From The Desk of the CISO

Does A Small Business Need A Cybersecurity Program?

By Rob Ashcraft, CISO at KeyStone Solutions

Digital Gavel on an abstract technological background

I meet with many small businesses who are concerned with the strength of their cyber defenses yet are not convinced they need a comprehensive cybersecurity program. Most are not sure what is involved, how difficult it would be to develop and implement, and especially how it would impact their operations. I would like to take a few minutes to provide some insights on what a cybersecurity program is and the benefits that come from having one. A cybersecurity program starts with a defined cyber strategy to protect your business, employee, and customer data from the evolving cybersecurity threats. The cyber strategy is based on documented policies, controls and processes that are carried out over a timeline and address cyber threats against every aspect of your business. A solid cybersecurity program also includes a comprehensive set of security policies and documented plans for asset management, data management, access control, risk management, vulnerability management, third-party risk management, physical security, incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity.

Although small businesses do not have the resources of larger enterprises, it is still possible to implement a sound cyber program that is cost effective, reasonable, and “right sized” for your business, reducing risks and exhibiting due care in protecting organizational and customer data. The benefits start with the assurance that your organization is properly prepared, has identified and addressed any weaknesses in your cyber defenses, and has a sound strategy in place. A cybersecurity program also instills customer confidence, demonstrating you are a secure business partner. Lastly, should a cyberattack succeed (as no defenses are 100%) you are able to prove your company was not negligent in managing risks and proactively defended your systems and data. Currently, cyber authorities report that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. Threat actors know that small businesses can be particularly vulnerable because they lack cybersecurity resources, often making easier targets. As we are all aware, the cost of damages from a cyberattack can be staggering. However, small business that are properly prepared are far more likely to withstand and reduce the impact of these attacks. Considering these benefits, the answer is, “yes, small businesses need a cybersecurity program.”

The good news is, getting started on developing a cybersecurity program is not as complicated as it may seem. A cybersecurity program can be developed by utilizing guides from authoritative sources such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Another option for many organizations is the use of a cybersecurity services provider that specializes in implementing cyber programs for small businesses. And in case you didn’t know… KeyStone Solutions is a trusted IT and Cybersecurity Provider, with a proven track record of providing cost-effective services to develop, implement, and manage cybersecurity programs for small businesses. Our vCISO service can fast-track this process without overwhelming your staff or negatively impacting operations.