Cybersecurity Best Practices for 2021

24 February, 2021

CYBERSECURITY: It’s not just a good idea

If cybersecurity is part of your strategic plan for 2021, and it should be, then you might want to check out the National Cybersecurity Society (NCSS).

The National Cybersecurity Society is a community of participating technology professionals focused on helping small businesses stay safe online. The NCSS is a non-profit organization that provides cybersecurity education, awareness and advocacy to its small businesses members, specifically cybersecurity education tailored to the needs of the small business owner.

The NCSS assists its small business members in assessing their cybersecurity risk, distributes threat information to members so that they will be more knowledgeable about the threats facing their business, and provides advice on the type of services needed to stay safe online.

You know cybersecurity is important, but where do you start? What organizational assets do you need to protect? Is it only your IT assets? Is it your IP?

The NCSS website provides several helpful guides to get you started on your cybersecurity journey. At the top of the list is simply understanding and identifying what is vital to protect. It starts with employing a Risk Management Methodology. This involves identifying your organizational assets (people, information, technology, facilities) and assigning the responsibility of those assets in order to protect them appropriately.

Once organizational assets are defined, the next step is to define the relationship between those assets and the high-value services they support. This requires a process that examines and validates this relationship through periodic reviews. Lastly, it requires your organization to maintain and sustain an inventory of these assets and high-value services. It’s important to keep this information up to date and modified when circumstances or events change.

STEP 1: INVENTORY

Create an inventory of your people – not just your employees, but your suppliers and partners, the data you need to run your business, the technology assets you need (computers, servers – the entire infrastructure), and the facilities needed to house and operate your business.

STEP 2: HIGH-VALUE SERVICES

Create a list of high-value services that keep your business functioning – logistics, financial, service delivery, assembly, manufacturing. Define what are the key services you need – those services that if lost, delayed or compromised would impact your business.

STEP 3: MAPPING

Create a mapping of people, data, technology and facilities to the high-value services they support. Define the relationship between these assets and the high-value services. Validate the relationship through periodic reviews. As an example, if the supplier for your medical equipment changes, and this supplier has been identified as key personnel, have you updated your mapping relationships? Did you review the contract with the new medical supplier to determine if anything has changed that would affect your service delivery? Leveraging your people to take responsibility for certain high-value services and keeping the critical information current is key to protecting your assets.

STEP 4: INVENTORY PLAN

A plan is only useful if it is kept current and up-to-date. Schedule an annual inventory and mapping exercise to ensure that the protection mechanisms you employ support valid assets. A good rule of thumb: Once a year.

STEP 5: CONTINUITY PLAN

A sound business strategy includes continuity plans. For all your high-value services that depend on critical people, data, technology and facilities, you will need a contingency plan in place in the event any of these assets is compromised. The NCSS also has helpful resources on how to develop a Continuity Plan.

If you’d like to learn more about The NCSS and best practices for cybersecurity for your business, please join ShareVault for our upcoming webinar on cybersecurity. For this webinar we've assembled a panel of cybersecurity experts (including the founder of The National Cybersecurity Society) to discuss the current cyberthreat landscape, the bad actors, and best practices for preventing a devastating breach that could cost your company millions.

The panel includes Mary Ellen Seale, Founder/CEO of NCSS, Peter Levett, Chief of Staff from the cybersecurity firm SecureCircle, and Phil Bandy, ShareVault’s Chief Information Security Officer who formerly provided information security to NASA.

Register for the webinar