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CyberSecurity Plan - By Alessandro Civati

CyberSecurity Plan – A MUST-HAVE for every Business

You may never know when disaster may strike. Cybersecurity incidents are not created equal, and some may cause complete devastation. The instructions for immediate safety and recovery vary depending on the nature and scope of the incident.

Cyber-attacks are different and can take the shape of brute force accounts, phishing attacks, and ransomware demanding distinct safety protocols. To effectively address cyberattacks, businesses need to have robust and actionable security plans to ensure the recovery and safety of both data and infrastructure. Safety and recovery plans need to be outlined to the specific nature of the cyber disaster.

Businesses must create and implement a business cybersecurity plan. In definition, a cybersecurity plan is essentially a playbook that outlines roles for all key players, carries emergency contacts, and the framework to respond to all types of cyber incidents.

A cybersecurity plan must report information beyond business interruption by a cyber-incident and consider all cyberinfrastructure within the Business. A comprehensive cybersecurity plan will transcend the basic “stop, drop and roll” instructions. Businesses must recognize that cybersecurity is a fast-changing sector, and any cybersecurity plans to protect a company must remain agile.

A good business cybersecurity plan must include the following actionable points:

1. A Business-Specific Cybersecurity Plan

From the beginning, your plan should explore and address how your Business interacts with technology daily. Address critical issues such as whether your Business accepts online payment card transactions, whether the organization collects sensitive data from your customers, does your organization collects healthcare data from patients, and whether there are significant systems that are open to the internet and run the daily business operations.  The business cybersecurity plan needs to comply with all applicable regulations, define your organization’s priorities, provide required information to insurance companies, and consider all other needs of your organization.

2. Room for Updates

A good cybersecurity plan has room for updates and the inclusion of the latest security information and strategies. A good plan is considered a living document that is constantly changing as per the latest threat intelligence, new third-party vendors that need to be brought on board, and the new cyberattacks you may fall victim to. The ideal cybersecurity plan will not be a short set of instructions. In the cybersecurity world, expect to make frequent updates as the landscape changes. Always keep an expert at hand to consult and help implement new actions.

3. Cover Your Bases

Keep in mind that you can’t only smoke detectors in just half of the rooms when protecting a home. Similarly, you cannot only cover part of your technological infrastructure. It would help if you covered all your bases considering taking care of cloud storage providers, email service providers, third-party vendors, and SaaS products. The scope of your infrastructure is dependent on the nature of your organization, and you must take care of all aspects of the cybersecurity plan.

The Process of Making a Business Plan

Each organization requires a customized cybersecurity plan that covers all aspects of its unique infrastructural architecture. A good cybersecurity plan will include proper communication channels, emergency contacts, and a holistic incident response plan. The emergency contacts should not just be a list of references like in a phone book. Your emergency contacts should essentially organize your teammates and assign roles on what everybody must do in response to a cyber-incident. The idea is to keep all hands on board across all departments, including IT, security, HR, risk management, legal, and corporate communications.

Establish proper communication channels within your cybersecurity plan outlining primary and secondary contacts to eliminate any confusion that may arise if a cyberattack is ongoing. You can even enlist the services of security experts to alert you to attacks and generate an incident response. Two-thirds of cybersecurity professionals report staffing shortages at their organizations. Without access to adequate security talent, leaders lack visibility into how the security environment has changed and their threats. Once proper communication and contacts are put in order, you are prepared to jump into the incident response plan.

The incident response plan should have the following guidelines in the event of an emergency:

1. Contain

Containing a cyberattack should be the first step in your incident response plan. Cyberattacks such as ransomware rely on spreading to as many devices as possible within a network. Your top priority should be to contain an attack immediately after it’s identified. Containment will entail disconnecting devices from the web and bringing onboard, including teammates, incident response firms, and cyber insurance resources.

2. Assess

The next step is to preserve what you can. Seek to know how an attacker infiltrated your network, the action was taken after getting in, and how the attack was distributed. The information gathered will form the basis for your evidence and overall threat intelligence and help restore data that may have been manipulated. Where possible, preserve forensic evidence, especially in the form of logs. Some evidence will be obtained from Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and other third-party vendors who possess the logs touching their infrastructure. Collecting and sifting through logs can be time-consuming but is still essential for threat intelligence, identifying vulnerabilities, and protecting other businesses.

3. Communicate

Communicate with stakeholders as per requirements being careful to provide the relevant information that pertains to them. It starts with communication to employees and how they can carry on with their tasks during incidence response. Prepare them for what to expect in the coming days and how to protect their accounts better. Always disclose the breach to the proper authorities where sensitive data such as SSNs and credit card numbers are stolen.

4. Learn

No cyber attack is similar to the last one. However, there is something new to learn from vulnerabilities and cyber incidences. Constantly learn and customize the cybersecurity plan to the lessons of the previous incident and apply organization-wide changes where necessary. Careful analysis and research will help prioritize areas of concern and design a strategy that significantly mitigates your company’s risk.

In conclusion, proper planning, regular updates, and having trusted cybersecurity experts will help your Business remain safe and agile in the face of cyberattacks.

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