An ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, but no cyber security prevention strategy is foolproof. Small businesses must have plans for how to deal with successful attacks. To help entrepreneurs develop such plans, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recently consolidated its emergency response tips into a single document, the Guide for Cybersecurity Event Recovery. According to this handbook, small businesses must have:
The key to responding quickly to a cyber attack is to anticipate how such an attack is likely to progress. To do this, you must first study your firm’s IT systems and identify sources of vulnerability; you can then predict how a hacker or malicious program would attack you. Consider every possible form of attack, its likelihood of succeeding, and the nature and impact of the damage it would cause. You can then identify the resources and steps for a successful recovery.
Bolstering With Backups
Cyber attacks often involve encrypting important information or locking you out of your devices. Redundant systems and storage are thus essential for a successful recovery. Begin by identifying all systems and types of information your organization needs to operate, ranking them in order of importance. Then obtain equipment that can perform the same functions and back up necessary data. Make sure not to network that computer with your primary systems, as that will expose them to the same risks. You should also keep redundant equipment physically separate and protect it with complex passwords and advanced anti-malware programs.
In addition to helping you obtain unnecessary equipment, ranking your IT systems by an order of importance also makes it easier to plan recovery steps. After an attack, you will need to bring critical systems back online to continue operating. At the same time, you don’t want to reactivate all systems at once before you have thoroughly analyzed the attack, as some may still be vulnerable. Ranking allows you to restart operations in stages, bringing indispensable ones online as soon as possible while leaving less crucial things offline until you are sure they are safe.
After an attack, you will need to be able to communicate with service providers, vendors, and your company’s other departments. Not only can these other parties help you recover, but their systems may be at risk through association with yours. You should thus have a clear sense of whom you need to contact immediately, as well as how to get in touch with them if the attack compromises your ordinary communication equipment.
Besides compromising your systems, a cyber attack can harm your brand image, making you look unsafe and irresponsible to customers. You thus need a plan for how to inform consumers about the attack, presenting the information in a way that does minimal damage to your reputation.
Interplay helps businesses protect themselves against cyber attacks and develop realistic response plans for attacks that do happen. Call us at (206) 329-6600 or send us an email at [email protected] for more information.
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