Securing your business: A step-by-step guide to developing a cybersecurity strategy

Acronis Cyber Protect
formerly Acronis Cyber Backup

Every business, regardless of its size, should have a cybersecurity strategy in place because no matter how well prepared you are, you can be attacked. And without a strategy in place, you may not be able to recover, which can significantly impact your business. Read on to discover how to develop an effective strategy.

What is a cybersecurity strategy?

Typically developed by the chief information security officer (CISO), a cybersecurity strategy is a set of plans that guarantees business continuity in a world of cyberthreats. It describes how a business will minimize cyber risk, secure its digital assets and maintain resiliency if and when the business suffers a cyberattack. The strategy is a roadmap that is used by the organization’s key stakeholders and should be updated frequently. The strategy should include a “defense in depth” approach and a zero trust model. All businesses should adopt a zero trust model to ensure data security and privacy. Whether they are working remotely or operating inside the corporate network, all users are required to authenticate themselves, prove their authorization, and continuously validate their security to access and use company data and systems.

Benefits of cybersecurity strategy

There are many benefits to having a cybersecurity strategy in place.

Ensure business continuity. Today, it is not a question of if your business will be attacked but rather when it will happen. An effective cybersecurity strategy ensures that if the worst happens, your business will survive.

Protect your systems and data. Proper protection of your endpoints, servers, data, backups, etc. minimizes the risk of data loss and ensures your employees can access the data they need to do their jobs.

Meet compliance regulations. Compliance regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, GLBA and SEC require that any business or organization subject to these regulations must ensure the protection and security of personal and sensitive data.

Protect your customers and inspire trust. Most businesses maintain sensitive customer information and it is the responsibility of every business to ensure this data is protected and secure.

Maintain employee productivity. Downtime caused by a cyberattack means that your employees are sitting around and waiting for company systems to get back up and running. This is why every business must be resilient when it comes to a cyberattack. Less downtime means improved productivity.

Protect your brand. Businesses that have suffered cyberattacks have seen their customers leave for the competition, resulting in significant revenue losses and brand damage.

How do you build an effective cybersecurity strategy?

The following is a high-level view of the steps you must take to build an effective cybersecurity strategy.

Assess the different cyber risks impacting your business

The first step in building an effective cybersecurity strategy is to perform an internal assessment to understand what cyberthreats your business is dealing with today. This includes both external and internal threats ― whether they be malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, etc.

Assess your level of cybersecurity maturity

Then, you need to determine your level of cybersecurity maturity. To do this, you will want to follow the NIST framework. Acronis has developed a security assessment questionnaire based on the NIST framework to assist you with this task. You can use this questionnaire as a type of cheat sheet that includes 50 questions, answers and tips. To help you use the tool, Acronis provides both a full assessment questionnaire and a full assessment questionnaire with answers.

Identify weak points that hackers can target to breach your sensitive business data

Once the assessment is complete, you can then identify the gaps in protection. This includes evaluating the tools and software you are currently using to protect your business from cyberattacks. You must ensure that you use cybersecurity software that can prevent and detect cyberattacks; help you respond to and recover from attacks; and provide the forensics you need to mitigate future risks.

Bear in mind two important requirements as you complete this assessment. First, developing and implementing an effective cybersecurity strategy requires a budget. You will need resources. Second, a cybersecurity strategy can only be effective if it has the support and approval of the executive team.

Finalize and document your strategy

Once you get management approval of the assessment, you must document your strategy to include risk assessments, plans, policies and procedures ― right down to identifying who has responsibility for what and when. Every employee in your organization must understand and support the strategy.

Your strategy must also include a response plan. Regardless of the precautions you take to defend your systems and data, it is inevitable that your business will suffer an attack at some point in time. This response and crisis management plan will bring your business back online fast.

Provide continuous training for your employees and IT team

An important part of any effective cybersecurity strategy is to ensure that all employees are continually trained on the types of cyberthreats they may encounter, so they know what to do and what not to do. Your cybersecurity experts will also need continuous technical training to keep up with increasingly frequent and sophisticated modern-day threats.

Acronis can protect your business from cyberattacks and data loss

Acronis Cyber Protect integrates best-of-breed backup, advanced anti-malware and endpoint protection management into a single solution ― providing unmatched protection, increasing productivity and decreasing your total cost of ownership (TCO). The solution offers one agent, one management interface and one license ― removing complexity and risks associated with non-integrated solutions. The integration of data protection and data security increases reliability and decreases the time required to learn, deploy and maintain solutions.

Acronis Cyber Protect has been awarded for 100% detection rate, 0% false positives, and 100% high performance (VB100, AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives).

About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.