How to structure a good cybersecurity plan?

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Despite the fact that computer security is a topic that has been talked about a lot and much emphasis has been placed from different media, it is clear that there are still many companies that do not understand the risk of a cyber attack and the disastrous consequences that it entails if this comes to materialize. This can be seen reflected in the fact that, according to a report on cybersecurity in Latin America carried out by the company Eset, it revealed that only 34% of the companies surveyed had a cybersecurity plan (Marsh, 2022).

This is especially delicate given the current situation where cyber attacks are increasingly specialized, the consequences are more devastating, and they are hitting a growing number of companies, regardless of their size, economic sector, nature, or geographic location.
Becoming aware of the criticality of maintaining a cybersecurity plan that allows preparing for a possible cyber attack is essential to ensure uninterrupted business operation.

It is also important to highlight that having a cybersecurity plan is not solely and exclusively about having a document, physical or digital, where a series of activities are listed and which is not consulted again. To do so is to thoroughly review the status of the company's processes, their strengths, weaknesses, and shortcomings in all areas that involve information security. 

It is also necessary to understand that adjustments, changes or new policies must be made within the processes to ensure that tasks are carried out safely and responsibly with corporate data. This is only possible if the decision is made by the management spheres of the organization; not because they are responsible for data security, but because they need to represent a role model for their employees and users.

Proposing an adequate cybersecurity plan must include activities that allow risk management from all organizational levels. For them there are manuals and guides of quality standards that can serve as a basis for knowing the path to follow. Likewise, there are cybersecurity consultants who are able to support the process, according to the compliance requirements and specific needs of each company.

Like any planning process, it is necessary for all areas of the company to be involved in this process, since it is essential to understand the real state of operations and the main shortcomings in terms of information security. This is a fundamental step to establish the bases of the cybersecurity plan and prioritize the activities to be carried out.

It must be clarified that for the plan, with all its considerations and objectives, to be aligned with the business objectives. This will allow establishing the information that must be protected, the associated risks and how to react to them.
Next, we will explain the key steps for an adequate and efficient security plan, according to the guidelines of each organization:

  • Assess the risks: The first step in establishing a business cybersecurity plan is to assess the risks facing the business. This can include the type of data that is handled, the number of people who have access to it, the systems used to process it, and the level of impact that its potential loss would generate to the company. By assessing the risks, you can identify the areas that most urgently need to be protected and the measures needed to do so.
  • Identify critical assets: After evaluating the risks, it is important to identify the critical assets of the company. This can include sensitive data, intellectual property, and essential systems. Once identified, appropriate protection measures can be put in place to ensure they are not compromised.

 

  • Set security policies: Security policies are a crucial component of any business cybersecurity plan. These policies establish the rules and procedures that must be followed to ensure the protection of critical assets. These policies may include creating strong passwords, limiting access to data, updating systems, and implementing additional security measures, among others.

 

  • Implement physical security measures: In addition to online security measures, it is important to implement physical security measures as an additional measure to prevent the entry of unauthorized third parties that may violate the security of the information. This may include the installation of security systems, such as cameras, alarms and/or physical access controls, as well as the restriction of entry to sensitive areas.

 

  • Train employees: This is perhaps the most important element of any business cybersecurity plan. It is essential to train employees on the security policies established by the company and their importance for the continuity of operations, as well as provide them with the necessary tools to protect themselves against cyber risks. This may include training in detecting malicious emails, using strong passwords, and identifying malicious websites.
  • Set up a backup plan: It is also essential to have a complete backup plan, which establishes: the type of copies to be made, the methods and places of storage, the periodicity of making them. This will ensure that the critical import is safeguarded and able to recover in the event of a cyberattack.

 

  • Perform security tests: it is important to carry out security tests to guarantee that the protection measures implemented are effective. These tests may include cyber attack simulations and penetration tests to identify areas of vulnerability. The objective of these tests is also to be able to remedy in time any vulnerability that could put the security of the data at risk. That is why the importance of doing them periodically.

 

  • Establish an incident response plan: Being prepared for a possible cyber attack is vital for survival and continuity. For this reason, the establishment of a response plan that allows defining the actions to be taken after the incident is critical for the organization. The plan should include procedures to contain the incident, identify the root cause, restore systems, and communicate with those affected. It is also important to socialize it so that the parties involved are clear about the roles and responsibilities within the plan and it can be executed without major problems.

 

  • Lastly, it is important to make a plan review from time to time to check that the established tasks are being fulfilled, that it is updated and that the action plans, policies, strategies are working correctly

Understanding the importance of carrying out all these activities is essential to protect your company from the cyber threats that lurk today. Added to this is the obligation that all organizations have to take the necessary measures to protect the personal data of their clients and users in general, which gives greater support to the need to have an effective cybersecurity plan, which allows compliance to regulations and keep your reputation intact.


Similarly, not having a cybersecurity plan can lead to improvisation if a cyberattack were to materialize, which, in the end, could be more disastrous for the organization because, in addition to affecting business continuity, it would generate a loss of confidence on the part of the clients.

Having a pre-established action plan will allow you to know in advance what actions to take and how to recover the operation of the business in the shortest possible time, it will be able to provide peace of mind to the company's stakeholders. Therefore, it is a commitment of all corporate areas to execute the processes in such a way as to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the information.

Likewise, the senior managers of each company must do their part, not only practicing appropriate cybersecurity habits, but also facilitating the adoption of policies and implementation of solutions aimed at strengthening the strategy for the protection of sensitive information. Being part of the solution and not the problem is the best way to support the corporate cybersecurity plan.

Having the support of an expert consultant in information security matters can make a difference when it comes to building a cybersecurity plan adjusted to the reality and requirements of the organization. This will allow a more holistic view of the processes and problems that the organization may have and take corrective measures in this regard. Likewise, with the help of a consultant, it is possible to closely monitor the plan to review its effectiveness and make the pertinent adjustments, so that it is always up-to-date with current threats.

In short, a cybersecurity plan is essential to protect a company's systems and data. Cybercrime is a constant and increasingly sophisticated threat, so it is necessary to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of an attack. A good cybersecurity plan must include prevention, detection and response measures, as well as being constantly updated to adapt to new threats.

It is important that everyone within the organization is aware of the importance of cybersecurity and is trained to follow best practices. In short, a solid cybersecurity plan is essential to guarantee business continuity and protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical company information.

It is in the hands of each company to make the pertinent decisions that guarantee the protection of their data and, even more importantly, that of their clients and users. The easiest way to do it: implementing a suitable cybersecurity plan.

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