Cybersecurity Risk Management 2024: Expert Tips and Best Practices

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Cybercrime surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the onslaught hasn’t slowed. With 43 percent of cyberattacks targeting small businesses, you need to be proactive about protecting your company.

Cybersecurity risk management can help you assess risks and address them to protect your organization from future attacks. Use these best practices to keep your company, and its data, safe from cybercriminals.

Use a Cybersecurity Framework from a Trusted Source

While many companies do build their cybersecurity frameworks, as a small business, it may be easier to rely on one of the established frameworks created by organizations like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework. Frameworks lay out a straightforward path towards stronger business cybersecurity, including describing processes and procedures.

Identify Internal Vulnerabilities

Inventory your network components – servers, endpoints, interfaces, and software – to determine where the vulnerabilities are in your system. Check for things like the use of default passwords or advanced permissions being given to people who don’t need them. Breaches often come from within the system, and often they’re the result of laziness or negligence, not malice. Good network security management addresses internal risks through tougher access controls and employee training.

Address the Most Serious Threats First

It’s often unrealistic to expect to be able to protect against all threats at once. You will have to decide which risks pose the biggest threat to your organization and address those first. Figure out which threats are most urgent and take steps to mitigate those first. Once you have established some defense against the highest-risk threats, you can allocate resources to protecting against lower-level threats.

Prioritize Clear Communication

Threats can come to your network from anywhere. A threat could find its way into an employee’s email inbox or could even come from a phone call placed by a social engineering scammer. Your information technology (IT) department should have strong channels of communication to convey to the rest of your staff what kinds of threats they should be looking out for, and staff should have a clear means of reporting those threats to IT when they encounter them. This should give IT staff the information they need to adequately address threats.

cybersecurity risk management plan

Monitor Networks Constantly

Cyberattacks don’t always happen during regular business hours. Your IT staff needs to be constantly monitoring your network for threats. They should at least be getting accurate, thorough logs of everything that happens on your network, so they can identify breaches before they have a chance to do too much damage. You can find software solutions to automate this monitoring if you can’t afford to hire IT staff around the clock to do it in person. 

Be Prepared to Respond to Incidents

An incident response plan is an essential part of any cybersecurity risk management plan. You need to know exactly what to do to respond to an incident. The incident response plan should lay out the incident response in extreme detail so that there is no question about what procedures should be followed in the event of an incident. It should also describe backup responses to try if the initial ones fail. 

Each risk should have its incident response plan. You need to get them down in writing so you’re not dependent on employees who may leave the company or misremember the incident responses. Cyberattacks can be extremely time-sensitive – you need to be able to respond immediately as soon as a threat appears. Preplanned incident responses facilitate that. 

Make Cybersecurity Risk Management Everyone’s Responsibility

You can’t rely on your IT staff to handle cybersecurity all on your own. It’s not that they’re not competent people, it’s just that enterprise cybersecurity is too complex for that. As previously mentioned, threats can come from all directions – and many of them are aimed at your non-IT employees. Everyone needs to know how to respond to a phishing email or a social engineering phone call. They also need to know what to do if they’ve encountered a threat or been compromised.

Implement employee training to make cybersecurity part of everyone’s responsibility. Train employees on how to recognize common threats, how to respond to them, and when to make a report to IT. When employees know what threats look like, they can avoid them – and if they know when to make a report to IT, your security team can be even more successful. 

Cybersecurity Risk Management can be a huge endeavor even for a small company. Make sure you’re doing it right, so your company doesn’t become a victim.