If you’ve never experienced an issue close to home, it’s tempting to neglect cybersecurity – to view it as something that other businesses have to worry about. But this belief is a misguided one. The reality is that cybercriminals are industry-agnostic. And on top of that, they don’t care much about a company’s size, history, mission values, or culture. All they care about is the ease at which they can cut through your defenses and access your resources.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a $100 million offshore energy company or a small accounting firm in rural South Carolina, a strong cyber security strategy is the only way to stay protected today, tomorrow, and always.
Why Businesses Need a Formal Strategy
It’s not enough to implement a few security solutions here and patch a couple of vulnerable areas there. If you want to be successful in protecting your business, you need to develop a formal cybersecurity strategy. Here are a few reasons why:
- In 2018, 62 percent of all businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks.
- In the first six months of 2019 alone, data breaches exposed an astonishing 4.1 billion records.
- The majority of breaches (71 percent) are financially motivated, while roughly one-quarter are motivated by espionage.
- Hackers attack every 39 seconds for an average of 2,244 times per day.
- The average time for a company to identify a breach is 206 days.
- The average cost of a data breach is right around $3.92 million.
It’s no wonder then that worldwide cybersecurity spending is expected to reach $133.7 billion by 2022.
The problem is that you can’t always spend your way out of this issue. The only way to fight off attacks, prevent data breaches, and keep your business safe is to develop a formal strategy that accounts for the factors that are pertinent to your organization.
Developing an Effective Strategy
A proper and thorough cyber security strategy can protect your business reputation, prevent financial damage, sustain normal business operations, and instill greater confidence in all company stakeholders.
Here are some of the different steps and elements to consider:
1. Assess, Design, then Protect
It’s easy to assume that you know precisely what your business needs to do to stay protected. But assumptions are dangerous. You always need to assess before you assume.
Mission Secure, a leader in cybersecurity for industrial control systems and OT networks, believes in a three-part method of: assess, design, and protect. It involves analyzing the current situation to identify the greatest cyber risks, designing optimal defenses to mitigate these risks, and then proactively managing and maintaining these systems before, during, and after any incident that may occur.
2. Get Some Help
There are plenty of areas where business owners can implement DIY processes and approaches. Cybersecurity shouldn’t be one of them. This is a complex field that’s evolving by the day. If you want to strengthen and protect your business, utilize the experts in the field. This may look like hiring an IT /cybersecurity specialist to work full-time inside your company, or it could involve outsourcing to a company that provides solutions and services that fit your needs.
3. Train and Equip Your Team
While you likely need some experts to help you develop and execute a cybersecurity strategy, this isn’t to say you can be hands off. It’s important that you involve your team, which means training and equipping them to identify threats, avoid high-risk situations, and respond appropriately when issues arise.
4. Document and Improve
It’s hard to know if what you’re doing at any given moment is working. In the world of cybersecurity, no news is good news. But the best organizations are the ones that carefully document results and track progress so that they can look back in six months, 12 months, or two years from now and have a better idea of how certain decisions influenced various outcomes. The more meticulous you are with documentation, the greater your chances are of improving down the road.
Tailoring Cybersecurity to Your Needs
The right cybersecurity strategy is one that’s perfectly tailored to your business. It should acknowledge your innate strengths and weaknesses, account for larger business goals, and provide opportunities for adaptation in the face of evolving security challenges.