- On March 27, 2023
- by: Joe Rudolph
- 8 minutes Read
No business is too small – or too big – to become a target for cybercriminals and find themselves in need of remediation in cybersecurity. In fact, hackers might even target small and medium-sized businesses because their approach to cybersecurity risk is more likely to be incomplete or outdated.
“Hackers are getting smarter and more creative about how they get into networks and inflict damage. The old ways of protecting data and infrastructure – antivirus, annual cybersecurity training for employees, reactive fixes – aren’t cutting it for a lot of organizations now.”
- Ceeva Vice PresidentRick Topping
Even if your network is secure, did you know that93% of company networks can be penetrated? That means it’s not a matter of if your company will become a target, but when it will happen and how you’ll respond when it does.
In this article, we will discuss a simple three-step process for developing and implementing an effective remediation cybersecurity plan, starting with performing acybersecurity risk assessment. By understanding your vulnerabilities, you can create a cybersecurity plan that will protect your business, employees, and customers.
What is Remediation within Cybersecurity?
Remediating cybersecurity threats refers to the collective activities that aim to identify, neutralize, and restore compromised data resulting from a cybersecurity incident. This proactive IT strategy is more than just a buzzword. A remediation plan usually comes from a cybersecurityassessment, which is a structured approach that scores consistency, minimizing the mistakes or missed steps that could leave your company’s sensitive information vulnerable.
Keep up with the latest IT trends in this article: “What are Upcoming Managed IT Services Trends in 2023?”
Why is remediating cybersecurity risk necessary? In the aftermath of a cybersecurity incident, routine IT procedures can quickly be disrupted by the ensuing chaos. Panic can spread across your organization as you collect information and assess the situation. When your team discovers a threat – meaning any attempt to infiltrate your company’s systems with the intent of leveraging your operational data – you're no longer operating under normal circumstances.
In other words, it’s crucial to plan your cybersecurity strategy ahead of time, so that when an attack occurs, your team knows the best practices and what to do. In the next section, we’ll break down a simple three-step process for developing and implementing an effective remediation-based cybersecurity plan.
Step #1: Perform a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
To develop the most effective plan for your business, it’s important to start with a cybersecurity riskassessment. This assessment helps you to comb through your existing technology infrastructure, processes, and procedures in order to identify potential vulnerabilities.
To start your assessment, conduct a detailed audit of your existing technology environment including your systems, processes, and procedures. Evaluate each area against a rating system to determine what’s working well and what needs your attention.
Important areas to include in your assessment are:
- Regulatory Compliance
- Firewall Integrity
- Software Performance
- Access Points & Authorized Users
- Security Measures for Wireless Networks
- Sensitive Data Storage & Backups
- Event Documentation
- Hardware Features & Performance
- Backup Procedures
- Business Continuity Plans
The goal of this risk assessment is to develop a comprehensive inventory of your assets, identify vulnerabilities, and prioritize remediation activities. Enacting this risk mitigation process can also help you lower yourcybersecurity insurance premiums.
Insurance carriers commonly perform a risk assessment of your company before offering cyber insurance. They evaluate technology, protocols, and procedures to determine the risk and appropriate premiums. The assessment provides a checklist to identify vulnerable areas and suggests measures to reduce risks. By securing exposed systems and procedures, your business can prevent breaches and lower insurance premiums.
Step #2: Use Assessment Results to Create a Remediation Cybersecurity Plan
Now that you know where your organization is starting from, you can begin to conceptualize your ideal cybersecurity environment. The difference between where you are and where you want to be provides a framework for creating a remediation cybersecurity plan to get you there.
Identification is the first step in this process. Translate your vulnerabilities into your remediation plan, addressing all the necessary steps based on your current technology environment. Your initial assessment provides a good starting point as a centralized source of data.
However, it's important to note that identification and threat monitoring are ongoing processes, not one-time activities. You should continuously monitor for changes and new threats. The good news is that with the right tools, essential monitoring can be automated, making it more effective.
Take a moment to assess your monitoring capabilities and ensure that you are covering all the bases. By doing so, you can stay on top of emerging threats and vulnerabilities, reducing your risk exposure over time.
After conducting your assessment and identification activities, you will likely discover a substantial number of threats to your organization's cybersecurity. This may become overwhelming without a proper plan in place, in fact, organizations makecybersecurity mistakes without knowing it.
Your remediation plan should include a prioritization schedule that identifies the critical activities that you need to address first. Prioritization shouldn’t be a decision that’s solely left up to the IT department. All key stakeholders should be involved in making big-picture decisions. Additionally, each threat should be considered based on its potential impact across the organization.
Here are a few key questions to ask:
- Does the threat pose operational risks? Could it directly disrupt the company’s ability to deliver products or services in the short term?
- Does the threat pose a risk to hardware or software? Could it disable technology systems that impact operations, sales, or customer service?
- Does the threat pose a financial risk? Could the data be leveraged to exploit financial gain?
- Does the threat pose a compliance risk? Could the organization face legal or regulatory compliance failures?
To figure out which threats to deal with first, it's important to understand how urgent and important they are to the organization as a whole. The IT department can assign a priority score to each vulnerability based on this information, but it's also important to get input from other leaders in the company like operations managers, sales or service managers, and executive-level leadership. By working together, the organization as a whole can make informed decisions and tackle the most pressing issues first.
Acceptable Risk Thresholds
Another key aspect of developing a remediation cybersecurity plan is identifying acceptable risk thresholds. As our exposure to technology increases, so does the volume of threats that must be remediated. According toMcKinsey & Company, many organizations are moving away from a maturity-based cybersecurity model towards a risk-based cybersecurity model in order to balance inputs with outputs – keeping cybersecurity cost-effective.
What is an acceptable risk in cybersecurity? Risk tolerance is unique to the organization. There should always be a dollar amount identified by executive leadership that quantifies the level of risk that the organization is willing to take. In plain language: How much money are you willing to lose before aggressive action is warranted? This number could be $1,000 or more, depending on the size of your company and your tolerance for risk.
Roles and Responsibilities
Finally, your remediation cybersecurity plan must include the identification of key roles and responsibilities. In other words, who will be responsible for completing the activities laid out in this plan, and how often do these activities need to be completed?
Collectively, this plan will enable your organization to take a proactive approach to important remediation efforts that strengthen your overall approach to cybersecurity. The only thing left to do is follow through with a strong implementation.
Step #3: Implement & Follow Through
Putting your cybersecurity plan into action is the final step to ensuring your organization is protected. Once you've identified tasks, priorities, and responsibilities, it's time to create a monitoring and remediation schedule for your IT team (orIT MSP solution partner) to follow.
Take a moment to reassess your IT operational needs, including key activities and how these changes impact daily, weekly, and quarterly workloads. Assess your staffing levels and the division of responsibilities to ensure that your remediation cybersecurity plan gets adopted.
The key to successful implementation and follow-through is to work with your IT department ormanaged IT service partner to adjust workloads and update task scheduling.
Creating a Remediation Plan for Cybersecurity Risk is Vital
Whileproactive computer security measures like updating hardware and firewalls are crucial, it's equally important to have a solid plan in place for reactive measures. As our exposure to technology continues to increase, comprehensivecybersecurity awareness training and strategy becomes even more vital in protecting your organization.
By identifying vulnerabilities, understandinghow cybersecurity works, prioritizing threats, and implementing a plan of action, you can ensure that you're covering all your bases and taking the necessary steps to keep your organization secure.
Looking for a trusted partner to manage your cybersecurity? As a leading provider of managed IT services, Ceeva can help you conduct a thorough IT assessment, develop a comprehensive remediation cybersecurity plan, and put it into action. With our expert guidance, you can scale your IT services and keep your business secure.
Learn more about our Ceeva Shield offering to protect your organization from cybersecurity threats and manage your cyber liability premiums!
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