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IT Security Strategy: What You Need to Know

Most businesses are critically dependent on the internet. Survival means having a strong IT security strategy in place. The hacking of telecommunications giant Talk Talk in 2015 reminds us that it’s not just smaller businesses that are at risk either.

The Government has taken steps to build a national cybersecurity strategy and this acknowledges that threats can come from many different sources: foreign governments or state sponsored actors, terrorists, hackers, hacktivists concerned about a particular issue, and even insiders, people who work for a company and who have a grievance of some sort.

Protecting your business has never been more important or more challenging. Having the right tools and processes in place is key if you want to stay safe.

How to Develop an IT Security Strategy

The digital landscape has become increasingly complicated over the last couple of decades. Businesses will not only operate online through portals and third-party sites but use tools such as social media to market their services and products. On top of that, they will have key IT requirements within their office environment that need solutions. Many will use remote working and promote collaboration and better communication through cloud-based services.

All this means that there is no clearly defined, one-size-fits-all IT security strategy for modern businesses.

1. Understand What You Have

The first major step to developing the appropriate IT security strategy is defining what you are trying to protect in the first place. Yes, you may have lots of customer and employee data but what about documents relating to your business such as your plan for the future or a new product you are intending to bring onto the market?

To make sense of everything, you need to understand what each asset is and clearly define its value to your business.

2. IT Security Risk Assessment

The next part of the process is to look at the current state of your IT security in relation to these assets and whether it fulfils its purpose. A risk assessment looks at a range of different aspects of your business, including the software you have in place, who has access to data, what they do with it when they are using it, and what protocols other than digital that you have in place to ensure security.

3. Elements of Strong Cybersecurity

The Government has produced a useful infographic (download here) relating to IT security which includes 10 steps all businesses and organisations should be taking:

  1. You need to implement a risk management regime that allows you to regularly review your cybersecurity processes.
  2. You must protect your network from attacks using anti-virus software and other technological solutions.
  3. You need a process in place to educate users and build awareness through activities such as staff training and the production of easy to follow practices (such as having a definitive password policy for your business).
  4. You need to establish anti-malware practices and defences to protect your business like having the appropriate software and educating staff on threats such as phishing emails.
  5. You need to limit or control the use of removable media such as flash sticks which can hold malware.
  6. You need to update your systems when a new patch or update is available and ensure they are configured properly across your whole business.
  7. You should carefully manage user privileges particularly for parts of your network that have access to sensitive data.
  8. Your business should have a process in place for handling any breach incidents or disaster recovery and be able to test these plans. If you lose data for whatever reason, being able to get up and running again may be vital to the survival of your business.
  9. Your business also needs to have in place a system or protocol for monitoring your IT and cybersecurity, producing reports and understanding if you are at risk of attack.
  10. You need to develop a policy for home and mobile working especially if you advocate using BYOD. Your company needs to create a secure baseline for all devices and build this into its cybersecurity activity.

While many businesses will be able to implement some of these measures, it can be challenging to get them all in place. That’s why it’s important to work with an IT and cybersecurity specialist to make sure all the bases are covered.

At Cyan Solutions, we have the teams in place who will be able to help you develop a robust IT security strategy that will safeguard your business now and in the future. Contact us today to find out more.

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