How to Create a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy

Over the past year, 43% of cyberattacks have specifically targeted Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Worryingly 83% of SMEs aren’t equipped to recover from a cybersecurity incident or breach.

Given the increasing number of threats that could impact your business on a day-to-day basis, a structured approach to implementing mitigating security controls can help to reduce the likelihood and impact of a cyberattack.

With cybercriminals becoming increasingly aggressive and innovative in their attack methods, it is now more important than ever for SMEs to become more proactive in their cybersecurity strategy and increase their overall cybersecurity stance.

In this blog, we take you through developing a robust cybersecurity posture for your business by creating a cybersecurity strategy. Discover why it is important, what it will consist of and how you can get started on developing a bespoke cybersecurity strategy for your SME.


What is a Cybersecurity Strategy?


A cybersecurity strategy is a detailed plan that can help your business reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber-related risks and threats, enabling you to manage cyberattacks and effectively respond to them.


Establish a Cybersecurity Baseline

The strategy outlines good practices which can be implemented by your business to secure your networks, systems and data. It also establishes a cybersecurity baseline that allows you to continuously adapt and change to emerging cyber threats and risks.


Why is a Cybersecurity Strategy Important?


A cybersecurity strategy is important as it details a plan to protect the information your business holds on employees, clients and customers, in addition to your own company data.

Without a solid cybersecurity strategy in place, your business cannot adequately defend itself against cyber attacks or breaches and becomes an irresistible target to malicious attackers.

Being subject to a cyber attack can often result in operational impacts for the business. It can also have a financial impact stemming from loss of revenue due to the operational outage, costs associated with responding to the incident and recovery of lost data or compromised systems.

A report noted that the average cost of recovery from an attack in 2021 cost businesses €1.67 million ($1.85 million).

The reputational impact of a cybersecurity attack may be the most long lasting. According to a recent report, 73% of businesses underperformed in the market after being subject to an attack.


Cybersecurity and the Technological Evolution

The evolution of technology in the past twenty years has seen companies of all sizes embracing the opportunities that new technology has brought.

Businesses are more technologically reliant than ever before and there is no sign that this trend will slow anytime soon. Pair this with the reliance on cloud services, smartphones, computers and the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses have a myriad of potential cyber security threats to contend with.


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The Benefits of a Strong Cybersecurity Strategy

Given the challenges presented, it is important for SMEs to identify how they can be addressed in order to protect their businesses and their customers. Having a well thought out cyber strategy will provide SMEs with the tools needed to implement the right mitigating controls to reduce the risk of a successful attack.

In addition to protecting your business against cyber threats, a solid cybersecurity strategy:

  • Provides customers with reassurance that their sensitive information is safe in the hands of your business
  • Helps protect business productivity and reputation
  • Helps to create awareness and instils a culture of cybersecurity within the business


What are the Key Elements of a Cybersecurity strategy?


There are a number of key elements to a cybersecurity strategy including understanding your business's threat landscape and knowing what sensitive information you need to protect.


Remember, One Size Does Not Fit All

Before jumping into the key elements, it is important to understand that there is not a “one-size fits all” approach to building a cybersecurity strategy. Different threats will affect different businesses depending on their sector and the technology used.


1. Understand the Cyber Threat landscape

Having a good understanding of your business's cyber threat landscape involves identifying the most relevant cyber threats that could affect it and how often they occur. This can help you identify the core concepts within your business's cybersecurity strategy.

Cyber threats that may affect your business can include, but are not limited to:



Know What Information You Need to Protect

Critical asset identification is required to identify key processes within the company and the assets that support those business processes.

A way to prioritise your business assets is based on their Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA) requirements.


Confidentiality

Control access to data to prevent unauthorised disclosure.


Integrity

Make certain that the data you hold has not been tampered with and can be considered reliable.


Availability

Make certain that your products or services remain accessible to your staff and customers when needed.


Once you have identified the core critical assets that you need to protect, mapping them to the threats that you have identified can help you to allocate the resources needed to protect the assets.


Cyber Frameworks and Templates to Consider


Planning your cybersecurity strategy and paving the road to resilience within your business might sound like an overwhelming task. To help you work through it, there are a number of different frameworks that can get to on the right path.

The most popular frameworks that enable businesses to get on track are:


ISO 27001

ISO 27001 sets out the requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). An ISMS is a systematic approach to managing the security of sensitive information and encompasses people, processes, and technologies.


NIST Cybersecurity Framework

This NIST Cybersecurity Framework is one of the more popular frameworks for businesses to follow. It provides a comprehensive set of guidelines and good practice techniques to help businesses build and improve their cybersecurity maturity.


CIS Top 18

The Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defence is a publication of best practice guidelines that can be used to implement cyber hygiene in an organisation.

The guidelines split controls into multiple Implementation Groups and are what every business should look to apply as a minimum to help defend against the most common attacks.

It’s important to understand that frameworks like ISO 27001, NIST and CSF are a blueprint. You’ll need to adapt the chosen framework to align with your business's overarching goals.


Developing Your Cybersecurity Strategy


Given the increasing number of cybersecurity threats to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it is of utmost importance to start developing a cybersecurity strategy to help reduce the likelihood of a cybersecurity attack on your business.

To assist you in building a cybersecurity strategy, we have designed a practical guide on ‘Developing a Cybersecurity Strategy for SMEs’. The free PDF download offers guidance on how to get started on improving and ensuring you are on the right track to building a bespoke cyber security stance to protect your business.




How Can We Help?


Identifying your cyber security vulnerabilities can be a difficult task to complete without an expert's eye. At Secora Consulting, we offer Configuration Reviews, Vulnerability Assessments and IT Health Checks that can identify vulnerabilities within your business's IT assets to help protect you from unauthorised access and breaches.

We also offer tailored simulated phishing exercises to determine how effectively your organisation can identify and defend against an incoming phishing attacks.

If you’re interested in this - or any of our other bespoke cyber security assessments, get in touch.


Download a copy of Developing a Cyber Security Strategy for SMEs

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