There’s never been a more important time to make managing your network security risk a priority. Forty-three percent of cyberattacks target small businesses, and your company may be facing risks it doesn’t even suspect.
Cybersecurity risk management strategies may look a little different from one company to the next, but they should always be based on the same best practices. It’s ideal if you use an established framework to guide your cybersecurity efforts.
You need to enable round-the-clock monitoring for your entire network and you need to make sure your network’s internal vulnerabilities have been addressed. Train your staff to recognize threats, prioritize addressing your most urgent threats, and make sure you have an incident response plan before you need it.
Use the NIST Framework or Another Established Framework
Cybersecurity frameworks are established guidelines for managing network security in a small business. The most well-known framework may be the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework, but there are several other established, reputable cybersecurity frameworks available to businesses looking for guidance on how to monitor their networks for risk. Some of the others include the Department of Defense (DoD) Risk Management Framework and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) framework.
An established cybersecurity framework should provide your company with complete instructions on how to implement and run a network security management plan. It should lay out everything you need to do clearly, including how to respond to threats.
Enable Round-the-Clock Monitoring
Threats can appear at any time of the day or night, so you need to be ready. Enable round-the-clock monitoring for your business network. You don’t need to spend a fortune hiring round-the-clock information technology (IT) staff. There are software solutions available to provide automated round-the-clock threat monitoring for network security management.
Assess and Address Your Internal Vulnerabilities
Internal vulnerabilities can give cybercriminals a way to access your network and the devices connected to it. Before you start focusing your attention on external threats, you need to assess and address your internal vulnerabilities.
Do you have devices connected to your network that are using default admin passwords? Do users have more access permissions than they need? These are two examples of internal vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. Fixing these kinds of vulnerabilities can make it harder for cybercriminals to exploit your staff and hack into your devices.
Train Your Staff to Recognize Threats
Threats can come at your small business from all directions, and they can target your staff. Social engineering scammers and phishing scammers love to target low-level employees to get information that they can use to target higher-ups or simply to get login credentials and other information that they can use to access your network and devices.
Everyone needs training on how to recognize and respond to cyber threats, including phishing emails and malware. Give employees training on the same information regularly so it stays fresh in their minds and they don’t forget key components. Cyberattacks often succeed because an employee isn’t well-trained enough to recognize the threat.
Address the Most Urgent Threats First
Of course, you only have limited resources, so you can’t address every threat your organization faces at once. You need to assess the urgency of the threats facing you and decide which ones need to be prioritized first. Address the biggest threats first and then you can turn to smaller threats once those big threats have been eradicated.
Lay Out an Incident Response Plan Before an Incident Happens
When faced with an imminent or ongoing cyberattack, you don’t have time to sit down and brainstorm what to do. You need to have an incident response plan already in place before an incident occurs, and you need to have one for every type of incident that is likely to occur. These plans should be in writing so that your staff will know what to do even if the person who wrote the incident response plan is no longer with the company.
Your incident response plan should detail how you’re going to respond to each type of incident, step-by-step. It should also include backup responses in case your first responses aren’t effective. It should offer staff as much detail as possible to help them succeed in their threat mitigation efforts.
It’s not always easy to manage cybersecurity risks for a small business, especially in this day and age. But with the right software tools and the right security framework in place, it gets a lot easier. Make sure you’re following cybersecurity best practices for your business, so your company can continue to thrive.