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Safeguarding Your Data: Security Features of Google Cloud Storage Plans
In today’s digital age, the security of our data has become a paramount concern. As businesses increasingly rely on cloud storage solutions to store and manage their data, it is crucial to choose a provider that offers robust security features. One such provider is Google Cloud Storage. With its comprehensive suite of security measures, Google Cloud Storage plans ensure the safety and integrity of your valuable data. Let’s explore some of the key security features offered by Google Cloud Storage plans.
Data encryption is a fundamental component of any secure cloud storage solution. With Google Cloud Storage plans, your data is encrypted both at rest and in transit. At rest, data is encrypted using AES-256 encryption, which is considered one of the most secure encryption standards available today. This ensures that even if unauthorized access occurs, your data remains encrypted and unreadable.
During transit, all communication with Google Cloud Storage servers is encrypted using industry-standard SSL/TLS protocols. This means that any data transferred between your devices and Google’s servers is protected from interception or eavesdropping by malicious entities.
Controlling access to your stored data is crucial for maintaining its security. Google Cloud Storage plans offer robust access control mechanisms that allow you to define who can access specific files or buckets within your storage account.
Access controls can be set at different levels – project, bucket, or object – providing granular control over who can read or modify your data. You can assign specific permissions to individual users or groups, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information.
Transparent monitoring and auditing are essential for maintaining the integrity of your stored data and detecting any potential security breaches promptly. Google Cloud Storage provides detailed audit logs that capture important events related to your storage account.
These logs include information such as user activity, API calls made on your behalf, and access attempts. By regularly reviewing these logs, you can identify any suspicious activity and take appropriate action to mitigate potential risks.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks pose a significant threat to the availability and performance of cloud storage services. Google Cloud Storage employs advanced DDoS protection mechanisms to safeguard your data from such attacks.
Google’s global network infrastructure is designed to absorb and mitigate large-scale DDoS attacks, ensuring that your data remains accessible even during high-intensity attack scenarios. By leveraging their extensive network capacity and sophisticated traffic filtering techniques, Google Cloud Storage plans provide robust protection against DDoS threats.
In conclusion, choosing a secure cloud storage solution is crucial for safeguarding your valuable data. With its comprehensive suite of security features, Google Cloud Storage plans offer peace of mind by ensuring that your data remains protected at all times. From data encryption and access controls to audit logging and DDoS protection, Google Cloud Storage prioritizes the security of your information. By opting for a reliable provider like Google, you can focus on leveraging the benefits of cloud storage without compromising on security.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
The Internet allows businesses of all sizes and from any location to reach new and larger markets and provides opportunities to work more efficiently by using computer-based tools. Whether a company is thinking of adopting cloud computing or just using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should be a part of the plan. Theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft. Every business that uses the Internet is responsible for creating a culture of security that will enhance business and consumer confidence. In October 2012, the FCC re-launched the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 , an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans.
The FCC also released an updated one-page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet . The quick resource features new tips on creating a mobile device action plan and on payment and credit card security.
10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business
Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.
1. Train employees in security principles
Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
2. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks
Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system's firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
4. Create a mobile device action plan
Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router, so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
8. Employ best practices on payment cards
Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don't use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
10. Passwords and authentication
Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.
Cybersecurity Resources for Small Businesses
The Office of Communications Business Opportunities provides Internet links to information about government agencies and private organizations that have educational resources and tools related to cybersecurity. The descriptions and links below are for informational purposes only. The FCC does not endorse any non-FCC product or service and is not responsible for the content of non-FCC websites, including their accuracy, completeness, or timeliness.
- Global Cyber Alliance's (GCA) cybersecurity toolkit for small businesses with free cybersecurity resources
- What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Cybersecurity, Entrepreneur Magazine
- 3 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats Facing Small Businesses Right Now, Entrepreneur Magazine
- Microsoft Cybersecurity Tips and Technology for Small Businesses
- FICO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Assessment of Cyber Security Risk Report
U.S. Government Resources and Activities
Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, but one that we as a government or as a country are not adequately prepared to counter. Please find below additional resources that are available to you to reduce your risk to potential cybersecurity threats.
- NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Corner
- FTC Cybersecurity for Small Business
- National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Small & Medium Sized Business Resources
- SCORE – How to Protect Your Small Business from a Cyber Attack
10-Step Cybersecurity Plan for Your Small Business
Cybercriminals target businesses of all industries and sizes. According to a study conducted by the Better Business Bureau, 22% of small businesses have been the targets of cyberattacks.
Almost all cyber-attacks are intended to obtain personal data to use in identify theft. While larger organizations store much more information to steal, small businesses have less secure networks, making it easier to breach the network.
It's important to protect your business from cyberattacks, but some business owners aren't quite sure how. Implementing cybersecurity basics and putting them in practice will help you protect your business and reduce the risk of a cyber attack.
To help you assess the efficiency of your current business cybersecurity practices, here's a 10-step plan to help you navigate through the world of cyber threats.
1. Inform your employees about your cybersecurity policies.
Set up IT cybersecurity practices and policies for your employees. This includes requiring strong passwords and establishing appropriate Internet usage guidelines that comprehensively discuss your business cybersecurity policies.
2. Update your software.
Cybercriminals can enter your computer network through outdated apps with known vulnerabilities. Make sure you regularly install software updates and patches for applications and operating systems as soon as they’re available.
3. Place a firewall.
One of the first lines of defense in a cyberattack is a sturdy firewall. We recommend that all small to medium-sized businesses set up a firewall to create a barrier between your data and cybercriminals. Installing internal firewalls is also an effective practice to provide additional protection.
4. Back up all your data regularly.
Always back up all your business data including those stored in the cloud. To have the latest backup, check your on-premise and cloud servers regularly to ensure that it is functioning correctly.
5. Secure your wi-fi networks.
Make sure your wi-fi network is secured, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your wi-fi network, set up your router so it does not broadcast the network name, and protect its access with a strong password.
6. Install anti-malware software.
Anyone can be a victim of data breach, no matter how vigilant one is. Since phishing attacks center on installing malware on the employee’s computer, it’s imperative to have anti-malware software installed on all devices and in your network.
7. Make an action plan for mobile devices.
Mobile devices can also impose cybersecurity threats, more so if they store confidential business data. It is best to require all employees to protect their devices with passwords, install security apps , and encrypt their data. In addition, establish protocols for reporting lost or stolen company equipment.
8. Implement strong data protection procedures.
Running your office machines on the latest software, web browsers and operating systems are the best defense against cybersecurity threats. Devise and follow a business data protection strategy that encompasses strong security measures centered around the restriction of access.
9. Use strong passwords.
Basically, strong passwords are a complex combination of special characters, numbers, and letters that provides more security for all your online accounts. Require all employees to always use two-factor authentication when accessing sensitive business data. It’s also best to encourage them to never disclose their usernames to third parties.
10. Restrict authority for software installations.
Employees should have limited access to all data systems and software installations. Any installation should only cater to their role’s specific needs, and under the permission of the network administrator.
Your business cybersecurity is a moving target, and these cybercriminals become more advanced every day. To help you stay on top of the latest when it comes to cyberattacks and innovations on prevention technology, seek assistance from a dependable IT Managed Services Provider .
At Uniserve, we take advantage of industry-leading technology tools to provide our clients with the best IT Security plan that’s custom-built for their business. Contact us today, and discover how we can take your business cybersecurity to the next level.
A Cybersecurity Plan for Small Business Owners
Table of contents.
If you thought cybersecurity was something only big businesses had to worry about, think again. Small companies are at risk of cyberattacks too, and it would be a mistake not to prepare your organization to defend against them. Fortunately, a five-step cybersecurity plan could be enough to keep your business protected.
What is a cybersecurity plan?
A cybersecurity plan is designed to repel threats from online criminals. The most effective cybersecurity defenses are investing in technology and staff training. Training staff is particularly important because 85% of data breaches are caused by employee mistakes, according to a study by Tessian .
Cybersecurity plans not only serve as methods of prevention, but they can also include what to do in the event a breach does occur. The goal, of course, is to mitigate any damage and recover as quickly as possible so your company can get back to business as usual.
According to a Cyber Readiness Institute survey , only 40% of small businesses implemented a cybersecurity policy as remote work increased with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do you create a cybersecurity plan?
To create an effective cybersecurity plan, you first need to identify which assets need protecting and where your vulnerabilities lie so you can apply the right technological and human patches. Once put in place, companies should regularly review their cybersecurity policies to identify and defend against new threats.
From assessment to implementation, follow these steps when creating a cybersecurity plan for your business.
Step 1: Decide what’s important.
In your initial cybersecurity risk assessment , do the following:
- Determine what data is essential. Over time, businesses accumulate massive amounts of information on customers, suppliers and employees. Figure out what data you need to operate your business and eliminate the rest.
- Decide who should have access to data and why. Some data may be needed by your accounts team only. Make sure each employee can access only the data they need to perform their role successfully.
Step 2: Identify and fix technical vulnerabilities.
Before you start to build your technical firewall, understand where your problems are now and why they arose.
- Check for malware. You may have malware and ransomware already on your network. Purge your system of them as soon as possible.
- Delete any software you no longer use. If you no longer use a piece of software to operate your business, chances are you’re not updating it with the latest security patches. Delete it to eliminate potential threats.
- Consider banning BYOD (“bring your own device”). Personal devices generally have lower levels of security than business devices. If staff currently use their own laptops to connect to your network, consider purchasing equipment for them to use instead so you can set the ideal security levels.
- Know what connects to your network. Create a list of devices with permission to connect to your network, and update the registry frequently. It’s much easier for a hacker to gain overall control of your system if any device can connect to it.
- Decide account privileges. Create a virtual barrier, known as ringfencing, around parts of your computer system depending on employee seniority and data needs. An admin is not likely to need the same access to programs and data as your CFO. So if a hacker does break in via the admin’s credentials, the areas the hacker can access would be greatly restricted by default, reducing the amount of damage they can do.
Want to know how secure your business really is? Hire a white-hat hacking firm to test how hard it is to gain unauthorized access to your company’s systems and data.
Step 3: Establish your technical defenses.
Your technical defenses should include the following solutions and strategies.
- Antivirus software: The best antivirus and internet security software stops ransomware and malware from being downloaded to your computer network via a rogue link on a website or an email attachment.
- Strong firewalls: Firewalls monitor traffic across your computer network and block traffic that fails predetermined security tests. More advanced firewalls learn patterns of traffic over time and create additional security rules.
- Encryption: Make sure all information transmitted on your network is encrypted. If a hacker does manage to get in, it would take billions of years to crack the Advanced Encryption Standard, the modern encryption algorithm.
- Backups: Choose an encrypted cloud backup service to protect your data, and do multiple backups each day. Having a backup means that when you regain control of your system after a breach, you can download the most recent database to your system.
- Software update cycles: Sign up for newsletters from the vendors of the software titles you use. This will help you stay up to date with updates and security patches. While many software programs update automatically, not all do, so check once a month that each program is updated.
- Software swaps: If a software package you’re using has been retired and the vendor no longer provides security patches for it, swap it for a similar package that is supported.
- Wi-Fi network security: If possible, hide your Wi-Fi network, so it can’t be discovered by others, by switching off the beacon frame. Learn more about setting up Wi-Fi for your business .
- Password management: Ideally, passwords should be managed by a central team using 256-bit encryption to allow and deny employees and contractors access to your network.
- Two-factor authentication: For additional security, two-factor authentication (2FA) requires users to receive a message on a second, recognized device to verify their identity – similar to how Google asks you to authenticate signing in to your account on a tablet by sending a message to your mobile phone.
Protection for Internet of Things (IoT) devices: Cameras, printers and other internet-connected devices are favorite attack vectors for cybercriminals. Don’t limit your protection efforts only to computers.
Step 4: Establish your human defenses.
Let your employees know why stopping hackers is vital. Impress on them how all it takes is one big attack to threaten the existence of the entire company and their jobs. Then train them on what they need to be aware of and what they should do if something suspicious happens. Use this guidance as a starting point:
- Be suspicious of every email and phone call. Train staff to be alert to phishing attempts. For example, if someone claiming to be the CEO calls up the accounts team demanding an invoice be paid immediately, require team members to perform safety checks to make sure it was actually the CEO making the demand and that the invoice is genuine.
- Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi without a VPN. Public Wi-Fi equipment using the WPA2 protocol is insecure. Make sure your staff connect to public Wi-Fi only if they are using an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) platform. For even greater security, require employees to connect via 4G or 5G if available.
- Don’t overshare on social media. The more information a person shares on social media, the more likely it is that a hacker can guess their password. Phishing attacks also become harder for staff to detect if a cybercriminal references information they gathered from social media.
- Ask for permission before allowing remote desktop access. Some cyberattackers pretend to be from a company’s IT services team and then gain access to an employee’s computer through remote desktop access. Ask staff to check with your IT manager before allowing this type of access. [See our recommendations for the best remote PC access software .]
Step 5: Monitor employee performance.
For a cybersecurity plan to be effective, you’ll need to regularly check that your employees are responding positively to their training and putting what they’ve learned into practice. You may want to run periodic tests to see whether team members have retained the knowledge they need to keep the business safe. Retrain those who may not have understood everything, and consider rewarding employees for spotting security threats and reporting them to their managers.
Cybersecurity attacks are constantly evolving, so you may want to offer additional training as new threats emerge.
What are the common types of cybersecurity attacks?
According to Acronis , 43% of all cybersecurity attacks are against small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Worryingly, a BullGuard study found that one-third of SMBs with 50 or fewer employees in America use inadequate, free consumer security products to protect their companies. What’s even worse is that 1 in 3 use no security at all.
Given that the threat of cybercrime is changing all the time as technology develops and businesses become more connected to and reliant on the web, it’s critical companies invest in cybersecurity protection and understand the potential for cyberattacks. The current greatest cybersecurity threats to SMBs include phishing and extortion.
- The purpose of phishing is to get people to reveal sensitive details like account logins, credit card numbers and passwords. Most phishing attempts are carried out by email, followed by phone calls and text messages. Common phishing attempts include spoof emails purportedly from well-known retailers asking you to log back in because “your account has been frozen” and text messages from courier companies asking you to make up an alleged underpayment on a delivery.
- Identity theft is the theft of personal or company financial details to set up loans, credit cards and trade accounts in your name. They get the money or the goods, but you’re stuck with the bill.
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks overwhelm websites, email servers and internal computer networks by sending millions of near-simultaneous requests for access. To get back control, you normally have to pay a ransom.
- Software vulnerability exploitation occurs when hackers look for computer networks where software patches haven’t been applied, as it’s easier to gain entry when there are security holes. Networks using software no longer supported by vendors are also a major target for cybercriminals.
- The goal of malware is to damage a computer network, server or individual terminal. This happens in many different ways, including cryptocurrency mining, keystroke logging , and by creating system backdoors that allow hackers to load more software onto your system at a later date.
- With extortion, hackers copy sensitive or commercially valuable data stored on your system and then threaten to sell it to a competitor or widely distribute it if a ransom is not paid.
- Data diddling involves altering data as it’s input into a computer system to create a financial benefit. Payroll, credit records and inventory records are vulnerable to this type of attack. To make detection harder, some hackers change the altered numbers back after they’ve got your money.
- With IoT hacks, cybercriminals gain access to a corporate computer network via poorly protected security cameras, printers and other connected devices.
- Victims of man-in-the-middle attacks are fooled into thinking they’re communicating with someone they know. For example, a hacker may pretend to be your property lawyer and send an email asking you to transfer your property deposit into a specific account. It can take weeks before consumers or lawyers realize there’s been a crime. This technique is also used in business email compromise fraud.
- Hackers use password attacks to gain entry into individuals’ or companies’ computer networks and online accounts. Sometimes, it’s a brute-force attack, where millions of passwords are tried simultaneously in the hopes one is correct. Other times, information targets share about themselves on company websites and social media is used to guess passwords.
Phishing was the most popular attack approach used by cybercriminals in 2020, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3 .
What does your business have that cybercriminals want?
Cybercriminals are looking for specific information when they hack businesses.
- Sensitive commercial data: Cybercriminals know the market value of the data stored on a business’s computer system, and many gangs offer industrial espionage-as-a-service. Instead of sending thieves to break into competitors’ physical premises, companies can pay hackers to break in electronically to get copies of rivals’ customer databases, obtain details on research and development projects, and more.
- Customer databases: Information about your highest-spending customers can be sold on the black market or to competitors.
- Customer payment details: Unencrypted debit or credit card information is not as valuable as it used to be because banks are getting better at spotting and stopping fraudulent payments. A compromised credit card may work for only an hour or two before it’s blocked, but that’s enough time to inflict serious damage.
- Your company’s identity: Many cybercriminals attempt to change company details held at government agencies to open accounts with suppliers to order goods and financial institutions to take out loans.
- Money in the bank: Although successful checking account breaches are quite rare, cybergangs can still cause significant financial damage to businesses with ransomware and phishing attacks.
What is cybersecurity insurance?
As the threat from cybercrime has grown, so has the number of cybersecurity insurance providers. These insurers provide compensation for incident investigations, data recovery, computer system restoration, income loss, reputational damage, ransoms paid and notification costs.
Extended cybersecurity insurance also includes coverage for legal bills incurred defending yourself against claims related to a breach, as well as for settlements and damages. Insurers will generally not cover lost profits, loss of company value caused by intellectual property theft, or replacing or upgrading technology to become more cybersecure.
As of 2021, the average cost of cyber insurance was $1,485 per year, or $124 per month, with per-incident coverage ranging from $500,000 to $5 million.
Why is it important to safeguard your business against cyberattacks?
Business owners, small and large, need to be vigilant against online threats to protect their company reputation, financial assets and client base. Customers expect the companies they deal with to hold their private information securely. It costs time and money to be digitally secure, but why not turn that into a selling point? Let clients know in your advertising just how seriously you take protecting their personal, professional and financial information. Those safeguards could pay off in more ways than one.
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Creating a comprehensive cyber security plan template for small businesses: A step-by-step guide for protecting your business from cyber attacks
A cyber attack is disastrous for businesses. This is even more true for small businesses without the proper security strategies in place.
Luckily, you can protect your business from unwanted threats with a cyber security plan template for small business success.
Keep reading to learn about the importance of strong cyber security practices and find out how you can create your own plan.
What is a cyber security plan template for small business?
A cyber security plan template for small business outlines everything you need to protect your business from cyber security threats.
Our research indicates that any effective cyber security plan includes both preventative and reactionary measures for cyber-attacks and breaches.
What is the purpose of the cyber security plan template for small business?
There are many reasons behind a cyber security plan template for small businesses. As per our expertise, preparing against security threats is crucial to reduce risk as your company grows.
In general, a cyber security plan takes three factors into account.
- Technologies: Downloading protection software for your devices.
- Processes: Educating your team and enforcing security policies.
- Access controls: Segmenting your business information, and giving access to only those who need it.
Focusing on these three factors, a cyber security template clarifies the different kinds of security risks you need in order to protect your company.
Why you need a cyber security plan
Every day, your team relies on business data to keep operations moving. This includes:
- Customer information.
- Financial data.
- Sales history.
If you lose this data to a cyber security breach, you risk losing your business.
Unfortunately, no business is immune to cyber security threats! Our findings show that even organizations at the forefront of their industry have fallen victim to this.
But it’s a lesser known fact that small and medium businesses are the prime targets for cyber attacks.
“43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.” – Cybint , 2022.
A cyber security strategy is your first line of defense against these attacks. A complete security plan prevents cyber attacks, and provides quick solutions when required.
Based on our firsthand experience, the more secure your organization, the more trust customers have in your product or service. And more trust leads to more sales .
For example, companies with log-in websites often implement two-factor authentication for their users. This adds an additional level of security, as it requires more than just a password for access to your system.
Without proper security procedures, both your physical computers and online accounts are at risk of security breaches. And through our practical knowledge, if you don’t take advantage of antivirus resources, for example, entire operating systems can crash on you.
Usually, companies that thrive in cybersecurity have systems in place that prevent and solve security issues. And drawing from our experience, you can achieve both with an incident response plan.
Planning for the worst saves you time and stress. More importantly, it clarifies exactly what actions you need to take in the event of an emergency.
The more concise your plan, the better your business will be at handling cybersecurity responsibilities.
Local network security devices like firewalls are key in filtering the connection between your private network and the public Internet.
Encryption of sensitive files on your computer, or within applications, is another key factor to consider. Any file or program that contains customer data is important to protect.
Let’s take a look at the cyber threats that can affect your business below.
Common cyber threats for small businesses
Of course, one of the requirements for creating a cyber security plan template for small business protection is to understand your business’ risk.
To identify your possible vulnerabilities, you need to know what threats are out there. Our research indicates that these are the most common cyber security threats for small businesses.
Malware is the biggest cyber threat for small businesses today.
The term itself is broad and refers to all categories of malicious software meant to harm devices or networks.
Three common types of malware attacks include:
Let’s dive deeper into each one.
In short, a virus is a piece of computer code meant to harm your technological equipment. Computer viruses affect your devices in many ways, including:
- Corrupting or deleting files.
- Damaging computer programs.
- Slowing down device performance.
- Causing excessive pop-up windows.
In your cyber security plan template for small business, there are several benefits to highlighting the signs when a device has become infected with a virus.
What’s more is that there are several ways that your devices can catch a virus, such as:
- File sharing.
- Downloading harmful software.
- Infected emails.
Viruses used to be the only cyber threat that businesses worried about, but cyber security has evolved and now includes other attack strategies.
Ransomware is malware where hackers access your data and hold it for ransom by encrypting it. You then pay them to decrypt your data and regain access.
So, if your business experiences a ransomware attack, your products or services provided will likely come to a screeching halt.
A surprising statistic:
“Ransomware is the third most popular type of malware used in data breaches.” – Verizon , 2020.
Our findings show that this will do more than just affect your numbers. Depending on the information that the hacker gathers, a ransomware attack can be tragic for your small business. It could cost you everything to pay off the hacker.
Unfortunately, even if you comply with the hacker, there’s a chance that they won’t keep up their end of the deal. They may ask for additional payments, or cut communications once they have what they want.
Spyware is a type of malware that collects information from your device without your knowledge. Based on our observations, it’s difficult to detect, and many people never know that they’ve been subject to a spyware attack!
With spyware, cyber criminals can not only oversee your business operations. Data privacy and data security become a pipe dream as well.
Since it’s invisible, once spyware has been downloaded to a device, there is little you can do to restore your network security.
One of the most common ways spyware hackers install spyware is through phishing emails.
Unlike the other attacks on this list, phishing isn’t software. Phishing is a technique used to gather sensitive information through deception.
The act of convincing someone to disclose information to a hacker is called social engineering.
The most common case of phishing involves sending emails with links that lead to a website infected with malware. These scams can affect consumers and businesses alike.
A common social engineering strategy is to trick recipients to reply to emails with personal information by pretending to be a credible source, such as a colleague.
Our findings show that cyber criminals often claim to have management roles in the businesses they target. A similar strategy involves impersonating a company that has a strong reputation.
As per our expertise, it’s important to include strategies to prevent phishing attacks in your cyber security plan template, most of which surrounds employee education (more on this later).
The state of your cybersecurity hinges on making a plan. Let’s jump into how to create a cyber security plan for small business.
How to create your business cyber security plan
Creating a security plan requires you to look at your current business processes to figure out your vulnerabilities.
From there, you can put together a plan to eliminate those vulnerabilities and reduce your risk.
You might think as a relatively unknown “small biz” that you’re safe against cyberattacks. In reality, it’s small business cybersecurity that cybercriminals target most. This is because a small organization tends to have much weaker cyber security than a larger enterprise.
It’s a good idea to use a cyber security plan template for small business through this process. Through our practical knowledge, templates for your business’ cybersecurity plan are useful tools as they eliminate internal confusion over protocols and best practices.
To guide you, here are 5 key steps to creating your plan.
1. Identify your biggest threats
Of course, drawing from our experience, protecting your company from cyber threats requires more than just filling out a planner.
Creating a cyber security plan is similar to setting your sales goals . For example, both involve taking every aspect of your business into account.
You can’t create a line of defense if you don’t know what you need defending from.
This is why the first step in creating a cyber security plan for small business is to understand your business risk.
The most common threats for small businesses include:
- Weak passwords.
Our research indicates that identifying your risks helps you find ways to prevent these risks from happening. This includes solutions, such as:
- Antivirus software.
- Newer devices with updated security features (i.e., fingerprint scanning).
- Password parameters.
If you have an IT team, this is a job for them. If not, consult an IT professional to identify your exposure and create a plan.
2. Prioritize your assets
Cyber security asset assessment involves identifying your IT assets and potential security risks. Your assets include traditional devices as well as digital assets.
Here are some examples of common business assets to consider:
- PCs and mobile devices.
- Networks and servers.
- Cloud-based data.
In reality, any part of your IT infrastructure is at risk of cyber security threats, so be sure to create a comprehensive list.
From there, decide which assets are the most important. That way you can determine the most vulnerable ones to begin creating your security plan.
3. Set your goals
The goal of your security plan is to protect your small business. However, several smaller goals play into this larger objective.
In a perfect world, creating a plan to prevent cyber attacks, and including a network security device like a firewall, would be enough. However, solely relying on prevention is unrealistic.
As much as you try to prevent cyber security attacks, there’s always a risk of cyber attackers getting through your defense. So, as per our expertise, your goals should also include optimal readiness to respond to threats.
If you’ve already made the plans to handle unauthorized users in your system, then you’ll greatly reduce the amount of damage they can do.
Of course, malware detection is the first step once your cybersecurity is breached. So planning the ways to detect threats is as important as planning how to deal with them.
Better yet, our research indicates that you should have a goal for your recovery time to minimize your exposure and damage to your assets.
4. Document your plan
Once you’ve determined your current cyber security risks and created a business plan to improve your response readiness, it’s time to document your plan.
Based on our firsthand experience, documenting is easy if you use a cyber security plan template for small business, as you just have to fill in the sections in the template.
There are several reasons why documenting cybersecurity plans is important.
For starters, you don’t want anything to slip through cracks when it comes to a cyber security plan for small business. It only takes one small slip-up for a hacker to access your information.
Thoroughly documenting your plan minimizes the risk of overlooking an aspect of your business, and removes the possibility for any intrusion into it.
Sometimes, you’ll have conversations with your customers that are difficult . But nothing’s harder than explaining that your cyber security has been compromised. A well-documented plan softens the blow and reduces a breach’s impact.
What’s more, employee training plays a huge part in your cyber security strategy. So, document your plan in a way that’s easy to understand.
5. Do a test run
Once you have the proper cyber security infrastructure in place that your employees are trained on, test your plan.
Don’t forget to test your employees’ ability to recognize threats by sending test phishing emails. You can also simulate a ransomware attack through encryption of your own files.
It’s important to note that cyber security is always evolving. Once you confirm that your new plan works, set up a schedule to conduct regular tests to ensure up to date strategies.
Now that you know how to create your plan, let’s explore what to include in your template.
What to include in your cyber security plan template for small business
Making a cyber security strategy is no small task. There are two points to remember about your plan:
- It’s a document your team regularly references.
- The security of your business depends on it.
Organizations that acknowledge these points always have the most robust security strategy, making them the most cyber secure. To address these two factors, you want to ensure that you include as much detail in your plan as possible.
Using a cyber security plan template for small business simplifies the process and ensures that your plan captures every aspect of your business.
Since this plan will be included in the core employee resources of your organization, a template ensures that you’ve covered all your bases in a way that’s still easy to follow.
Here’s what to include in your template.
To kick things off, your cyber security plan for small business protection should open with your goals.
Your goals guide your plan, so clearly stating them at the start gives context to your proposed strategies.
As a result, the reader sees the bigger picture and better understands the importance of cyber security strategies.
To fully understand your cyber security strategies, you need to outline your business’ security threats.
Make sure that your plan describes each threat to your business. This means associating each common threat with an asset.
For example, one common threat to small business security is password hacking, and one of the assets at risk is your company’s data. Knowing this, you can strengthen your employee passwords to prevent data breach.
Identifying threats specific to your business is a crucial step in protecting your staff and your customers from cyber attacks.
Cyber security policies serve as the framework of your plan.
Policies outline how you expect your team to protect your business assets. Some basic security practices include:
- Limiting who accesses information.
- Restricting internet browsing on your network.
- Implementing a plan of action for suspicious emails.
There are also companies that offer products or services, like antivirus software to ward off security threats.
Your security policies are mainly preventative, so you should consider how to react to security breaches.
Breach response plan
Prevention is the best tool to protect your business, but it shouldn’t be your only tool. If your business does become the victim of a cyber attack, you should have a plan of how you’ll react.
When unauthorized users infiltrate your business systems, panic sets in. It becomes difficult to think clearly and act accordingly.
Without an established breach response plan, you’ll lack the tools to quickly restore your business.
A breach response process allows you to identify an attack and shut it down as soon as possible. This reduces damage to your business data and ensures that you’re back up and running in no time.
Your breach response plan should include clear steps and a timeline of how long you have to shut down an attack before your business is at risk.
Employee education plan
You can have the tightest cyber security policies in place, but if your employees don’t know them, your business is still exposed.
So, it’s important to implement a system that educates your employees. A cyber security plan for small business isn’t complete without employee training.
To be successful, your employees need to be up to speed on your business’ cyber risks and security policies. Design a cyber security training program to walk your employees through these.
A complete employee education plan results in your employees:
- Creating strong passwords.
- Recognizing phishing emails.
- Resisting other social engineering techniques.
- Knowing what to do if they accidentally disclose information.
Highlight your training plan in your cyber security plan template for small business.
For best results, conduct a cyber security training at least once a year and test employees’ knowledge monthly.
Wrap up: Cyber security plan template for small business success
The truth is that if you don’t have a solid cyber security plan for small business, you risk losing your business completely.
With this in mind, it’s important to prioritize cyber security policies and implement them into your business process. The applications of this plan will guarantee longevity for your business.
The key content of a complete plan includes:
- Clear goals.
- Potential threats.
- Security policies.
- A breach response plan.
- Employee training.
The health of your cyber security depends on these five factors for a number of reasons. Establishing each of these now means that you can quickly shut down unauthorized user or activities within your business down the road.
The quality of your product or service means nothing if your cyber system is unsecure.
With the support of a template, your cybersecurity plan is clear, concise, and comprehensive. It allows you to draft and organize all the content that your plan requires.
Free cyber security plan template for small businesses
Protect your business from cyber attacks by drafting a robust cyber security plan.
If you don’t see the download form, download template here .
Brush up on other technology trends for your small business in this blog !
Cyber security plan template for small business FAQs
How do i implement a cyber security plan for small business.
To implement a cyber security plan for your small business, the most important step is educating your employees. Once your plan has been created, the hard part is done.
Make your cyber security plan customary and accessible so that your employees know about your business’ strategies in the event of a cyber threat.
If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a cyber threat, remind your staff of your plan– then follow each step closely.
How do I choose the right cyber security products for my small business?
To choose the right cyber security products for your small business, first identify all your company’s potential cyber threats. Once those are established, there are many security products to choose from.
There is not a one-size-fits all solution to cyber security. You can choose which products suit your needs, but it’s important to note that you can never be too secure.
Many cyber security companies offer free trials, so consider experimenting with different products to find the perfect fit for your business.
Where can I find a cyber security plan template for small business?
For a comprehensive cyber security plan template for small businesses plus more, simply:
- Follow this link .
- Fill out your business’ basic information.
- Click download.
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How to Build an Information Security Plan for Your Small Business
Information Security (InfoSec) is a constantly evolving part of cybersecurity that includes methodologies to keep networks safe and secure no matter the level of outside attacks. Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are no stranger to these cyber-attacks . Even though 87% of small business owners don’t think that they are at risk of a cyber-attack, the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) says that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses.
Many SMBs think they aren’t at risk for a cyber-attack, but because SMBs often lack a comprehensive security plan, hackers have figured out that small businesses are an easier target for stealing sensitive personal and/or financial information. Although having an information security policy for small businesses isn’t the end-all solution to combat cyber-attacks, it does provide SMBs with more visibility on the number of intrusions to their network infrastructure .
As more SMBs are targeted and breached by malicious hackers, business owners are seeking the formula for designing an information security plan that’s a fit for any small business . Although information security plans are not one-size-fits-all, they all do follow a similar recipe. Follow along as we cook up the comprehensive guide every small business needs to combat hackers and keep their data infrastructure safe from cyber-attacks.
Building a Strong SMB InfoSec Policy
An information security policy is a set of rules that dictate how digital information should be handled at all times. If you think that your small business doesn’t need this level of control over your data, you’re not considering how quickly technologies evolve to meet your company’s needs. It may not seem like it, but we’re constantly changing the way we use technology to interact with the world around us.
Naturally, this evolution of technology changes the way we handle data. An Information Security Policy forces your SMB to think through and address all of the ways that data your business handles data. It also allows you to outline how your business intends to keep its data safe even when there are countless ways that hackers can get past your network defenses.
A solid information security policy is one that sets defined boundaries that clearly specifies how users should safely using company technology. It also acts as a contingency plan for how you’ll handle emergency situations and scenarios if something does go haywire.
Download Our Cybersecurity Checklist
The InfoSec policy should contain cybersecurity best practices that employees are expected to follow; including (but not limited to) procedures for keeping employee, vendor, and customer information safe. Hackers can steal money, employee details, customer data, and vendor information which can all be damaging to your relationships with employees, customers, and vendors alike. This is why your InfoSec policy should contain specific protocols that will prevent your SMB from being a part of the half of small businesses cohort that goes out of business within six months of a cyber-attack.
Also Read : Why Your Team Need Cybersecurity Education
Assessments and Testing
Developing your small business information security policy begins with identifying the risk factors that your business may come into contact with in the future. No business, no matter its size or industry, is devoid of risks. This makes the organizational understanding of your SMB’s risk profile extremely important.
By testing your system, you may find that you’re using outdated software or ones that aren’t properly patched. This can pose significant issues to your network security and make you susceptible to dangerous malware that can shut your business down entirely if not remediated. If you find that your network is susceptible to phishing scams, it’s recommended that you bolster your cybersecurity posture in ways that will reduce your risk of a data breach.
It’s important to remember that it’s only possible to minimize, not eliminate risks to your network entirely. As long as your small business is storing data, you will always be at risk of a cyber-attack. This is why a risk assessment is important to help your team prioritize which cost-effective countermeasures to use if/when a breach were to occur.
Once potential threats and vulnerabilities are understood via assessments and testing, it’s time to address any and all network risks. Of course, this goes beyond installing antivirus software and setting up a firewall . Risk remediation should utilize appropriate technology solutions, company policies, and an incident response plan , that maps out continuous improvements to the organizational network infrastructure.
Your risk assessment should state how often you plan to reassess the potential threats to your IT security and update your security program. The type of risk assessment that you should perform needs to identify atypical data that may be defined as outside of compliance. Once those compliance risks have been identified, they can be remediated quickly.
Simply remediating risks is not going to end risks altogether due to the human factor that is inherent in all organizations. Even if a large portion of your organization is automated, it still requires a human component to monitor the actions of the programs. When one team member doesn’t know the appropriate protocol for mitigating the likelihood of a cybersecurity attack, it can mean trouble for the entire operation.
This is why a thorough training plan is needed to provide employees with advice on policies, password setup, verification processes, and a variety of other topics. Make sure to train employees in an ongoing fashion by integrating education opportunities in all facets of the workplace. Instead of making training a one-off event, inject training into the workplace culture.
Small businesses tend to think that they’re in the clear from hackers because they plan to go after the large conglomerates; a dangerous assumption that can get them into serious trouble. This is why security awareness training is paramount for employees to absorb and understand their responsibilities. Even if your team never has to use their training knowledge first hand, it will empower and relieve employees to know there’s a plan in place.
Hardware and Software Updates
Small businesses may not have the bustling bullpens that their large conglomerate competitors have, but they do utilize the same components regularly (i.e. desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, etc.). Just like the large conglomerate companies, SMBs need to cover their bases and keep their hardware and software updated. This isn’t for reasons of increased productivity/efficiency; it’s about data security.
Any software that’s physically stored on your small business devices needs to be updated regularly. If your SMB is using a SaaS platform that has cloud software, make sure it’s set up to be automatically updated by your provider. To keep security issues from slipping through the cracks, spam filters should be in place to try and catch phishing emails and other junk before it gets infiltrated too deeply in the network.
Reducing risks in a small business also means limiting access for unauthorized personnel to company computers and accounts. Even a trusted employee shouldn’t be allowed to access computers and information that they are normally unauthorized to use. This is why having individual logins for employees and dictating a policy that ensures that they do not share their login with others is incredibly important.
Chances are, your SMB holds a surplus of confidential information that pertains to everyone from clients and customers, to personnel. Since you’re often contractually obliged to protect that data as if it were your own, limiting the number of people that hold the keys to this sensitive data is wise to configure.
One of the simplest ways to limit the risk of data or equipment being stolen is to make it difficult to access said data or equipment. Consider installing an access control system to more effectively limit access to certain areas of the building. Also, consider requiring that employees swipe a personalized key card in order to unlock a certain door.
Physical InfoSec Planning Procedures
More small businesses are becoming distributed thanks to the boom in freelance workers who are projected to be the majority of the U.S. workforce by 2027. Even though telecommuting is becoming more commonplace (even amongst SMBs), physical information security measures need to be planned with careful consideration.
Start and end your day as a small business owner by physically checking your property’s perimeter. This will help you develop a heightened sense of awareness towards what’s normal and what isn’t. Make sure that you upgrade your doors, windows, and locks to ensure they can withstand an attempted break-in. Lastly, you can minimize potential harms by shredding and recycling all documents such as invoices that may contain sensitive information.
Developing Your Small Business InfoSec Plan
The U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee found that 71% of cyber-attacks happened at businesses with less than 100 employees. This is why it is so important to consider the digital aspects of information security in addition to the physical for your small business.
To scope out your entire information security plan, it’s best to start from the outside in, building layers of defense as you go. First, plan to secure your wi-fi network and monitor your traffic to identify potential hackers at a glance. Then, utilize encryption algorithms for the storage and transmission of all sensitive data on your server.
Once those layers of defense are configured, it’s time to create a security-minded data storage plan and onboard all of your employees to these protocols. Make it a habit to back up all of your data on a regular basis to ensure you stay covered in case your worst-case scenario of a data breach comes full circle. Incorporating these security measures into your small business information security plan can help you avoid both physical and cyber-attacks moving forward.
Elements of an Airtight InfoSec Plan
A solid information security plan gives your small business the big picture of how you should keep your company’s data secure. Using a holistic approach is best as that will give you a full spectrum understanding of how the plan functions within the various elements of your organization. By taking these steps to mitigate the risk of losing data in any one of a variety of ways, you can define a life cycle for managing the security of information and technology within your organization.
Albeit, planning is an important piece of your small business information security plan, but if the implementation of the program is not faithful to the plan it may not turn out well in the long run. If your team is not on the same page with the plan and you experience a loss that has legal consequences, you can use your information security plan as evidence of your diligence in protecting your data and following industry best practices.
The centerpiece to any sustainable information security plan is in the documentation of how often the plan itself will be re-evaluated and updated to ensure ongoing compliance. The global cybersecurity spending is expected to increase steadily to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021, but the global cost of cybercrime will rise to $6 trillion annually by 2021. This paints the picture of how having overinflated cybersecurity budgets that are directed towards high-level strategy, without adequate focus on implementation and execution. This approach is often a huge detriment to your overall network security.
Having an ironclad information security plan for your small business will help you maintain your focus on IT security. It helps you to identify and stay in compliance with different regulations that affect how you manage your data. It also keeps you on the right track with clients and customers that need you to meet specific legal and contractual obligations.
Having a comprehensive information security plan that is continuously adapting to your small business and the ever-changing IT environment we live in is preferred for many reasons. If protecting your data security is on your small business list of to-dos, then an information security plan that encompasses specific assessments, training protocols, and access control procedures are what you should lean towards configuring. Contact RSI Security to get started.
Prevent costly and reputation damaging breaches by implementing cybersecurity best practices. Get started with our checklist today.
RSI Security is the nation’s premier cybersecurity and compliance provider dedicated to helping organizations achieve risk-management success. We work with some of the world’s leading companies, institution and governments to ensure the safety of their information and their compliance with applicable regulation. We also are a security and compliance software ISV and stay at the forefront of innovative tools to save assessment time, increase compliance and provide additional safeguard assurance. With a unique blend of software based automation and managed services, RSI Security can assist all sizes of organizations in managing IT governance, risk management and compliance efforts (GRC). RSI Security is an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) and Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).
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Importance of Cybersecurity for SMBs
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), theft of digital information is now the most commonly reported type of fraud, even more prevalent than the theft of physical property. More and more businesses are making a digital transition, and accounting for cyber threats is something every small business owner should be aware of.
Depending on the industry, businesses may get away with little to no cybersecurity plan in place. However, because cyberattacks are rising , you must take preventive measures and protect your business assets.
Cybersecurity strategies can prove to be effective across smaller businesses, too. Let’s explore some of the ways you can protect your business from cyberattacks.
Because small businesses don’t operate on the same scale as larger corporations, owners may find cybersecurity too advanced or unnecessary for their operations.
However, it doesn’t mean that hackers aren’t targeting small or medium-sized businesses. In 2018, Ponemon Institute released a report indicating that 67% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack in the preceding year. Just because these attacks aren’t making headlines does not mean small businesses are automatically safe from cyberattacks.
Another issue small businesses should be concerned about is the use of ransomware by would-be cyber attackers. In essence, ransomware takes your network hostage and prevents you from accessing crucial information until you pay a ransom to the attacker. In ransomware cases, 33% of businesses end up paying the ransom demanded. Your goal should be to avoid falling into that percentage.
The last thing you want is to be forced to pay a ransom or deal with the harsh aftereffects of experiencing a cyberattack.
So, how can you protect your business from potential cyberattacks? We’ll take you through some steps you can take to limit the risks and threats that could negatively impact your business.
Forming a Cybersecurity Plan for Your Business
To cover your bases, it’s vital to utilize all of your industry's identified best cybersecurity practices. You must consider how your business could be potentially attacked and create a customized plan that’s relevant to your specific operations.
Identify digital assets and assess your risks
Your first step in forming a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is to identify the online assets you have that could lure in a would-be hacker or cyber-criminal.
Whether that’s customer credit card data for a retailer or sensitive medical information for a health care practice, many businesses store data that could harm others if leaked. Create an inventory of the intangible information you need to protect.
Protect your network
A primary source of protection for your business is a firewall. Firewalls monitor ingoing and outgoing network traffic , and you can tailor them to fit your business needs. They serve as gatekeepers and prevent unauthorized users from entering your network.
Ensure your Wi-Fi is kept private and use a secure router in a safe location. This will prevent anyone from physically messing with your information, as well as anyone online trying to hack into your network.
Form access control protocols
You must make individual accounts and unique passwords for all of your employees, especially if they spend most of their workday online. This will keep unauthorized users from entering the network and posing as one of your employees.
Determine which employees need access to various online accounts and databases and limit them accordingly. Access control strategies help contribute to your overall cybersecurity protection.
Train and update employees on cybersecurity plans
Educating your employees about potential cyberattack risks will keep them vigilant and prevent them from, say, opening suspicious links or ads. All employees should have a strong understanding of the internet and what cybersecurity plans are in place to help protect your company.
Employees unaware of common cybersecurity best practices are more vulnerable to an attack , but educating them to the best of your ability will lessen the risk and better prepare you in the event of a cyber incident.
Follow these guidelines if you’re looking to implement a cybersecurity plan into your business operations. It’s worth the investment — you could lose your digital assets, and your business may have trouble staying afloat if you leave cybersecurity on the backburner.
Protect Your Business From Cyberattacks
Business owners need to wear different hats when it comes to running their businesses. For example, a small clothing store owner has many responsibilities, like opening and closing at night, managing employees, paying bills, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Make sure to wear the hat of the cybersecurity manager. Use these tips when you begin implementing cybersecurity measures into your business. While you may not be an IT professional, your future self will thank you for taking preventive measures.
What Small Businesses Need to Know About Cybersecurity Be proactive on the critical insights of cybersecurity that will protect your data and information from outside sources in cyberspace or the internet.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.