While you might think that you don’t need to worry about cyberattacks, the truth is that the threat to your data is real. Cyberattacks are becoming larger and more common, and many small businesses are vulnerable. According to a recent report from Symantec, 43 percent of cyberattacks in 2015 targeted companies with fewer than 250 employees. Sixty percent of small businesses that suffer such an attack close their doors within six months.
It’s not a matter of if your business will be the victim of a cyberattack, but when. If you don’t have a plan in place to protect your business and its data and assets, you need one yesterday. Let’s take a look at the four most important components of any company cyberattack plan: IT operations management, IT asset visibility, security hygiene, and endpoint detection and response.
IT Operations Management
Any effective and comprehensive cyberattack response and prevention plan should begin with your IT operations management personnel. IT operations management deals with your IT infrastructure — your server and device management, network infrastructure, IT help desk, and computer operations. Your IT operations management team can do a lot to protect your company from the threat of cyberattack.
For example, they can make sure that your network is secure, and open only to authorized users, so that hackers can’t just waltz in and start filling their virtual pockets with data. IT operations management is also responsible for making sure that servers and other hardware and devices are properly maintained and that software is regularly updated, which is vital for security. Of course, they can also make sure that users are following security protocols and that equipment is physically secure from old-fashioned theft.
IT Asset Visibility
IT assets represent a huge investment for most companies, so it’s vital, for both financial and security reasons, that they be managed transparently. Effective IT asset management is essential for establishing an information security (IS) budget that allows for a comprehensive cyberattack response and prevention plan. Devices, hardware platforms, and other peripheral equipment can account for more than 35 percent of the typical company’s IS budget. More than half of that budget might be taken up with software and hardware assets and another 15 percent for operating system software and applications. Most small businesses don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around, so visibility in IT assets allows you to make those budgeting dollars count.
The biggest point of vulnerability in your company is your people. Most data breeches occur because of a mistake made by an employee, and often, those mistakes are made because the employee doesn’t realize he or she shouldn’t give out confidential information over the phone, or set his or her password as password. Coach your employees in appropriate security hygiene. Make sure they know how to recognize phishing attacks. Teach them to be vigilant in the face of attempts to manipulate them via social engineering. Ensure that they’re using strong passwords and changing those passwords regularly.
Don’t just train your employees in security hygiene once and forget about it, or they will, too. Have regular trainings and seminars to refresh and update their knowledge.
Endpoint Detection and Response
Endpoint security solutions are the last line of defense against a cyberattack. If you’re the victim of an attack, it’s crucial that you’re able to detect and respond to it immediately. Most companies use endpoint detection and response tools for this.
These tools monitor your network for cyberthreats and, when such a threat is detected, respond to it. Many such technologies are able to entirely deflect common cyberattacks, but even when an attack can’t be deflected, early detection is the key to minimizing damage. Many endpoint response solutions protect against both external and internal threats.
These days, businesses are more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks — and more than half of small businesses who experience such an attack go out of business within the year. Don’t let your business become another statistic. Take steps to protect your business, its data, and its assets, so you can go on serving your customers for years to come.