Summer is heating up, which means lots of business owners are preparing for their mid-year planning meetings. This is the perfect time to assess what's working well in your business and to identify potential areas for improvement. In addition to other business priorities, cybersecurity should be at the top of your list. Holding discussions on cybersecurity is an important step for ensuring your business is running both efficiently and securely.
Wondering what topics to bring up during these discussions? Then read on to learn about the top three cybersecurity topics all business owners should cover during mid-year planning meetings.
1. Look for Potential Gaps in Your Tech Stack's Cybersecurity
It's crucial to assess security at all levels of your tech stack so you can locate potential vulnerabilities. A tech stack consists of all the software a business needs to accomplish its goals, and every component of your tech stack is susceptible to threats. This includes your network, operating system, core services, databases, Web servers, and third-party applications. Regularly assessing your tech stack to spot potential gaps in protection helps you identify weak spots that cybercriminals can exploit.
For instance, one component of your tech stack where you may discover security vulnerabilities are your Web applications. Web applications are types of software that determine how your website looks and functions. If there are vulnerabilities in a Web application, cybercriminals can potentially exploit them and inject malicious code into the application. They can then carry out all kinds of criminal activities, such as defacing your website, stealing customer data from webforms, or redirecting visitors to phishing sites.
The good news is that if weak spots are found, there are cybersecurity solutions to address threats in every level of the tech stack. During mid-year planning meetings, businesses can review their security challenges and identify the solutions needed to help solve them. For example, you can invest in a malware scanning solution to identify and remove malware from your Web applications and other website components.
Ensuring that all layers of your tech stack are protected is an essential part of any comprehensive cybersecurity plan to help secure your business from cyberthreats.
2. Get Current on the Threat Landscape
Cyberthreats are constantly evolving, and businesses need to stay up to date on possible threats they might face. That's why it's important to discuss the major cyberthreats small and midsize businesses face and the plans your company has to counteract them.
Current research reveals that websites are attacked 94 times a day on average, which is a 52 percent increase from 2019. One of the most common types of cyberattack is the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and they show no sign of slowing down. In fact, it's estimated that the total number of DDoS attacks will double, from 7.9 million in 2018 to 15.4 million by 2023.
Cybercriminals use DDoS attacks to block legitimate traffic from reaching a website, and they can often take sites offline for hours or longer. The potential downtime associated with a DDoS attack can be costly for businesses of all sizes, and it can be damaging to the customer experience. So it's crucial to have cybersecurity solutions in place to help prevent such devastating attacks, such as a Web application firewall (WAF.)
At your mid-year meeting, ensure you have a response plan in place in case a cyberattack occurs. Part of this plan should be a website backup solution, which regularly backs up your website files and databases so they can be restored in the event of a ransomware attack or other type of cyberattack.
3. Discuss the Strategy for Securing Your Workforce
It's important to remember that good cyber hygiene isn't only about software and systems; it is also about people. During your mid-year planning meeting, make sure to discuss the steps your business is taking to educate employees on security best practices.
One of the most effective ways to teach your employees about cybersecurity is implementing security awareness training. This type of security training covers topics such as the warning signs of possible phishing attacks, password safety, and how to secure laptops and devices. Another effective tactic is deploying phishing simulations to help your employees learn to recognize phishing emails. In fact, businesses that send simulated phishing emails to employees once a month can decrease clicks by 27 percent.
In addition, since many people continue to work from home, make sure your employees follow security best practices when working remotely. Ensure that all employees use a VPN on their work devices to secure their connection and protect company data and communications when working from home.
Securing Your Business for 2020 and Beyond
Mid-year planning meetings present an ideal opportunity to make your business operations run even more efficiently. When discussing areas for improvement, be sure to add cybersecurity to your meeting agenda. By covering the topics listed above and taking action where needed, you can help secure your business for the rest of 2020 and beyond.