If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news, you know that businesses and even whole countries are being hit left and right by crippling cyber attacks. Any business owner that really cares about the security of their data should be taking serious steps to prevent these attacks from hitting them.
But what exactly can you do to prevent attacks and beef up your cyber security? Let’s take a look at a plan any business can put in place to start protecting their more valuable digital data.
How to Develop a Cyber Security Plan
Below are the steps you will need to take to ensure the safety and security of your business’ and clients’ data.
1. Gather Your Forces
Everyone in your business should take part in working toward building stronger cyber security. You should all be on the same page, since the weakest link in a business’ security is almost always one of its own employees – whether or not it’s intentional.
2. Define Your Methodology
Your cyber-security plan will need to cover all aspects of a cyber-attack. The three key areas will be:
- Prevention – This will be your defense plan before an attack occurs.
- Recovery – In case you are attacked, this will cover recovery options.
- Restitution – Once your systems are back online, you will figure out how to proceed, including analysis of the attack and response, as well as any restitution or compensation you might need to make to your clients.
3. Rank Your Data
While you’d consider all your data to be equal in an ideal world, in reality, it’s too expensive and complicated to protect it all. Information that would expose your clients’ personal and financial status should be better protected than, say, the annual sales report you might want to keep under wraps until the next board meeting. All concerned bodies should sit down and decide which data ranks where on your security totem pole.
4. Invest in Security
Once you know your data protection priority list, it’s time to implement your security. If your data is stored in on-site servers and computers, you will need to hire a data security company to implement your protection plan. On the other hand, if your data is stored on the servers of a web hosting provider or an online storage company, you will need to work the details out with them. They could either help you by making sure the security system they have in place is updated or even move on to implementing a new, customized security plan – for a cost, of course.
5. Draft a New Policy
With everything in place, you will need to redesign your standard operating procedure, including things like new passwords, clearances and channels of authority. Scopes and borders in chain of command may need to be redesigned in the new security structure.
6. Educate Your Staff
Once the new security system is in place, update all your employees on the new protocol. Seminars should be held to let everyone know what has changed and how they should handle it. The policy you have drafted should be shared among everyone, so they know how to proceed in every situation.
7. Gauge Performance
A few days or weeks after the implementation of your new security policy, you will need to study how it’s affecting your business’ performance. Are things moving slower? Are your employees happy with the new restrictions? Most importantly, is everyone following the policy that was put in place? These are the questions you should be evaluating.
8. Tweak the Final Results
Once your analysis is complete, tweak your plan to accommodate any shortcomings. Any bottlenecks need to be removed, kinks need to be ironed out and employees’ concerns or complaints need to be addressed. Those who are still reluctant to wholly embrace the new way of doing things need to be convinced that the new policy is for the good of all.
Once this plan has been rolled out, you will need to keep an eye out for weaknesses or oversights. Most importantly, you should know that cyber-attacks evolve by the minute and update your defenses accordingly. Make sure you regularly revise your plan – that is crucial.