Are you in denial about cybersecurity?
TL;DR: The article provides a detailed CyberSecurity Assessment Checklist to help you identify, reduce risk, and prepare for potential cyberattacks, securing your data and operations.
If you aren’t worried because your business is too small or doesn’t have valuable data to steal, think again. Hackers know that the information systems used by small and medium businesses (SMBs) typically have weak security and are easy to exploit. Consider these statistics:
- Ransomware attacks increased 10.7X between July 2020 and June 2021
- The average global cost of a data breach touched $4.35 million globally in 2022, according to the data breach report from IBM. This is an all-time high, up by 2.6% from the last year.
- Small and mid-sized businesses spend an average of $955,429 on restoring regular business after successful attacks.
- 60% of SMBs hit with cyberattacks never recover and go out of business within six months of a breach.
- 50% of small and mid-sized businesses have experienced at least
one (1) cyber attack in the last year
It is nearly certain that a cyberattack will affect your business; it’s a question of when not if. Considering the damage a cyberattack can wreak on your business, you can’t remain in denial. The time to assess your cybersecurity preparedness is now.
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Cyber Security Risk Assessment Checklist
To help secure your business, we’ve created the following cybersecurity risk assessment checklist with actions you can use to
- Assess your risk,
- Identify security threats, and
- Reduce your vulnerability, and
- To prepare for the eventual hack that does penetrate your defenses, and
- Help lower the cost of cyber-security insurance
- Conduct an internal cyber security audit
This security audit checklist also provides you with the security controls and incident response to protect your business from cyberattacks. If you handle healthcare information or otherwise require HIPAA compliance, check out our HIPAA Compliance Checklist.
If you’re unsure about your cyber security, Click Here to schedule a cyber security assessment from ZZ Serves, a Managed IT Services provider.
1. End-user training
To help keep your employees up to date on the ever-changing landscape of cyber security, host regular training sessions.
From educating them about phishing attempts and data protection strategies to demonstrating why strong passwords are necessary, these workshops should cover all angles of digital safety every six months or so.
By nurturing a culture that prioritizes security, you can ensure everyone is prepared for potential risks – giving peace of mind both now and into the future!
2. OS and Application patches and updates:
With cyber security being a top priority, the best thing you can do to protect your computers is to ensure they are running with up-to-date applications and operating system security patches.
Don’t fall victim to outdated software: Microsoft has stopped updating Windows XP and Windows 7. Ensure that all operating systems and software versions are updated regularly for optimal safety of both data and devices.
3. Antivirus updates:
Keep your systems safe and secure with up-to-date virus protection! Ensure that you stay ahead of any emerging threats by investing in a quality antivirus program, which often requires an active subscription. If yours has lapsed, renew today and make sure it’s set for automatic updates so you can rest easy knowing your devices are guarded against the latest viruses and malware.
4. Strong password policy:
Secure your accounts by ensuring that all passwords are changed from their default settings and chosen with extra care. Avoid using easily guessed phrases such as “password,” “admin” or a string of numbers like 1234 – something more complicated is the way to go!
Wherever possible, implement multi-factor authentication for even higher level security.
5. Access control measures:
Secure your data by only granting users the necessary access to get their job done. Give them no more and no less, or else you could put your most sensitive information at risk of accidental exposure.
Keep your security tight by limiting administrative access! Allowing only specific users to have super user or standard accounts ensures unauthorized individuals cannot install malware, tamper with critical computer processes and data, or disable vital protection measures. By employing the least privilege principle, you can safeguard against unwanted intrusions.
6. Network segmentation and segregation:
Even in the most secure systems, data breaches can occur. Protect your organization’s valuable assets by establishing a network segmentation and segregation plan to ensure that only authorized personnel access sensitive information. Doing so will help contain an intrusion’s damaging reach and safeguard confidential data from malicious actors.
7. Device security:
Strengthen the security of your devices by utilizing disk encryption and remote-wipe capabilities. Further, protect company information with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy requiring all devices used for work to meet certain minimum standards specified in the guidelines. Implementing these measures will give you peace of mind knowing that any lost or stolen equipment won’t become an opportunity for leaking confidential data!
Keep your mobiles secure! Ensure that all company-owned and personal devices have strong screen locks, biometric authentication, and the ability to wipe them remotely. Set up comprehensive policies for mobile device use so that you can reduce the risk of data breaches or loss.
8. Secure communications:
For maximum security, ensure all emails are encrypted, and your team is adequately trained. Keep confidential data out of email entirely, as well as any devices not under company control. Stay secure!
9. Strong IT policies:
Maintain a secure work environment with clear, solid IT policies that outline how company assets can be used and what is considered inappropriate. Establishing these guidelines gives you the power to ensure everyone remains productive while respecting each other’s privacy.
10. Properly configured layered and configuration security:
Strengthening your organization’s cyber security means having several layers in place. A firewall is just the beginning.
For optimal protection, consider utilizing anti-virus/malware software, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), and other measures to cover all possible entry points.
For complex systems like networked layered security solutions, it’s wise to enlist expert professional help before implementation!
11. Internal and External Vulnerability Scans:
Keep your system safe – proactively protect yourself! Conduct an internal and external vulnerability scan at least once every quarter. A reliable vulnerability program will help you identify any hidden dangers that could jeopardize your business. Taking preventative steps now can save a lot of headaches down the road.
12. Data backups:
Safeguard your data against the unexpected with reliable backups. Regularly store a secure, encrypted version of important information off-site to ensure you can recover quickly from any cyberattack or natural disaster and remain compliant with relevant government regulations.
13. Cyberattack response planning:
Being prepared for a cyberattack is no longer optional.
Creating and maintaining a response plan for cyber breaches will not only keep you in compliance with regulations but can also provide the decisive framework needed to recover systems after an attack occurs. With well-defined escalation protocols at the ready, you’ll be prepared no matter what event should arise.
An effective response plan will meet regulatory requirements and give you peace of mind that you are secure in the digital world.
14. Cybersecurity insurance:
Protect your business from the financial impact of a cyberattack with cybersecurity insurance. Take this proactive step to secure your data and finances, safeguarding against any potential losses that may arise in today’s digital world.
This is a prudent investment to cover financial losses resulting from a cyberattack.
Protecting your business from cyber threats doesn’t have to be complicated. Use this threat assessment checklist as a guide for securing your organization’s future, and don’t forget that prevention costs far less than recovery after an attack.
If you have any questions or need assistance completing this checklist, enlist the help of a trusted cybersecurity service provider who can ensure everything is appropriately set up. In that case, it could make all the difference!