No business, small or large is not at risk from a cyber attack. From small businesses to huge government organisations, all companies must ensure they have an excellent cyber defence plan in place. Planning what to do in a cyber attack is just as important as managing active preventative measures.
Many smaller enterprises do not even know where to start with preparing a cyber defence plan or what things are of most importance when creating one. In this post we will address the key components to establishing a good cyber incident response plan.
A risk assessment is one of the first things you should look at. You will not be able to say what cyber security measures you need until you know what risks are specific to your business. Whether you are updating an old cyber defence plan or starting from scratch, you should look at all the common cyber attacks especially those relevant to your business. The Australian gov website has good articles for assessing cyber risks.
The most common attacks are phishing and spear phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware, but you should also consider developing attacks such as deepfakes and vulnerabilities with 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).
For each type of cyber threat, you should assess how big a risk it is to your business and how each attack would affect the company. You should also look at each aspect of the busines, example sales, marketing, finance and prioritise which sectors are most vulnerable. Identify the staff members who have access to the most sensitive company information and re-evaluate whether every one of those people needs that access. Only trustworthy staff who absolutely need sensitive company information to do their jobs, should be allowed access to minimise the risk of any accidental (or intentional) breaches.
During the risk assessment, you should not only be assessing the cyber risks to your business but the vulnerabilities already in your company’s network or systems. Are there any holes in your cyber security? Are staff members working from unprotected personal devices? All these weak points can be an easy way for cyber criminals to gain access to your network.
You should determine the likelihood of each attack, how much such attack would impact the business and the threat level of attacks (low, medium, high).
Your cyber defence plan should include early warnings on how to recognise a cyber-attack. Phishing attacks are the most common attack on businesses (up to 90% in fact), but these are the types of attack we can prevent. Human error is the most common reason behind a data breach. As phishing and spear phishing attacks are evolving to be more sophisticated, the easier it is for employees to become fooled.
However, if staff are professionally trained in the most common attacks, they may become better at spotting a suspicious email. Sometimes it is the smallest of things that will give a dodgy email away, such as a change in just one letter in an email address. If staff members are on the lookout for such details, they are far less likely to open a malicious site or download link. Education and ongoing training should be part of your cyber incident response plan and company culture.
First of all, you should be aware of every protection measure in the business and what it does. You need to know which applications are installed on which devices and so on. Keep an account of every piece of software you are using and every update.
Once you know what cyber risks are a threat to your business and the software you are already using, you can re-evaluate. Is it enough, or do you need further protection? Prevention measures should be analysed an implemented within the business.
Common preventative measures are:
– Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
– Endpoint protection
– Virtual private networks (VPN)
– Email security
– Security monitoring
– Cloud security
Whether you have an in-house cyber security team or you are outsourcing to an expert firm, you will need to make sure the cyber protection systems are secure and up to date. Any system bugs need to be fixed and patch work should be implemented where necessary. Checks of all cyber systems should be tested regularly to ensure everything is running correctly. Proper monitoring of all cyber security measures should be carried out to ensure you are seeing potential threats in real time.
Your cyber defence plan should include how you intend to respond to a cyber incident. Communication is key, so there should be a team, or several staff members assigned to deal with an attack. Each person should be assigned a role of how to execute the plan, to avoid confusion and havoc.
If customer data has been breached, then you will probably need to consult data protection laws. For this reason, having a plan for public statements is a good idea. Having these statements written out in advance puts you in a much better, calmer and more controlled environment then quickly whipping up a panicked statement that is not as thought through.
The cyber defence plan should include how you intend to report the breach via event logs, including the time of the attack, how it was implemented and the communications between the team.
A major data breach can be devasting to any size business, but particularly for smaller enterprises. The idea of cyber attacks can be scary, but by having a plan in place will safeguard your data as much a possible and put you in a better position to be able to control the attack.
Creating a cyber defence plan is crucial in preventing cyber crime to your organisation and being organised if an attack does occur. If you would like more information on how an expert team like Cube Cyber can help you, then please check our website for more information.
We are a dedicated team of professionals who provide expert cyber advice to businesses of all sizes. We have many different solutions to prevent cyber attacks and would love to hear see we can help you and your team.