransomware attack, the IR plan can incorporate end-point encryption to counter the attack.
- The IR plan should also include recovery techniques. For instance, if a ransomware attack penetrates a business’s network, the IR team can implement data back-up and disaster recovery techniques to recover critical business data and avoid downtime.
- Finally, the IR plan should include processes for determining how the breach occurred, and how similar incidents can be prevented in the future.
5. Parameters for Facilitating a Cybersecurity Training Program
Negligent and rogue employees can be a business's biggest IT vulnerabilities. A cybersecurity plan should include parameters for facilitating training that enables employees to recognize common cyber threats. The training should cover the following objectives:
- Educating employees on the importance of password security
- Identification of suspicious emails, links, and attachments from unfamiliar people and organizations
- Practicing safe handling and storing of sensitive business data such as trade secrets and financial reports
- Underlining the risks associated with sharing Personal Identifiable Information (PII) on social platforms
- Identification of suspicious behavior of colleagues and reporting it to the concerned authority
- Communicating the importance of implementing proper device security policies for protecting their personal as well as company-owned devices
It is important for businesses to understand the above-mentioned elements of a cybersecurity plan and integrate them seamlessly within their business network. Businesses can leverage professional cybersecurity services offered by IT support providers who have the skills, resources, experience, and knowledge of implementing all the elements of a cybersecurity plan effectively.
Businesses need to be proactive in handling cyber-attacks and data breaches. From implementing robust countermeasures and security policies to providing cybersecurity training to staff, a good cybersecurity plan can help businesses prevent and mitigate cybersecurity incidents successfully.