What’s your plan for cybersecurity planning?
There aren’t enough qualified cybersecurity professionals in the world for all of the businesses that need to hire one to hire one (hint: that would be every business).
We’ve detailed this cybersecurity hiring gap in a post last year. While efforts are being made to close the gap, the demand for cybersecurity experts continues to exceed supply.
As a small to medium business, what does this mean for you?
You will have a hard time recruiting and retaining top-notch cybersecurity staff.
Since every business is a potential target for cybercriminals and every business has data (customer details, financial information, etc.) of interest to cybercriminals, how do you keep your business’ data secure from cybercriminals without in-house expertise?
Here’s a short list of do’s (and one don’t) to minimize the effects of this talent gap.
DON’T Push the Entire Burden of IT Security on Your Existing IT Team
Your current IT staff is already overburdened. Adding the additional responsibility of planning and executing a cybersecurity strategy could send them over the edge to burnout.
Spend Time Learning About Cybersecurity Issues
Here’s one thing that will kill your cybersecurity efforts: as the company leader, you don’t understand the threats or take them seriously.
We find that many SMB leaders continue to think cybercriminals will somehow skip them. These leaders are gambling with the existence of their business. A ransomware attack can prevent you from accessing your data until the ransom is paid; or forever if the hackers don’t hand over the data even after you pay.
Take the time to educate yourself about the cybersecurity risks to your business.
Understand IT (at Least a Little)
This is an obvious point, but often overlooked by SMB leadership -- within the information technology (IT) profession, there exist a huge spectrum of specific skills and career paths. Assuming an IT professional is going to be able to do everything from strategic planning to firewall implementation to data backup to programming is similar to thinking a doctor is going to be able to perform surgery.
There are specific skills and training required for the various aspects of IT. Don’t assume that your current IT staff, who are already experts in their profession, have the capability or desire to take on a different set of skills.
If your business is large enough and has specific security needs, it can make sense to identify and nurture in-house talent so that person can be your cybersecurity expert with ongoing support and professional training/education.
Work With a Managed IT Company
Rather than wasting time and energy attempting to hire in-house expertise, consider outsourcing your security to an IT managed services provider.
Outsourcing your security infrastructure by allowing a third-party expert to manage your network is:
Provides you access to expertise you don’t have in-house
Will provide access to a “virtual” CIO who will help you develop an overall cybersecurity strategy
And much more
One Final Thought
Even if you were to hire the number 1 security expert in the world and he (or she) would implement the best security software, you would still be at risk.
Employees are people and people do stupid things. Stupid things like -
Holding open a door that requires a badge to open because someone asks “please hold the door!”; allowing just anyone entry into your office building
Clicking on links in emails they shouldn’t -- Nigerian prince emails or those spam friend requests you receive after someone’s account has been hacked
Don’t forget to train your employees in the basics of cybersecurity. They are your first and last line of defense against security breaches.
Following these tips will help you keep your business’ information secure.
Whatever you do, please take your information security seriously.
Much like burglars love unlocked doors and windows; cybercriminals love businesses who don’t take the security of their networks and data seriously.