The Internet is without doubt the greatest phenomenon of our age. But for all its immeasurable assets there comes a very real threat – the threat of breaches in your cyber security. With more and more high profile data breaches and hacks hitting the headlines, it has become clear just how necessary a cyber security plan is for any organisation wanting to protect itself from attack as best as it can.
A cyber security plan is just like any other business plan, and is most effective when following a clear strategy that aims to prevent and resolve cyber attacks as well as to address any possible repercussions, such as loss of customer trust.
In order to protect something you must first identify what exactly needs protection. This means recognising assets and information that may be of value to a cyber criminal. Then carrying out risk assessments and vulnerability tests for those assets.
Once an organisation knows what it has that is of value, it can then start to take steps to protect itself. Everything from patching systems to cracking down on employee mobile devices can help to keep cyber attacks at bay. The more vigilant an organisation is, the less likely it is that an attack will be successful or cause any notable damage.
A fundamental part of any cyber security plan is the ability to detect any threats as early on as possible. There are many tools available that can be put in place to monitor each and every part of a system. Things such as managing firewalls and using up-to-date anti virus and malware software, as well as threat analytics, are all effective when used in conjunction with a clear security plan. They work around the clock to detect threats by monitoring the network, the systems and the people to spot potentially harmful incongruities.
Of course there is no point in having state-of-the-art detection tools if there is no response plan in place in the event of a threat being detected. Some of these tools will respond automatically. But it is crucial to have a standard operating procedure for each type of potential threat, and for all relevant employees to know that procedure.
Even with the most galvanised security in place, breaches can still occur. This is where recovery comes in. Systems and applications will need to be retrieved, and in some instances, an organisation’s reputation too. The recovery part of the plan needs to address the tools, actions and persons responsible for minimising the fallout, as well as what should be publicised and when.
Having a cohesive cyber security plan is no longer a luxury, but a necessity if organisations are going to thrive in an ever evolving digital sphere.