How to Develop a Cybersecurity Contingency Plan ASAP
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How to Develop a Cybersecurity Contingency Plan ASAP
Ransomware attacks in Australia have increased by nearly 500% since the beginning of the pandemic.
What’s more, cybercrime is on the rise in the country, with 13% more cyber incidents in 2022 than in 2021.
And if you thought only big companies were affected, think again. Research shows that 43% of cyber attacks target small and medium Aussie businesses. That’s because smaller size businesses don’t have the time, resources, and sometimes money to implement adequate cybersecurity preventative measures.
Yet, this could cost them your business!
That’s why developing a cybersecurity contingency plan is so critical. In this post, we’ll review what a cybersecurity contingency plan is and why it is so crucial for small businesses. And we’ll finish up with some best practices to develop an effective contingency plan.
What Is A Cybersecurity Contingency Plan?
A cybersecurity contingency plan is a plan developed to allow companies to manage a cyber risk if the risk ever materialises. It’s the plan B for handling the consequences of the cyber incident after the incident happened if you will.
The plan should help you quickly respond to a cyber incident and implement predefined steps to reduce its impact on your operations. While a cybersecurity mitigation plan highlights steps your company should take to prevent a risk from happening, a cybersecurity contingency plan highlights steps your company should take in case it does happen.
It should be stored in a place that’s easy to access for your employees.
Why Is A Cybersecurity Contingency Plan Important?
Here are three powerful benefits of devising an effective cybersecurity contingency plan.
It Allows For A Quick Incident Response
Because a contingency plan is designed to clearly highlight the key steps you and your employees need to take in the event of a cyberattack, it prevents chaos and confusion. It also allows you to immediately take steps to minimise the incident’s damage. An effective contingency plan will allow you to quickly detect the incident, assess the impact of the damage caused by the attack, and quickly take steps to eradicate the threats and recover from the cyber attack.
It Helps With Disaster Recovery
If your company experiences a loss of data or a loss of access to important systems or networks, your contingency plan will help quickly regain access and restore vital IT functions. This way, you’ll be able to limit the devastating consequences a loss of primary data and access to applications can have on your operations.
It Ensures Business Continuity
Disaster recovery focuses on restoring your critical IT functions. On the other hand, business continuity is designed to help you recover essential business functions. This could include things such as access to your payroll system or supply chain software.
Your contingency plan will highlight the time frame your company should be restoring these key functions before it’s too late. In other words, the plan will list the key steps your company should take to restore important company functions in a reasonable timeframe and prevent the threat from spreading, thus ensuring the survival of your company.
Key Practices To Incorporate Into Your Incident-response Plan
Now that we’ve established the importance of devising an effective cybersecurity contingency plan, let’s review the best contingency plan framework for cyber attacks.
- The first step in creating an effective incident-response plan is to develop a chain of command. This way, employees know exactly what to do in the event of a cyberattack and where to report a cyber incident. This chain of command will vary depending on the teams. For example, if a staff member opened a fraudulent email, they could report it directly to IT.
- A good practice is assigning an executive to manage the response plan. Their role will be to liaise between teams and ensure every single business unit takes the appropriate steps as part of the contingency plan.
- You should develop a plan to be able to quickly quarantine the infected network, system, or device, thus preventing the spread of malware.
- Over 40% of data breaches are caused by employee negligence. That’s why devising and communicating an easy-to-understand response guide is such a good practice. It will let everyone in your company know what to do and what steps to take. Of course, this quick response guide should be concise and digestible to be effective.
- Always keep a backup of essential data. One of the most powerful backup strategies is to use the 3-2-1 rule. Based on this rule, you should have a minimum of 3 copies of your data stored. 2 of them should be kept on different media, and one should be stored in an offsite location. This way, if your data gets hacked, you’ll still be able to carry on your operations.
- If you ever experience a cyber incident, it’s critical that you report it to your insurance company and local authorities as soon as possible. You should also notify security agencies. Note that this is only the case for a data breach that affects your customer data. You’ll find more info on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.
- If you ever experience a data breach, you must inform your customers (and suppliers, if applicable) if the breach resulted in leaked personal or financial information. As a best practice and to limit reputational damage, always offer credit monitoring to help your customers avoid financial harm.
Unfortunately, many companies create cybersecurity contingency plans only to let them sit in a file and never update it or train employees based on the key practices listed in their plans.
So, for your contingency plan to be efficient, make sure to regularly update it, provide easy access to it for the whole company, and make it clear and concise enough that everyone knows what to do if they’re ever exposed to a cyber incident.
Cyber Insurance as Part Of Your Contingency Plan
While having a quick response guide highlighting what to do in case of a cyber incident, nothing beats purchasing cyber insurance when it comes to protecting your business and hard work.
Cyber insurance will help prevent your business from going bankrupt and mitigate reputational damage if you experience a severe data breach.
At upcover, we know that 60% of small businesses never recover from a cyber incident. That’s why we’ve launched cyber insurance designed with the needs of small business owners in mind.
Our cyber security & liability insurance policy covers the following areas:
- Cyber incident response
- Cyber extortion
- Data and application restoration costs
- Cyber crime
- Business interruption
If you want more information on how cyber security insurance can help protect your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to discuss your needs and see how our policy can help get you insured within minutes.
Also, we regularly publish blogs providing tips on improving your cybersecurity, so feel free to check out our blog section for more practical steps to take to prevent cyber incidents from bankrupting your business!