A report released earlier this year found that many SMEs massively underestimate the vulnerabilities present in their cybersecurity systems.
While confidence is often a good thing, it was can be dangerous when it is misplaced. When it comes to cybersecurity, certainty is much more valuable.
SMEs are common targets for cybercriminals. If you want to your business to be able to withstand the threats present in the contemporary digital landscape, you need to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.
Here are six steps to finding and resolving any vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity.
Know your infrastructure
The first thing you need to do to keep your business safe is to know where and how your data is being accessed. This means knowing every device that accesses your organisation’s sensitive information and being confident that it is properly protected against cyber threats.
The most comprehensive way to do this is to have a live directory of your infrastructure that you can refer to. This will allow you to see all the machines in your digital network and whether they are safe, without having to run time-consuming checks or review individual software reports.
Identify any vulnerabilities
If you can clearly see your network, you’ll be in a good position to spot weaknesses a cybercriminal might be able to exploit. This could be because your cybersecurity software isn’t properly protected on a device. It could be because some of your staff aren’t using multi-factor authentication when they log into their email accounts.
Anywhere that your essential cybersecurity measures aren’t being properly implemented will be easier to take advantage of.
Start by simply recording the areas that need addressing.
Prioritise your vulnerabilities
An initial review of your cybersecurity might reveal many more gaps than you had originally anticipated. It’s nice to think that you can simply plug the gaps as you go, but this could take more time and effort than you expect.
If you have a list of things you need to address first, you can then prioritise vulnerabilities according to the risks they pose for your business and focus on them accordingly.
This will also offer an opportunity to think critically about how you want to approach your data management going forward.
Reinforce vulnerabilities that can’t be resolved
It’s unlikely that any SME will be exclusively using state-of-the-art technology. It’s possible that some of your machines or programmes aren’t up-to-date and that’s a normal part of running a business. But it is something you should consider when it comes to cybersecurity. Older machines are likely to pose more risks. Out-of-date software and hardware are easier for cybercriminals with contemporary knowledge to manipulate.
You have options when it comes to keeping these parts of your infrastructure safe.
You can invest in new technology that is easier to secure. However, this could mean uprooting well established routines to make room for the new processes. This might take some time to integrate into your organisation’s culture and even require staff training.
Or you can find ways to reinforce your older technology with security measures designed specifically to protect against vulnerabilities you have identified. A little bit of creative thinking can go a long way to keeping you safe.
Make use of existing knowledge
The amount of work that goes into implementing a strong cybersecurity strategy can be overwhelming when you first get started. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. A lot of businesses face the same digital threats as you do and the same challenges in protecting against them.
There is a wealth of knowledge freely at your disposal that can help you work through your cybersecurity. There are plenty of blogs from reputable sources that can offer information. Many businesses that have suffered a data breach share information so that others can learn from the incident. Many bodies, including the NCSC, the ICO and many sector specific groups, release regular reports examining the digital climate that can inform your decisions with accurate and current statistics.
It’s not difficult, if you reach out to the right places, to find resources you can apply to your approach to make it as effective as possible.
Revisit your strategy
No matter how effective your cybersecurity strategy is on the day you implement it, it can’t last forever. Cybercriminals come up with new ways to exploit hardware, software and people every day. Sooner or later, something integral to your infrastructure will be out-of-date and hackers will find a way to exploit vulnerabilities that emerge with time.
Revisit your strategy on a regularly basis to see how effectively it works. Review your approach and adjust it based on new observations.
If you can be proactive about cybersecurity, rather than reacting only after a breach, you’re in a much better position to keep your business safe.