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How do I create a cyber security incident response plan?

Writing Cyber Incident plan

When it comes to cybersecurity, many small business owners may think, “Why should I care?” or “Who cares enough about my business to hack me?” This mindset is a grave mistake, as the number of hacked businesses climbs each day. In fact, hackers target small business more than large companies, since they don’t have the means to adopt the same cyber security measures. The lack of strong cyber security coupled with this mindset makes small businesses easy targets for hackers. In the wake of an attack, your business can face dire consequences, like the loss of sensitive information and client data, putting you at risk of losing both new and returning clients. 

As a small business owner, it’s quite easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day functions and neglect cyber security. While nobody likes to think about the possibility of a cyber attack, it’s important that your business has an incident response plan in place to offset any serious damage. An incident response plan is critical to keeping your business functions up and running after an attack, saving you lost time and money. 

The easiest way to begin your incident response plan is to audit and document all of the online services your business uses. This way, you know what platforms may also be compromised during a cyber attack. You should make a note of what services are essential and have back up services documented, or even set up in advance, so you can rest easy knowing your daily functions can still take place. This step is crucial in navigating a cyber attack, as it allows your business to keep up communications with clients while other systems are offline and unavailable.

It is also important to backup sensitive information frequently, keeping passwords, logins, and client data under an extra layer of protection. This should also be stored offline in case an attack blocks your access to this information. In addition, you and your team should practice restoring data backups, so if the time comes, you are prepared to retrieve your data quickly and efficiently. A backup means nothing unless you know how to find and use it.

As the cliché goes, it truly is better to be safe than sorry. The goal is to be in a situation where you’ll never have to use the response plan, and a great way to ensure that is by setting up monitoring and alerting systems. While many may choose to outsource this step, a great option is to establish connections with local IT experts. Building relationships and taking down their information is extremely useful as you’re not only helping out other small business owners, but have contacts in close proximity that can act swiftly and be on your side if an attack occurs. 

Long story short, you don’t need the same security measures and IT teams as multinationals to combat a cyber attack. All you need is a few hours, your team’s support, and some local contacts to properly secure and defend your business.


Image credit – CDC- Unsplash