By Zachary Amos, Features Editor at ReHack
Business continuity planning is essential for companies today. Ideally, a business will never experience an emergency, but it’s best to plan to mitigate disruption than to not know what to do when it happens. Cybersecurity should be part of that plan.
With cybercrime costing more than natural disasters, cybersecurity issues will likely cause most emergencies requiring businesses to have continuity plans. Even if they don’t, companies need to ensure unforeseen events don’t disrupt their cybersecurity, given the high costs of cybercrime.
Given these risks, here are five essential considerations for cybersecurity in business continuity.
Data is the world’s most valuable resource, so every business continuity plan should protect companies’ data. That means having up-to-date, secure backups of all mission-critical information and systems. These backups ensure businesses can keep operating despite their main systems going down and help lower the costs of a breach.
Businesses should review their data to see what they need in an emergency. They don’t need backups of everything but should ensure redundancy for anything mission-critical. It’s a good idea to keep both online and offline versions of these backups to make them accessible, and businesses should also encrypt them to keep them secure.
2. Remote Work Security
Disruptions often mean at least some people can’t come to the office to work. In light of that, business continuity plans should include resources and plans for ensuring remote work security. Securing remote teams carries a different set of challenges and requirements than in-office security, so it deserves attention.
Businesses may want to use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt remote workers’ internet activity. They’ll also need reliable, secure ways to verify remote access to sensitive data, including multi-factor authentication (MFA).
These resources and policies can also help when workers don’t have to go remote but on-premises devices go down. Remote work security overlaps with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, so this step applies to many situations.
3. Communication Channels
Maintaining clear, quick communication is crucial in a crisis. IT workers need to be able to inform others of developing cybersecurity concerns and vice versa. Leaders need ways to remind employees of new steps and policies to ensure everyone does what they should. This communication should be fast, flexible, and easy to understand.
Video is often the ideal communication channel. It makes dense information easier to digest, engages all involved parties, and is instant. When video chatting isn’t possible, encrypted instant messaging apps are a good second choice. Businesses should remember to have backup communication apps just as they have data backups.
4. Limiting Lateral Movement
Part of business continuity is resolving the issue as quickly as possible. In cybersecurity events, that means stopping an attacker from moving throughout the network and limiting the data and systems they can access. The faster teams can contain the breach, the faster they can get back to normal.
The best way to stop lateral movement is to keep different parts of the network separate from the beginning. Network segmentation runs different devices on different networks, minimizing what a user can access if they get into one system.
This segmentation can pair with strong identification controls to form a zero-trust security system. Zero-trust models give each user and device only as much access as they need, then they verify their identity before granting them that access. Studies show this can decrease data breach costs by $1.76 million on average.
Figuring out how to adapt cybersecurity measures amid a disruption is challenging. Since these situations are also time-sensitive, businesses should take advantage of security automation. Automated programs can help find issues faster, manage everyday security tasks while workers focus on other things, and institute changes across the network.
Already, IT teams at 52% of companies spend too much time on data collection. That can be a problem when an emergency demands their immediate attention. Automation can handle these repetitive, less critical tasks, and free IT staff to focus on more important cybersecurity changes.
Cybersecurity Is a Critical Part of Business Continuity
Cybersecurity is essential to running a business today, so it should play a central role in business continuity. These five steps will help organizations ensure they stay secure when an emergency occurs. They can then respond to issues faster and with confidence, minimizing losses and getting back to normal faster.
As the Features Editor at ReHack, Zac Amos writes about cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and other tech topics. He is a frequent contributor to Brilliance Security Magazine.