According to the US National Cybersecurity Alliance, 60% of small businesses fail within 6 months of a cyber-attack.
Small businesses find it particularly difficult to recover from a major security breach. At the same time, they don’t have the budget or infrastructure that large, enterprise organizations have. The following suggestions will help you implement and sustain a strong cyber security program that will evolve along with technology.
- Information Security Officer – Who will be in charge of information security? An organization should establish a lead point of contact for all things related to information security. This may be the CIO, IT team, or an entire department. Establishing a single voice that is consistent, considerate, and knowledgeable is paramount to a successful security program. Cyber security touches most, if not all, employees in a corporation and considerations for each department should be taken into account. Having an inconsistent message along with conflicting policies and procedures can undermine a cyber security system before it begins. Leadership and enforcement are integral to making a program work.
- Risk Assessment – Chart and assess risks. Security risks should be assessed to establish importance and viability, not only monetarily but organizationally. Something critical for one user may be relatively insignificant in the larger organizational scheme. Understanding information classification is important when considering internal and external vulnerabilities. Confidential data, for example, should weigh heavier than public website data and therefore be more critically assessed and reviewed. Conversely, a public website should not be dismissed as unimportant. Its needs for security are simply different than restricted data. A chart of risks can allow the organization, as a whole, to set mandates for a working cyber security environment.
- Promote a Cyber Security Culture – Modern workplaces are exhibiting trends toward more personal freedom in selecting devices and software employees use to remain productive. This may be a working solution for employees, but can make managing security more complex. A carefully constructed security model, employee training, and a more security-aware workforce can offer a layer of prevention when it comes to a cyber security. Developing security-based habits in employees rather than completely eliminating flexibility can provide a win-win situation. Providing clear guidelines where security is concerned will prevent innumerable problems while building a compliant cultural.
An organization prepared to combat cyber threats is an organization that is positioned to succeed. The need for cyber security is an unfortunate consequence of the modern economy, but not something that should be dismissed or taken lightly. A focused approach using simplified concepts, knowledgeable points of contact, and informed employees will in turn make a proactive cyber security program that can continually assess, react, and diminish threats regardless of what direction they are coming from.