How to Plan for a Cyber Attack
As technology becomes more prevalent in all aspects of business, so do the risks associated with it. Cyber attacks are becoming an increasingly common threat to businesses—and they can be difficult to defend against. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to plan for and mitigate cyber attack threats.
Identify and assess your risks
To get started, you need to identify and assess your risks. You should make a list of the things that could cause a cyber attack on your company or organisation, and then rank them according to their severity.
Then you’ll want to develop a plan for how you would respond if each risk actually happened. The next step is determining what resources are available for mitigating each risk—and whether or not those resources are sufficient for dealing with it. You should also consider if there's anything else that needs to be done in order to keep from being hacked again in the future.
Prioritise risks based on importance to your business
Your first step is to identify your top five risks. For example, if you're a staffing agency and you want to be prepared for a cyber attack, the most likely risks are:
- A breach in your IT systems that could lead to data loss;
- An email phishing campaign targeting clients or employees; and
- Someone hacking into an employee's email account and stealing sensitive information from it.
Once you have identified these top five risks, estimate their level of risk. A low-level risk would be something like guessing someone's password because they reuse it on different sites (like many people do). This is not likely to cause much damage unless there are other factors involved like poor security enforcement or social engineering techniques used by hackers who can make convincing emails appear legitimate enough for someone who doesn't know better than to fall for them. On the other hand, if someone gains access through brute force methods such as guessing passwords over time until they discover one that works—this could result in significant losses due to compromised accounts being used as pivot points into other areas where valuable information lives such as databases holding customer payment details which were accessed via those compromised accounts' access credentials (usernames/passwords). In this scenario we have an example where each layer presents another possible point of failure which increases exposure significantly compared with just one point being vulnerable instead.
Put the right people in place, with the right training
Planning for a cyber attack is no small feat, but it's easier than you think. While it may not be possible to completely prevent an attack, there are measures you can take to minimise the damage and keep your network secure.
You'll need the right people in place with the right training before an event happens. This includes ensuring they understand what they're doing and how much data is at stake if an attack does happen (which will make them more driven to do their jobs). You should also ask yourself: How often should I train? What skills do my employees need? What kind of training would help me improve as an employee?
Make sure your employees have access to all necessary tools too! If someone isn't equipped with everything needed for their job, then there will be some problems down the road when something inevitably goes wrong—and you don't want that!
Create an incident response plan and procedure
The incident response plan is a document that outlines what you're going to do in the event of an attack. It should include:
- A description of your organisation's priorities and goals in responding to cyber incidents
- A list of individuals who will be involved in incident response, including their roles and responsibilities, contact information, and areas of expertise
- Guidelines for communication with outside parties such as law enforcement agencies or public relations firms
Once you have your plan, it's time to create an actual procedure—a step-by-step guide detailing how to respond when an attack occurs. This document can include:
- Contact information for everyone involved in responding to cyber incidents (see above)
- Information on how best practices were followed or could have been followed better during previous attacks
This process may seem daunting at first glance, but by following these steps you'll actually find yourself equipped with some much needed peace of mind about your organisation's readiness for a cyber attack.
Implement systems to protect your data
- Encrypt your data. Encryption is a way of scrambling the contents of files and folders so that they can't be read by anyone who doesn't have the right key to decrypt them. If you don't encrypt your data, it may be possible for an attacker to access it even after they've gained access to the server or computer where it's stored.
- Use firewalls. A firewall is software that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic on your network and blocks unauthorised connections or communications from taking place. For example, if someone tries to break into your server from their own computer—or vice versa—the firewall will tell them "No." The same goes for any other attempts at unauthorised access: if someone tries accessing any other services on a server through its ports (like FTP), the firewall will stop that attempt as well. You should also run regular scans with anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware programs (AV/AS/AM) on all servers in order to make sure nothing else has gotten through!
Taking these basic steps can help mitigate cyber attack risks.
While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of getting hacked, there are some steps you can take to minimise your exposure.
- Build a strong perimeter defence. Make sure your computer systems have up-to-date anti-virus and other security software that blocks known threats before they reach your network.
- Train employees on how to recognize email phishing scams and avoid opening suspicious attachments or clicking on links in emails from unknown sources. Also, make sure employees understand what sensitive information should not be shared online or over email with anyone outside of their company (this includes usernames/passwords).
- Keep track of all devices that connect wirelessly to the network so you know which ones are accessing it at any given time—and restrict access for those devices that don’t need it by using new types of security software called “access control lists” (ACLs).
As you can see, cyber security is a huge and complex topic. However, by taking the right steps to ensure that your business is protected against cyber attack risks, you can avoid falling victim to this growing threat. We hope this article has given you some insight into what steps are necessary for safeguarding your business from cyber attacks.