Why small businesses should have a cyber security strategy

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Small businesses are just as at risk from cyber security threats as large enterprises. A common misconception for small businesses is an idea of security through obscurity, that your business is too small to be a target, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Small businesses are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want (access to large amounts of customer data, deal with large sums of money etc.), and they typically have less stringent technological defenses, less awareness of threats, less time and resources to put into cybersecurity and lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses. They also often work with large organisations, and so they can be used by hackers as a way to target those companies. This makes them an easier target for hackers than bigger organizations.

It is therefore important for small businesses to protect themselves from cyberattacks. However most business owners cannot afford professional cyber security solutions/services, have limited time to devote to security or are not quite sure where to begin.

This article will share with small business owners on how to begin building a fit for purpose cybersecurity strategy.

Before you can implement a cybersecurity strategy, you have to take stock of your business and its vulnerabilities to establish your baseline from which to build an effective strategy. This includes:

  • Evaluating the threat landscape by understanding the types of vulnerabilities and attacks your organisation or competitors are prone to, followed by prioritising these based on companies operations.
  • Implement a cybersecurity maturity framework such as NIST, ISO27001, FFIEC etc. to help you manage cybersecurity risk. This can also be utilised to look ahead to determine future goals and objectives.
  • Improve your cybersecurity by identifying which training, tools and procedures are required to meet your goals and objectives. 
  • Document the cybersecurity strategy so all employees are aware of their key roles and responsibilities.

The cybersecurity strategy should be proactive by focusing on prevention to keep hackers out. You want to stop the cyberattack from happening instead of scrambling to recover once hackers have already gotten into your network. 

With a proactive approach, you’re not looking to plug the hole — you want to make sure the hole in your cyber defenses never happens, therefore preventing the types of vulnerabilities that a reactive cybersecurity strategy model tends to discover too late: misconfigured firewalls, unpatched applications, weak passwords, giving too many users access to sensitive information, and more.

  • Limit Access to Data – Implement strict well defined authorisation and authentication policies, for all users and devices trying to login form both within and outside the network.
  • Implemented Endpoint Protection – Implement proactive endpoints security that are designed to identify new threats such as EDR ( Endpoint Detection and Response) and offer awareness of the threat environment. 
  • Block Ransomware – Constantly monitoring the network and endpoints and identifying potential phishing emails including patch management.
  • Promote User Awareness – Implement  ongoing and interactive cybersecurity training programs that include phishing simulations, utilising different methods such as instructional videos and email to keep users on their toes.  

There is only one way to make your risk of cyberattacks zero percent: unplug from the internet entirely. But, unfortunately, disconnecting isn’t possible for businesses today. That’s why cybersecurity strategies that are flexible and proactive are so important. 

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