By Founding Principal Amy Anderson
When was the last time you had a great sandwich? Not just any sandwich, but a truly divine sandwich: The right amount of crunch, spices, and condiments. Every flavor balanced and complemented perfectly by the other ingredients. Each bite singing with all your favorite tastes.
Your business’s cybersecurity should be just like that sandwich. You want all of the right ingredients—delicious on their own, but truly successful with the combination of layers. If you’re looking for solutions, choosing from the wealth of options and promises on the menu can feel pretty overwhelming, but there’s no better time to invest in such an essential meal.
Backup and recovery industry leader Sophos reports that 70% of organizations saw a rise in phishing attacks alone since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 (Phishing Insights 2021). This number is only predicted to rise in the coming months, especially after a year of targeted ransomware attacks on the supply chain, healthcare, and other essential markets.
What you don’t want is to be disappointed with your cybersecurity order. Unwrapping a poor-quality, soggy mess will leave your business glaringly unprotected.
So what makes an excellent cybersecurity sandwich? What ingredients do you choose?
It’s All About the Bread
As the foundation of any sandwich, bread determines the structural integrity and overall composition of your meal. If you want a heavy meatball sub, the bread of your sandwich needs to have some heft. If grilled cheese is more your style, your bread has different requirements.
Your IT team, whether in-house or an outsourced managed services provider (MSP), is the crucial foundation to good business cybersecurity. This lineup is responsible for keeping your network running smoothly and helping you decide what other ingredients to use in your cybersecurity sandwich. Many of the small businesses we talk to cite lack of resources and expertise as the biggest hurdle preventing them from implementing a solid cybersecurity plan. Hiring a reliable IT company takes care of both concerns at once.
Many small businesses start with a basic “white bread” cybersecurity plan in the form of non-tailored, break-fix coverage. This approach can get you to a baseline level of safety, but it’s not enough to keep your business safe in the long term. What’s worse, many business owners either don’t get what they pay for or are paying for services they don’t need. Even if you’ve started your cybersecurity sandwich with white bread, it may be time to reconsider and make an upgrade that will support more robust security.
The Meat of IT
Regardless of what you’d prefer on a real sandwich, the meat of your cybersecurity plan should be the same across the board: your people.
Your people aren’t just the VIPs or the techy folks. Any cybersecurity measures you put in place can’t work optimally without a crucial component: proper employee training so that all users recognize ransomware, stop phishing attempts, and learn the tools and best practices at their disposal to keep bad actors out of your network. Some of the biggest vulnerabilities in business cybersecurity stem from user error. The basics of employee education include company password policies, segmenting access to certain data or accounts, regular training sessions about the latest threats, and implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA).
This substantial investment in cybersecurity awareness across your business isn’t complete without a business continuity and disaster recovery plan (BCDR). Ensuring your business can take a hit in the event of a cyberattack and users know their role in recovery goes hand-in-hand with making sure your employees have everything they need to do their jobs safely.
Lettuce Take a Look at Hardware
What’s a sandwich without the toppings? Even minimalists know that a delightful sandwich needs other flavors and textures to reach its full potential. Cybersecurity planning is no different.
Having an MSP alone isn’t enough to be proactive against today’s digital dangers. You need to figure out what physical devices are needed to bolster your defenses. Are the machines you work on each day outdated or out of warranty? How’s your internet performance?
The quality of your cybersecurity sandwich’s toppings makes the difference. Consider your antivirus and anti-malware software. You (hopefully!) have them, but are they enterprise-grade? How about your firewall and other network hardware? And just because you have the right pieces of hardware plugged in doesn’t mean they’re configured to protect the amount data and accounts of your business. Your MSP can help with the answers to these questions, assessing your business’s needs, and implementing changes.
Customize Your Stack
What goes last on a sandwich? The condiments, of course! The right tools serve as the critical condiments that round out your cybersecurity plan, and just like everyone has their own topping preferences, so does each business have individual cybersecurity needs. A cookie-cutter approach—like a lackluster pre-wrapped gas station sandwich—may check some of your boxes, but it won’t be the best fit or provide the best protection for your unique business.
Some businesses will benefit from making cloud services a cornerstone in their cybersecurity plan, using tools like SharePoint or Dropbox to build their infrastructure. Others might want to lead with specialty hardware or software required by their industry. IT experts who know the ins and outs of your business will make sure each part of your cybersecurity plan fits your needs
No matter what sauce is your boss, active monitoring and assessment will keep your condiments in working order. When conducted by experts, an annual network audit helps ensure that your preventative cybersecurity plan won’t expire, identify gaps in hardware or software updates, and determine what data is not backed up properly.
Recipe for Success
How does your cybersecurity sandwich look, and how do you want it to look in the future? Your business deserves a robust recipe for success. A solid cybersecurity plan can feed your business for years, empowering security and innovation for you and your clients.
Have questions about the nutritional value of your cybersecurity sandwich or just hungry for more insights? Contact us for a free consultation.