Whether it's a natural disaster or a planned attack, a contingency plan helps you safeguard your company's interests. If you're ready for production floor emergencies to keep operations running, why wouldn't you do the same to protect your digital assets?
What Is a Cybersecurity Contingency Plan?
A cybersecurity contingency plan is a set of procedures an organization initiates in the event of cyberattacks. It helps guide employees and security teams through a digital crisis using risk management, quick incident response, data recovery and threat analysis. An organization with a solid cybersecurity contingency plan has better chances of thwarting cyberattacks and securing critical resources.
Why Is a Cybersecurity Contingency Plan Important?
Data breaches, distributed denial of service attacks, malicious payloads and other cyberattacks are just a few risks every company — small or big — must prepare for. While the list goes on, a cybersecurity contingency plan can help mitigate these risks. Here's why having a cybersecurity contingency plan is important.
- Save time and resources: Serious data breaches can be costly for any business. Hackers ask for ransom in exchange for restoring services or returning stolen data. Regulatory bodies also issue fines and penalize companies for failing to protect their users' private information. Instead of paying a ransom and scrambling teams to do damage control, you get to pour your resources into developing better business strategies.
- Minimize damage: A cybersecurity contingency plan reduces the chances of bad actors infiltrating your systems and stealing your valuable data. And when they compromise your system, you can minimize the damage using incident response plans. Many cybersecurity defense measures involve backing up data and isolating infected networks or devices.
- Keep operations running: Disruptions from cyberattacks and malicious third parties can be debilitating to any business. Productivity drops and sometimes, entire operations grind to a halt. Creating a cybersecurity contingency plan can help you prepare for such disruptions and keep your operations running to avoid further setbacks and loss of confidence from customers, investors and stakeholders.
- Improve company preparedness and resiliency: Training teams to face cyberattacks helps them stay calm during high-stress events. A cybersecurity contingency plan outlines all possible scenarios and corresponding solutions. Organizations with contingency plans are more resilient and can withstand attacks more effectively than those that don't.
- Quick incident response: Time is everything whenever a cyberattack is involved. The longer bad actors remain inside your system, the more havoc they can wreak. Contingency plans let you respond to threats quickly and efficiently. Your security team can pinpoint attack patterns and use corrective actions to thwart cyberattacks as they happen.
How to Create a Cybersecurity Contingency Plan
Creating a contingency plan for cyberattacks is critical to your organization's growth. Here are several additions you can include in your cybersecurity contingency plans.
Keep Systems Updated
Legacy systems, outdated firewalls and old security programs make it easier for bad actors to infiltrate your company's digital systems. Ensure all of your security measures are up-to-date. Fortifying your primary defenses will improve your chances of thwarting attacks.
Establish a Chain of Command
Your staff must know who to report to in the event of cyberattacks. Delegate an officer in charge of emergencies, like department supervisors or the head of your IT and security teams. Keep communication channels open and train your employees to report any incident quickly.
Train Employees in Cybersecurity Best Practices
Employees are often the weakest link in any organization's cybersecurity measures. Create a cybersecurity culture in your company by training employees to safeguard all company assets and credentials. Every organization member should know how to identify phishing emails and other suspicious payloads.
Stay Up-to-Date With the Latest Threat Intelligence
Bad actors use different attack vectors to infiltrate secure networks. Ensure your security teams are updated with the latest threat intelligence reports so they can identify attack patterns and suspicious activity as quickly as possible.
Backup All Critical Resources
Make data recovery a priority by backing up all critical resources like customer information and business data. Data loss and breaches are an ever-present possibility in today's business landscape. Keeping your resources secure will improve your chances of avoiding heavy losses and steep fines.
Quarantine Infected Devices
Hackers exploit every weakness in their target's network and organizational structure. Vulnerabilities like unsecured devices make it easier for bad actors to compromise a system. Quarantine all infected devices and practice network segmentation to minimize the lateral movement of malicious third parties once they are inside your network.
Cybersecurity Contingency Plan: A Modern Business Necessity
If you're serious about keeping your company safe from digital threats, you should create a cybersecurity contingency plan. It can improve many aspects of your business and show your clients and investors how much you value your commitment.