Last year, 61% of all SMBs experienced a cyber attack. That’s over half of all small to medium-sized businesses worldwide.
Clearly, cybersecurity threats are a legitimate and serious concern for everyone. Which makes it all the more necessary for every business to develop a detailed and actionable cybersecurity strategy (AKA data security plan) that acts as an effective tool against cyber threats everywhere.
In this blog, we’re going to outline a step-by-step cyber security planning guide that you can follow to develop your own network security plan, develop security strategies, risk management protocols and incident response plans in order to defend against rampant data breaches and other security risks your business is likely to face.
What is a Security Plan (for Cyber Security)?
A security plan is a comprehensive and coordinated set of policies, procedures, and actions that an organization takes to protect its physical and electronic assets from damage or theft.
In the context of cybersecurity, a security plan should address three key areas:
Preventative Measures: What you can do to proactively stop cyber attacks before they happen
Detective Measures: What you can do to detect cyber attacks as they’re happening so you can respond quickly
Corrective Measures: What you can do to fix any damage caused by a cyber attack and prevent it from happening again in the future
Why Do You Need a Cyber Security Planning Guide?
No two businesses are alike which means that no two data security plans should be alike either.
The size of your business, the type of industry you’re in, the geographical location(s) of your operations, the types of data you collect and store, and a variety of other factors will all play a role in determining what kind of security risks you’re likely to face and what steps you need to take to mitigate those risks.
That being said, there are some best practices that every business should follow when it comes to cybersecurity and we’ll be covering those in this blog.
But first, here’s a quick cybersecurity plan example you can see to help you contextualize what we’ll be discussing later on.
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A Short Cyber Security Plan Example
Here’s a quick cyber security plan example that covers the basics of what every data security plan should include:
Employee Education & Awareness Training: Teach your employees about cybersecurity best practices, acceptable use policies and how to spot suspicious activity.
Data Backup & Recovery: Make sure you have regular backups of all your important data in case it gets lost or corrupted.
Access Control: Limit access to sensitive data to only those who need it. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Antivirus & Anti-malware Protection: Install reliable antivirus and anti-malware software on all your devices to protect against malware and virus threats.
Network Security: Segment your network so that critical systems are isolated from the rest of the network. Use firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems to further secure your network.
This is just a brief overview but it should give you a good idea of the types of measures you need to include in your data security plan.
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Your 3-Step Cyber Security Planning Guide
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of putting together a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy for your business.
This guide will take you through each step of the process, from conducting a security risk assessment to implementing security controls to testing and updating your plan on an ongoing basis.
Step One: Conduct a Security Risk Assessment
The first step in any data security plan is to conduct a thorough security risk assessment in order to identify which assets need protection and what kind of threats they’re likely to face.
This will help you prioritize which security measures are most important for your business. There are many different ways to conduct a security risk assessment but we recommend using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as it provides a comprehensive and well-defined process.
Step Two: Implement Security Controls
Once you’ve identified which assets need protection and what kinds of threats they’re likely to face, you can start implementing security controls to mitigate those risks.
There are many different types of security controls but some of the most common ones include access control measures, data encryption, and firewalls. Again, the specific security controls you choose will depend on the results of your security risk assessment.
Step Three: Test and Update Your Plan Regularly
Your data security plan is not a static document; it should be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your business (e.g., new employees, new locations, new technologies) and the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. Be sure to test your plan regularly so you can identify any weaknesses and make necessary improvements.
Using Security Experts and Managed Services to Do Your Cyber Security Planning for You
If creating a cybersecurity plan yourself seems like a daunting task, you’re not alone. Many businesses have felt this way, and that’s why so many seek the aid of a qualified managed service provider like Power Consulting.
Ensure your corporate and personal data has the best data protection possible by having us work with you to create a cyber security plan that meets all of your needs.
Schedule a free consultation with us today and we can start the process of becoming your trusted business partner in IT.