While most large enterprises have recognized the value in taking a proactive approach to security, many smaller organizations may not yet realize that they’re also a target for cybercriminals. As a result, these organizations’ primary security strategy consists of waiting until an incident occurs to react, with minimal to no preventative security measures in place.
This makes small organizations a prime target for cyber criminals, with 43% of cyberattacks targeted at small businesses, according to the Verizon DBIR.
The problem is that this reactive approach often results in severe remediation and forensics costs, as well as substantial brand and reputation damage.
This has a significant effect on any business that is breached, but unlike larger organizations, smaller businesses often have a harder time recovering from the damage caused. Many of these small businesses don’t recover at all, with 60% of small organizations going out of business within six months of suffering a cyberattack.
When you take into consideration the growing frequency of small businesses that are breached and the rising costs of these breaches, it makes sense that taking a proactive approach to security can actually save you money in the long run.
So, what exactly does a proactive cybersecurity strategy consist of?
1. Identifying your greatest vulnerabilities with Security Assessments.
The first step in proactively protecting your organization is understanding what exactly needs protecting. This can be accomplished in a security assessment to understand and identify your greatest weaknesses — before an adversary does.
These assessments could take the form of a Network Security & Architecture Review or a Penetration Test. They are designed to find weaknesses in your security policies, network design, and device configurations and rules.
As an extra benefit, these assessments help you prioritize where to focus your budget. This is a great way to get your executives on board, whose support is critical when gaining budget for other proactive measures.
2. Monitoring your network continuously with a Managed Security Service Provider.
One of the best ways to proactively detect incidents is to have eyes on your network 24/7/365. This can be done through a managed security services provider (MSSP), which will continuously monitor your endpoints and alert you when there is suspicious activity on your network. The MSSP staff will also provide you with detailed recommended remediations so you can strengthen your network and prevent future incidents.
Although the cost of an MSSP may be comparable to hiring an internal employee, the value you receive from an MSSP is far greater than one person can offer. Unlike a single employee, an MSSP offers you varied areas of expertise, access to technology, and around-the-clock coverage.
3. Reducing incidents resulting from human error with Security Awareness Training.
With human error accounting for 27% of cybersecurity incidents (Ponemon Institute), providing your staff with security awareness training is one of the most critical and budget-friendly proactive measures you can take.
This training should include secure password training, phishing campaigns, and secure travel training. Be sure to incorporate this training into the onboarding process and include regular refreshers to ensure your staff is up-to-date and you are fostering a culture of cyber awareness.
By taking the necessary steps to implement proactive security measures, you can save money on costly breaches – and possibly even save your business.