Why managed cybersecurity is the best option for a growing business

Although many businesses understand the significance of their compliance obligations, data and privacy compliance laws evolve at such a rate that it’s hard to stay ahead. Below, we go over why compliance is so critical to your business and why a managed cybersecurity solution is the best way to support your compliance and cybersecurity needs.  

The importance of compliance

Compliance is critical for many reasons, but for businesses, there are two key considerations – reputation and financial loss. Typically, compliance breaches have serious financial implications. For example, in the healthcare sector, a breach usually costs an average of $150 per record. When we also consider the likely reputation damage caused by a data breach, the overall cost to the business can be far higher. 

In other words, compliance has never been more important. 

How cybersecurity helps you stay compliant

Cybersecurity boosts your compliance in three key ways. 

Data Encryption 

Encryption is a straightforward form of data security that turns a document into a scrambled, unreadable file. It’s only converted back to its original form when a user enters a password. Encryption helps you preserve data confidentiality when you store files or send emails. 

Network monitoring 

If you monitor your network, you can identify and isolate threats and vulnerabilities before they infiltrate your system. This allows you to protect sensitive data, including medical records, from external threats. 

Phishing and ransomware protection

Phishing emails often look just like authentic emails from trusted organizations. Unfortunately, this is how so many employees unwittingly share sensitive information with fraudsters. Up-to-date cybersecurity can help you identify malicious messages and isolate them, which assists with your compliance obligations. 

If like many companies, you’re worried that complying with your regulatory requirements is too much for you to handle in-house, that’s where managed cybersecurity comes in. 

Why managed cybersecurity is the best option for a growing business

The truth is that managed cybersecurity saves you time, resources, and reputation damage. In fact, research shows that companies that deployed security automation technologies experienced around half the cost of a breach ($2.65 million average) compared to those without such technologies ($5.16 million average). Here’s why you should opt for managed cybersecurity services (or MSPs) over-relying on your in-house team. 

Expert knowledge 

MSPs are experienced industry specialists who stay ahead of the changes in compliance and privacy law. They understand your compliance obligations and are dedicated to helping you remain compliant at all times.

Dedicated compliance support

MSPs aren’t just industry experts. They’re available 24/7 to support your unique compliance needs. They can monitor your network security around the clock and remedy any system vulnerabilities before there’s a costly data breach.

Backup facilities 

With the support of an MSP, you can remotely store and password-protect sensitive data, and you can restrict employee access to confidential files. This minimizes the risk of an employee negligently – or maliciously – tampering with important records.

Operational efficiency

Essentially, MSPs take the stress out of compliance. They free up your other employees to focus on running the business while they take care of your legal data protection obligations. As a result, you can concentrate on growing your company.

With an MSP’s support, compliance is one less thing to worry about.  

Reach out today 

As cybersecurity becomes ever more challenging, you need IT specialists on your side. With managed cybersecurity services, you benefit from the constant support of a dedicated IT team that fully understands your unique cybersecurity needs, all while reducing downtime. For more information on managed cybersecurity, contact us. 

How to create a practical cybersecurity framework

Implementing robust data security measures is the only way to ensure your organization is protected against increasingly prevalent cyberattacks and data breaches. Cybersecurity begins with creating an effective security framework.

A cybersecurity framework is a pre-defined set of proven practices that organizations can follow to keep their IT resources and digital assets safe. Think of a cybersecurity framework as a set of guidelines or instructions towards implementing proactive security measures.

In 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government agency involved in promoting innovation and industrial competence, particularly in the tech sector, released the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to help both private and government organizations realize their data security goals.

Implementing NIST’s cybersecurity framework

Compliance with the NIST’s framework is not a legal requirement, but rather a recommendation for businesses and institutions looking to maintain cybersecurity standards and mitigate the risks associated with weak data and network security. The framework has five main functions that encompass all the crucial data protection processes:

  • Identify
  • Protect
  • Detect
  • Respond
  • Recover

The implementation of the NIST security framework follows five distinct steps.

Set your targets and goals

Before thinking about any data security protocols, you first have to figure out the level of security needed in the organization. Upper management and department heads all have to agree on the acceptable level of risk and the security priorities for the various departments. The hardest part is working out what’s relevant for every department, and aligning the security objectives with the available resources.

Create a detailed profile

Every business has unique cybersecurity needs. The framework’s implementation tiers help you determine your cybersecurity requirements and come up with ways of taking your business where it needs to be.

  • Tier 1 – Partial: describes firms with a cybersecurity strategy that is reactive to the prevailing threats
  • Tier 2 – Risk-Informed: refers to organizations that regularly make plans to mitigate identifiable threats
  • Tier 3 – Repeatable: defines companies with repeatable and consistent cybersecurity practices
  • Tier 4 – Adaptive: these are companies with proactive security measures that prevent threats rather than respond to them

Asses your current position

Conduct a thorough risk assessment to determine your data security status. Doing this helps you figure out what works and the crucial areas that need security reinforcement. An effective way of gauging your security position is to have your employees use tools to score your security efforts. Essentially, this step is all about identifying, evaluating, and documenting vulnerabilities and risk factors throughout the organization.

Examine security gaps and identify the action required

Having identified potential threats and their severity, you can then compare the assessment results to the target scores to see how divergent your security efforts are from the intended goals. From there, you can identify the hot zones that require immediate remedies and decide on how to close those gaps efficiently. Remember, different areas usually require different solutions.

Roll out an action plan

Finally, with a comprehensive risk analysis and a set of proposed solutions to seal off security loopholes, it’s time to implement active measures to strengthen your cybersecurity. Implementation of an action plan is a continuous process; you’ll have to assess its effectiveness and continuously adjust some of the practices, especially during the infancy stages.

Why is a cybersecurity framework important?

Apart from NIST, there are other popular cybersecurity frameworks, including ISO’s, and PCI’s frameworks. But they all follow the same fundamental principles; it really doesn’t matter which path you take as long as you arrive at the desired results. The important thing is to make an effort to create a cybersecurity framework in the first place.

A security framework provides the basic building blocks to support your cybersecurity strategy. It forms the structure that determines your digital security performance.

In the current data-dependent business environment, it’s becoming increasingly important with each passing day to develop a proactive approach to data and IT security. Data breaches and other cybercrimes are growing more sophisticated and devastating, further fueling the need for defensive action. On top of all that, both local and international data laws require organizations to implement acceptable data protection systems, not to mention the monetary cost and business loss implications of falling victim to cyberattacks.

A robust cybersecurity framework is an essential part of any modern business handling sensitive or valuable data over digital platforms. If you’re struggling with formulating a security framework, get in touch with us today, our data security professionals will offer you a helping hand.

The 4 step plan to managing employee onboarding and offboarding

When your company scales, you may want to welcome new employees into its fold. While this is certainly an exciting time for your business, it can place your IT team under strain. 

Failing to onboard and offboard your employees appropriately creates an unnecessary number of IT tasks. Fortunately, there are four clear steps you can take to successfully onboard and offboard employees.

Creating accounts ahead of their arrival

Don’t wait until your new employee’s first day to create the accounts they need to function. If you begin tasking IT with account creation on the day of each employee’s arrival, you’re forcing them into a disorganized way of working.

Instead, once your employees pass their usual referencing and security clearances, ask your IT team to create the accounts that are relevant to their role. Produce a generic password that they’ll be prompted to change on their first day. In doing so, you’ll cause fewer headaches for your IT staff and you’ll ensure a smooth transition for your new team member.

Briefing employees on app use and security

Try to find time during your employee’s induction period to brief them on how to use apps. If doing this in person isn’t possible, produce clear and concise manuals that they can use instead. Additionally, make sure you educate new employees on cybersecurity measures during their onboarding

By helping new employees learn how to use apps, you reduce the number of tickets they need to open. Additionally, you prevent them from making mistakes that could cost your company money. Cybersecurity briefings are especially important as human error plays a big role in breaches. Around 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches involve human error, so you can curtail a lot of problems by educating your employees.

Using a password vault

Around 11 percent of people reuse passwords across all accounts and 49 percent reuse them across accounts that aren’t high-risk. Unfortunately, neither behavior is conducive to good security. Therefore, you need to encourage your employees to use a different password for each account. That password shouldn’t be a numerical variation of their usual password, either.

Naturally, this could result in your new employee forgetting their password and opening multiple reset tickets. If you hire lots of new employees, your IT team will soon be snowed under with this simple request. By giving your new hires access to a password vault from day one, you help them stay safe while remaining productive.

Revoking access and when to do it

When the time comes for an employee to go elsewhere, you need to revoke access quickly. Ideally, you’ll do this from the day they leave your organization. Make sure your IT team knows to schedule such tasks as each day of unauthorized access poses a security risk.

In addition to revoking access when an employee leaves a company, review their access if their job role changes. Reviewing access when an employee moves laterally or gets a promotion is a useful way to remain compliant within your industry. By maintaining strict levels of access control, you close some of the loopholes a cybercriminal could use to exploit your systems.

By following these four simple steps, onboarding and offboarding your employees should become easier. In addition to helping your team remain productive, it’s a dependable way to avoid the security breaches that could cost your business a lot of money.

How to regularly assess your data security strategy

Does your data security strategy involve installing antivirus software and then letting it work its magic? If so, you’re inviting big risks to your business.

Cybercriminals work around the clock, and basic antivirus software isn’t enough to stop them. Like all business owners, your organization has unique flaws that attackers can exploit. Because of this, you need to assess your security strategy from time to time. Here are some ways you can do so.

How to assess your data security strategy

How you assess your data security strategy may vary according to the industry you’re in. But if you’re looking for ideas, here are some ways to start:

Run a drill

There are lots of ways you can run a drill to look for different types of breaches. For example, in 2018, phishing attacks grew by 40.9%. Therefore, all businesses could benefit from simulating such attacks with their employees. If they fail your test, it’s a sign that you need to improve your cybersecurity education.

Addressing employee education is important, as human error accounts for 95% of breaches. When you let employee education fall short, you’re leaving your business very vulnerable to attacks. 

Assess password changes

Ideally, your employees will use strong passwords and change them every 90 days. It’s worth analyzing your systems to see how often passwords are being changed. If you’re falling short of the 90-day average, you need to make sure your employees begin making changes more regularly.

Changing passwords regularly doesn’t guarantee that a cybercriminal won’t gain access to your systems. However, it does significantly reduce the risk of them becoming successful. With attackers using increasingly sophisticated techniques to crack passwords, regular changes can make a big difference to your business’s cybersecurity.

Check for software updates

Software updates don’t just exist to make your systems run more smoothly. They’re released by the manufacturer to patch vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit for their own benefit.

Ask your IT team to regularly check for updates. When an update becomes apparent, they need to act on it immediately. You may also want to create contingency plans for when your software is updating. If you’re dependent on certain apps, having an alternative piece of software in place or scheduling the update for outside of office hours minimizes disruption.

Perform regular backups

Can you imagine how your business would operate without its last 24 hours of data? If the consequences would be expensive or disastrous, you need to perform regular backups as a part of your data security strategy.

Ideally, one of your backup sources will be at an offsite location. This ensures you’re protected against natural disasters, as well as hackers.

Signs you need to perform an assessment

If you already feel as though you’re doing a lot to protect your data, it’s hard to know whether an assessment is necessary. But if you’re encountering any of the following, an assessment is definitely required;

  • Your employees routinely make the same cybersecurity mistakes, which indicates they need more education.
  • You regularly receive urgent warnings about not updating or renewing your software.
  • It’s been a while since you last backed up your data.
  • There’s a chance you’re not compliant with your industry’s guidelines.
  • You rely on basic antivirus and antimalware software to protect your business.

By putting more effort into assessing your data security strategy, you can close the loopholes cybercriminals may use to attack your system. As a result, you’ll protect your reputation and your bottom line.

Investing in a solid data security plan can save you time and money

Cybercriminals operate around the clock, and in many cases their efforts are successful. You only need to look at the rising number of data security breaches to understand how true this is. At present, the cybercrime economy is worth an astonishing $1.9-trillion, and it is organizations such as yours who are footing the bill.

One way to prevent your business from lining a cybercriminal’s pocket is to invest in a solid data security plan. If you’re still not convinced, it’s time to learn more about how a data security plan can save you time and money.

Timely responses to threats

On average, it takes 50 days for a security breach to be discovered. Depending on the nature of the breach, each day that goes by could cost you a significant amount of money. And, there’s a chance it’ll waste a lot of your time too. The longer a breach remains unaddressed, the more work you’ll have to do to secure your systems and pacify key stakeholders. 

Using ongoing threat intelligence is one way to speed up the discovery of breaches. Ideally, no breaches will happen at all. Well, threat intelligence proves useful there too. It analyzes patterns of risk to strengthen your security and make it harder for cybercriminals to be successful.

A better understanding of your data

Information security plans (ISPs) include an ongoing assessment of your data. They look at the categories of data you’re collecting and how it’s used. This can include everything from insider information to employee and customer data.

The financial ramifications associated with ongoing data loss can vary according to each category. With your ISP, you can plan for losses according to different categories and form a disaster response accordingly. With a well-researched disaster recovery plan, balancing the financial repercussions of data breaches becomes easier and the accuracy you gain could help your business remain solvent.

Avoiding significant fines

Data breaches result in financial losses in various ways. One of those ways is the fines you attract if you’re not compliant. Staying compliant with your industry’s guidelines protects data and guards your company in the event of a loss. Without a solid data security plan, you may lack the research that’s needed to maintain compliance.

A great data security plan will always consider industry compliance. Although this prevents all financial losses in the event of a breach, it can prevent a fine that could ruin your organization. Additionally, it will protect your reputation, which can make a big difference when securing ongoing business.

Preventing costly downtime

When someone acts to eliminate your data, the time you spend recovering can become fatal. If your security plan doesn’t include timely backups, you’ll find yourself reproducing a significant amount of work. Consider whether losing even 24 hours of data is likely to harm your company. That means losing 24 hours’ worth of revenue and progress.

With excellent data backup plans, you can avoid costly downtime. As a result, any losses you experience will cost your company less.

Using a solid data security plan, you can reduce downtime, prevent loss of productivity, and save money. Now, all you need to do is create a plan that achieves all that.

Determining if your data protection plan needs a facelift

The data that a business holds is central to its operation. Data encompasses all information, from customer files and account folders to business applications and client information.  It’s imperative, then, that organizations of all shapes and sizes have a plan in place to protect that data in the event of a disaster, accident, cyberattack, or power outage. On top of that, you need to review your data protection plan to keep it relevant, up-to-date, and fit for purpose. Here’s what you need to know about data protection strategies and how to tell when it’s time to review them.

What is a data protection plan? 

Data protection strategies encompass data availability and data management. In other words, it’s the means by which a business stores, backs-up, moves, and protects its data and makes it available to relevant personnel in order to comply with the law. 

Data privacy laws and regulations vary from country to country and even from state to state. Not being compliant can mean steep fines and other penalties and could even mean that you have to stop doing business in the country or region in which the law or regulation is breached. 

A data protection plan will ensure that:

  • No data is lost in the event of a disaster, accident, or cyberattack
  • Data is protected from corruption, compromise, manipulation, malware, and loss.
  • Data can be restored quickly in the event of any damage, corruption, or loss. 
  • Data is available to users at all times, whatever the circumstances. 
  • Data is kept private and can only be accessed by authorized personnel. 

A data protection plan is essential to secure compliance with the law, safeguard information and records, and save a business from downtime and lost productivity that could prove disastrous. 

Do you need one?

CNBC.com reported that 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster.  

When hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or fires destroy customer records, invoices, contracts, tax returns, insurance policies, and so on, they lose customers, and the damage is irreparable.

Despite this, The Global State of Information Security Survey 2018 (GSISS) found that 33 percent of respondents do not have an IoT security strategy in place. Tech & Innovation reports that many organizations do not have sufficient plans in place to protect their data. Forty-four percent of respondents did not have an overall information security strategy, 48 percent did not have a security awareness training program for their employees, and 54 percent do not have an incident-response process in place. 

Determining if it’s time to update your data protection plan 

How often you update your data protection plan will depend on the nature of your business, the data that you hold, how many people have access to it, and the means by which they access and use it, both inside and outside the work environment. For example, you might need to review your data protection plan with staff changes and when new devices, such as laptops, are obtained. 

For data that must be kept private, you need to maintain strict control over who can access your data. A breach of privacy can lead to data security issues. Your employees must be fully trained in the nuances of data privacy and security to avoid any violations, and you need to keep firm control of BYOD devices and devices used outside the office environment. 

Remember to review: 

  • The security of passwords
  • The reporting of violations
  • Where rules are posted and who can and should read them
  • How data, files, paperwork, and printouts are destroyed when they are no longer needed 
  • How data is transmitted and shared between staff 

Also, assess whether you are you using your data in the most effective way for reporting, analytics, test and development enablement, and other purposes. If you’d like to know more about data protection plans or our suite of services for businesses in the New York Tri-State area, please get in touch with us.

5 Ways to Protect Your Data When Sharing It

To increase workplace flexibility and mobilize their workforce, many businesses are embracing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model. However, while BYOD policies help to increase employee efficiency, they also come with unique security risks. 

Below, we’re summarizing what you need to know about BYOD and data security, and we’re sharing our top five tips for keeping data safe on the go.  

Why keeping your data secure online is so important

No matter what industry you operate in, your business is vulnerable to cyberattacks. 43% of hacking attempts are aimed at small businesses, and mobile devices are especially susceptible because they often lack the security measures found on desktop devices.

Moreover, hackers are deliberately targeting mobile devices to exploit this vulnerability. Reports show that malware attacks against Android devices have increased by over 76%, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. 

Worryingly, although there’s an uptake in the number of SMBs adopting BYOD, many are still unprepared for detecting and handling security breaches. In fact, statistics show that only 48% of businesses can detect a breach or security weakness on their mobile devices. 

So, what can businesses do to keep their mobile devices safe and ensure that their employees can still share information online?  

Five ways to keep data secure on the go  

Although there are many ways to protect your online data and mobile devices, here’s a rundown of our top five suggestions. 

Two-factor authentication 

With two-factor authentication, a user must provide a password and one other method of identification before they can access the data or the device. This protects the data if hackers get hold of the password. 

An example of two-factor authentication would be answering a security question. 

Backup data

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful you are. Data breaches can still happen. Back your data up so you can still access it if a hacker manages to corrupt or delete the original records. 

For example, you can backup data on an external server, a portable device, or the cloud. 

Use only trusted networks 

Never connect to an unsecured network. With unprotected networks, it’s possible for a “middleman” to intercept your device and harvest the information you share online. Secured networks, on the other hand, protect you from unwittingly sharing this information with cybercriminals.  

Encryption

Make use of encryption technology. Encryption “scrambles” data so that it can’t be read without an access key. This key could be, for example, a fingerprint. Use encryption tools on all mobile devices, and encrypt laptop hard drives so thieves can’t read the data if they steal the device. 

Stay educated

Mobile threats are evolving all the time, and criminals are constantly finding new ways to read and intercept the data you share online. Stay on top of emerging threats by educating yourself and your staff, and seek the advice of managed service providers for the most up-to-date advice. 

And remember, always stay vigilant. Lock your devices when you’re not using them, and don’t let anyone read your screen if you’re working remotely. 

Conclusion

As the modern workplace continues to evolve towards remote working and cloud-based collaboration, devising a solid data security strategy has never been more important. To find out more about BYOD policies, the cloud, and data security planning, contact us today.

What Data Security Means for Your Business Now and in the Future

The reality is, cyber crime is one of the fastest-growing criminal threats affecting businesses across the US. What does this mean? It’s simple. A failure to properly secure your sensitive company and customer data puts your entire business’ operations in jeopardy. Here’s a closer look at why data security is so vital to every business, and some tips on how to defend your company against this evolving threat.  

Why data security so important to your business 

Cyber crime doesn’t just affect large companies or international corporations. Hackers targets small and medium-sized businesses, too. In fact, recent reports show that around 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at SMBs, and these attacks are costing small businesses around $200,000 a year. 

Alarmingly, however, only 14% of SMBs are properly prepared to defend themselves against cyber attacks. In short, this means that your business may be extremely vulnerable to data loss or corruption. 

The current threat landscape

While there are many cyber threats to watch out for, there are a few that affect SMBs in particular. Let’s take a look at the threats most likely to affect your business in 2020 and beyond.

Email

One of the most common ways for hackers to attack SMBs is through email. A 2019 report showed that 1 in 323 emails to SMBs are malicious and aimed at either corrupting data or harvesting information. 

Employee Negligence

Too often, employees and contractors accidentally cause data breaches. This may be through a lack of training or simple negligence; for example, an employee leaking a password. A 2018 report revealed that employee negligence accounts for over 60% of SMB data breaches

Ransomware

Ransomware is a huge problem for businesses. Ransomware programs either threaten to leak data or they prohibit access to files until a company pays a ransom. A 2019 annual cyber crime report estimates that, by 2021, a business will suffer a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.

How to effectively prepare your company for the future 

The simple truth is that data security issues cause downtime which in turn costs your business time, money, and resources. In some cases, this will be enough to cause your company to fail. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent your business from falling prey to a data security breach. 

Train your staff 

Preserving data security within a business is a team effort. Ensure your employees know how to spot a malicious email, and help them choose strong, robust passwords that they change regularly. 

Budget for IT

While protecting company data may feel like an unnecessary cost, it’s crucial that you allocate sufficient resources to cybersecurity in your IT budget. Given that SMBs invest on average less than $500 per year in security products, it’s unsurprising that they’re prime targets for hackers. Don’t become a statistic. Invest in cybersecurity.

Outsource your data security needs

The easiest way to protect your company data from hackers is to employ expert assistance. Managed service providers and IT specialists don’t just understand cyber crime – they understand specifically how evolving cyber threats affect your specific business. This support is invaluable in an increasingly threatening landscape.

Conclusion

The future of business is digital, which means it has never been more important for companies to think about their cybersecurity strategies. For more information on how cybersecurity or data security affects your business, contact us now. 

How a Business Continuity Plan Saved the Day for These Companies

For some companies, downtime or natural disasters spell the end of their operations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, we take a look at some business continuity successes, and what other companies can learn from their stories.

What is business continuity planning?

Also referred to as contingency planning, business continuity planning is all about a company’s ability to bounce back after an incident causes downtime. In other words, it’s how well a business adapts to changing circumstances beyond its control. 

Business continuity planning is important because recovering from downtime is a costly endeavor. In fact, up to 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after downtime, whether as a result of natural disasters, employee error, or cyber crime, because the costs are simply too high to recover from. 

How, then, do successful businesses rise above these challenges and stay operational? Let’s take a look at some examples.

Business continuity planning saved these companies

In no particular order, here are three companies that credit business continuity planning with saving their operations. 

1. Cupcake Kitchen

Houston-based bakery Cupcake Kitchen lost access to its premises for around three weeks after a hurricane caused severe water damage. The company lost multiple appliances and perishable goods to a total loss of around $30,000.00. 

The owner actively kept her customers notified on social media about what was happening and the steps she was taking to get the bakery up and running again. A few months later, revenue returned to 80 percent of pre-hurricane levels. 

The key point here is that, as a local business, the owner found a way to connect to her clients and ensure they understood that the kitchen would open again. She turned an obstacle–picking a new location for her bakery–into an opportunity, which is a hallmark of a great contingency planning strategy. 

2. Georgia Power

Georgia Power, a major electricity supplier, lost a transformer to fire damage back in 2017. In response, Georgia Power aligned with a tech company to upgrade its transformer testing capabilities. 

The transformers now have sensors that record dissolved levels and instantly alert engineers if the levels exceed a safe amount. What’s more, the transformers generate gas readings at far more frequent intervals than before. 

What does this tell us? Well, Georgia Power instantly reacted to the crisis and took steps to prevent a similar incident from arising in the future. They learned from the failure and moved the company forward as a result. 

3. Gaille Media 

In 2017, Gaille Media, a small online marketing agency, lost its entire office space to hurricane damage. No one could enter the building for three months, and it wasn’t possible to salvage any hardware from inside. 

What happened? Surprisingly, it was business as usual at Gaille Media. The agency continued operating because it kept its business data, and all its backups, in the cloud. Employees worked remotely and provided their usual service to clients. The office didn’t reopen and the employees all now work remotely. 

The key takeaway is that Gaille Media had an effective contingency plan in place before disaster struck. They understood their core business processes and ensured that, whatever happened to their physical office space, they could access the data they needed to run their day-to-day operations. This is a great example of a truly proactive business continuity plan.

Conclusion

The good news is that it’s possible to keep your company afloat and active even when disaster strikes. As you can see from these company success stories, all it takes is some careful business continuity planning. For more information on business continuity planning and how the right strategy can save your company, contact us today.

6 Goals You Should Have in Mind When Creating Your BCP

Are you prepared for the unexpected? Can you recover from an incident and be back online with minimal downtime? Without a complete business continuity plan, it will be hard to achieve this. 

Business continuity is really about what happens after the disaster or incident—it relates to the key steps you’ll take to deal with the impact of such an event. It has many aspects, including communication, getting critical business processes back online, and providing customers with a means to contact you.

There are many reasons why you need a business continuity plan. Downtime is costly. Disruption to business can have a lingering effect that may take considerable time to recover from.

“Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a whole — with a goal to support business resilience.” – Small Business Trends

But when you begin the process of creating a business continuity plan, what should your goals be? And how can you improve your strategy?

Goal one: document it

First, your business continuity plan should be documented. It seems easy enough, but many companies miss this step. So, consider this your first goal, which you don’t have to craft on your own. Partner with your managed IT services provider for guidance.

By documenting the process, everyone understands their role and responsibilities. There is a procedure to follow that takes into account all the mission-critical systems and how to best resume business as usual.

Goal two: identify roles

Determining who will be responsible for recovery internally, or how you’ll work with your third-party IT provider, is another vital objective. Document everyone’s individual role and, most importantly, how they can be reached in the event of an emergency.

Goal three: risk and impact assessment

A key part of a business continuity plan is a risk assessment or network audit to understand what threats are most likely to disrupt business. 

Consider how different types of events can hinder your business, and if different steps need to be made depending on the nature of the disruption. For example, dealing with a data breach due to malware and a power outage from a storm both need a recovery plan, but each plan will be different.

Goal four: determine the tools you need to recover quickly

Many of the tools you need for business continuity relate to off-site backups or other means to ensure that your data is secure. Redundancy features are also necessary, as are things like generators. But what about using technology in a different way, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is becoming an important aspect of business continuity. There are several ways AI can impact business continuity. Those include predictive analytics and automation functionality.

Goal five: identify your critical data and assets

A business continuity plan should clearly identify where your critical data and assets reside. By documenting this, it’s much easier for recovery teams to act. This part of your plan should allow anyone to move forward with recovery efforts, should you or another team leader be unavailable.

Goal six: outline preventative measures

Determine what preventative measures your company is taking to prevent downtime. Much of the time, this includes advanced monitoring of your network for threats. It may also involve things like policies and protocols that you take every day to maintain security, both virtually and physically.

Focusing on these six goals can substantially strengthen your business continuity plan. If you have questions about augmenting your current plan or building a new one, we’re happy to help. 

Connect with us today to learn more.