Cyber attacks can cost millions of dollars in their direct impact. A recent cyber attack report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows the United States has been subject to more major attacks than any other country in the world. These 6 steps to prepare your organization for a cyber attack should help you to protect your systems from being attacked whether you are based in the Greater Los Angeles area, New York, New Jersey, or Florida. Let us discuss each step in turn.

1. System and Governance

Everyone in the organization and in each department must understand that cyber attacks are common and that their individual actions can enable or deter an attack. Employees’ understanding and behaviors support the IT department’s general protocols and systems as well as those of the IT security team. Having an attack prevention and response plan is basic; having everyone understand it enough to be proactive as well as responsive is essential.

2. Communication

This follows directly on from Step #1. All concerns must be shared quickly and accurately. Any perceived or actual attack must be communicated immediately with both staff and outside support specialists. Attacks may range from minor to potentially devastating. When individuals and teams know there has been an incident, and how severe it is, they can respond in line with the correct procedures, and so will minimize the attack’s impact.

3. Track and Log

Systems must be monitored, activities and issues should be logged so patterns emerge. Activity which is outside a normal pattern will alert the security team to monitor and, if necessary, to act.

4. Intel

News stories, industry blogs and reports help a security team to stay on top of potential threats. This helps them to monitor actions and patterns of activity. It also enables the team to keep everyone informed so they can stay alert for a potential threat. External intel from the news and blogs, etc. is valuable but it is not the most important source of information. What is happening inside the organization tells the security team more than anything else. Part of governance is having an effective track and log system to deliver the intel.

5. Effective Response

How the security team and then everyone else responds to a threat or to an actual attack is where the rubber meets the road. An effective response includes having the right hardware and software available. Everyone must be trained to use them correctly and in a timely fashion.

6. Measure and Maintain

Having systems in place, providing training, and monitoring activity are all essential. As well as maintaining those elements, there must also be measurement. You must know how many potential incidents appear within the organization and how quickly they are reported. You must also know how quickly the security team responds to an incident and how well the incident is contained. The final measurement is how quickly the problem is solved and how soon everything gets back to normal.

The Takeaway

Cyber attacks and cyber threats are always present. Every organization must have a system to counter, control, and recover from an attack. These 6 steps to prepare your organization for a cyber attack outline a defense, if you would like to learn more, have a security audit or seek advice on what, specifically, your organization should do, please click this link to contact us.

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