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Secure The Enterprises with a Strategy First

Open-CISO

Secure The SMBs and Enterprises with a Strategy First

Threat actors are now targeting small businesses with viruses, phishing links, and malware such as Ransomware. A report by Business News Daily revealed that small businesses are affected by 61% of data breaches.

Several reasons have been attributed to why cybercriminals go after small enterprises. First, some business owners don't have cybersecurity as a top priority, leaving more vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Not only that, small businesses tend to underestimate their cybersecurity risk posture that they sometimes feel they do not possess anything of value to hackers. This article shares how small businesses can leverage strategies such as patch, vulnerability management, release deployment management, and other types of controls to mitigate cyber-attacks.

How Small Businesses Can prepare against Cyberattack

Assess Your Risk and Vulnerabilities

Before creating a cybersecurity plan to secure your small business, there is a need for vulnerability assessment to derive a Strategy First. You can leverage the Resilience Review, a free assessment you can utilize to detect digital loopholes in your company.

Once you have detected vulnerabilities that form the Baselines Security Posture based on Categories of Assets, the magnitude of impact should an attack occur. The next step is to establish a holistic, enterprise-wide strategy to fight cybercrime. Next, you can set up security policies and internet use guidelines for your workforce and support the strategy with Incident Response, Business Continuity, and Disaster Recovery Plans.

Here are some quick questions to consider:

  • Which websites should be restricted to company devices?
  • How do you manage how employees access company data on their devices?
  • How do you control physical access to corporate assets and devices?
  • How do you lock or unlock devices when not in use?
  • How do you ensure workers update their passwords at specific intervals?
  • What is the recovery process like when a company device is missing or stolen?

Patch and Vulnerability

Having assessed risk and vulnerabilities, SMBs need to revamp their process in addressing security vulnerabilities if they want to defend themselves properly from damaging cyberattacks. One sure way to do this is by establishing a vulnerability management procedure. This is a standard way of identifying loopholes in endpoints and IT assets and evaluating the underlying risks.

The Vulnerability management process incorporates four significant steps:

Discover: Establish a comprehensive inventory of all software and hardware assets that connect your corporate network or house your company data.

Report: Find out if the assets are downloading updates from vendors and developers. Create a report that covers which critical and connected assets and which are the most vulnerable.

Prioritize: Having learned about and documented vulnerabilities in the steps mentioned above, start prioritizing how you respond to them. For example, how long will it take to fix each vulnerability and the risk those vulnerabilities pose to your business.

Respond: Be proactive in addressing the vulnerabilities. For example, you can install the software patch to fix them or replace outdated devices that are not compatible with patches.

Secure configuration

These are the security measures your business has implemented while building and installing network devices and systems to reduce vulnerabilities.

Misconfigurations in security settings remain common loopholes that cybercriminals exploit. For example, a recent report published by Rapid 7 affirms that internal penetration tests face service or network misconfiguration over 80% of the time.

The Council on Cybersecurity and SANs recommend implementing secure configuration as soon as you have taken the inventory of your software and hardware.

Pen Testing

With all the headlines on identity theft, Ransomware, and social engineering, small businesses may focus too much on these headlines and forget to tackle the most prominent threat under their noses. Unfortunately, one often overlooked threat is an insider threat or human error. An employee can make a simple mistake such as opening a phishing link which can damage or disrupt business operations. This is why you need to embrace pen testing as one of your cybersecurity strategies.

All aspects of your IT infrastructures are tested for vulnerabilities during pen-testing. Then, in pen testing, those vulnerabilities discovered are exploited to unravel the actual threats. Pen testing can be done on websites, mobile devices, or software programs. This strategy aims to learn how a threat actor gains access and attacks your business.

Encryption

The essence of encryption is to mask your emails from unauthorized access. While it does not guarantee breaches, it hardens the emails accessed by cybercriminals. In addition, encrypted emails leverage critical public infrastructure, which relies on public and private keys to mask confidential information. Please take time to refer to Microsoft's guide on How to encrypt emails.

Utilize Cloud Software

It is imperative to update your cybersecurity applications and software constantly. This is the best way to ascertain if your software and apps are secure. Unfortunately, hackers are not relenting in infiltrating programs. But as long as you utilize the latest and up-to-date programs, you will be staying one step ahead of them, and you will be hardening your critical data.

One way to keep your applications updated is to migrate them to the cloud or use cloud-based apps. Since you juggle different tasks simultaneously, you won't be burdened with the constant need to update your software.

Release and Deployment Management

As a small business owner who needs to plan, design, build, test, and deploy new hardware and software in a live environment, it is crucial to ensure the integrity of that live environment. One way to achieve this is the deployment of correct releases.

You can assign a release manager who will oversee the portion of your IT infrastructure that needs to be released simultaneously. You will achieve change faster with minimal risk and optimum cost if you manage release and deployment efficiently.

Invest in a solid VPN

During the Great Lockdown of 2020, several businesses were forced to work from home. "Forced" means they had no option but to allow their employees to work remotely. The question is, what if any of them gets hacked? A Virtual Private Network would be the first line of defense. Considering VPNs for your remote team ensures they access the same protection level available in the office.

Train Your Team

Establishing strategies is not enough; it is imperative to train your workers to know the threats and educate them on various security controls to protect.

Teach them how to use secure passwords, two-factor authentications, recognize phishing links and other forms of scams. Your greatest vulnerability is people, and they can be your best defense against cyber attacks.

An Organization Secure by Design

If your business is not yet transparent that small businesses are prone to cyberattacks, the recent pandemic already made it obvious. It will take 197 days on average to detect a data breach. And by the time they discover the breach, the damage has already been done, which could lead to the end of the business.

It would be best not to allow cybercriminals to have an upper edge. That's why you need to adopt all these strategies and prioritize the cybersecurity of your people, data, and IT infrastructures. For example, train your employees to keep assets secure and detect threats such as phishing links.

Install necessary endpoint protection and establish policies and strategies to mitigate cyberattacks if an attack happens; put in place a recovery plan to restore your business operation.

Own a Small Business - Start with a Cybersecurity Primer
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