Cybersecurity Planning in 90 Days

Cybercriminals are targeting small and midsized businesses more and more often. In fact, ransomware continues to be on the rise. The number of ransomware incidents we’ll see in 2017 will be over 6 times higher than what we saw just two years ago. To sum up, it’s getting crazy out there.

But you don’t need to go crazy coming up with a cybersecurity plan. In fact, you can come up with an approach in just 90 days using this guide:

Month 1: Assess Needs

  1. Take inventory of what assets you are trying to secure and the layers of security you have now.
    • Firewalls
    • Intrusion prevention system (IPS) and/or united threat management (UTM) that combines firewall, content filtering, virtual private network (VPN), and intrusion detection technologies
    • Endpoint protection (A/V, anti-malware, etc.)
    • Security information and event management (SIEM)
    • Data backup and recovery
    • Licensing issues (and out-of-date software)
    • Whitelisting
    • Patch management
  2. What are your gaps?  Which items, if ignored, cause the biggest risk to your business? To your customers?
  3. Do you need cybersecurity insurance protection?
  4. Make a list of priorities
  5. This priority list becomes your initial “simple list” plan

Month 2: Create an Action Plan

  1. Look at costs and timeline for implementing your top priority items
  2. Ask: Do we need external help from an IT company?. Do you have the expertise in-house to make the required changes and implement the plan?
  3. Decide on the best solution: current in-house staff, new hire, or service provider?
  4. Review user access controls …
  5. Consider establishing two-factor authentication …
  6. Secure wireless access points …
  7. And more… (access the full list in the Xlingshot Data Security Whitepaper)

Month 3: Implement Your Plan

  1. Build the formal policy documents including a disaster recovery plan, acceptable use policy, and employee exit process & template, Information security policy, security incident response plan, computer disposal procedure and facility security plan
  2. Determine your “checkpoints” for regular review of your documentation and plan to adjust as things change as well as ongoing maintenance.
  3. Ensure security policies and procedures are clearly documented with any existing third-party service providers
  4. For each security area identified, make the required changes to your network, security setting, business processes, etc. as determined by the plan.
  5. Develop a reporting structure and frequency for analyzing security stats, internally and with outside vendors.
  6. Create and implement a plan for employee information security awareness and training.
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