From the largest multinational conglomerate to the humblest solo practitioner firm, every business faces threats to its security, and should approach them with the same basic steps:
- Threat detection
- Analysis and prioritization
- Neutralizing existing threats
- Creating and implementing an ongoing security plan
Begin by realistically investigating the threats facing your company besides natural marketplace competition. Consider two major factors to frame your security plan:
- Scope – what your plan intends to cover
- Depending on the complexity of your organization and/or the potential threats it faces, a single security plan may cover everything, or may be restricted to a certain department or a particular type of threat, with more plans covering other subject matter.
- Because of the central role that technology plays in most businesses as well as its complex and evolving nature, many businesses write a security plan specifically address IT-related threats, particularly as those threats require specialized expertise for both detection and resolution.
- Inventory – identify exactly what needs to be protected (e.g., locations, equipment, individuals, customer data, intellectual property), and potential threat sources, including:
- physical threats (e.g., theft, fire, natural disaster),
- cyber-threats (e.g., malware, spam, network intrusion, phishing scams, fraud)
- informational threats (e.g., trade secrets theft/leak, customer financial or other private data loss, defamation, unfair competition)
- internal threats (e.g., embezzlement, client solicitation, intellectual property theft)
For each threat, balance at least three factors against each other: the likelihood of occurrence, the impact to your business of such an occurrence, and the cost of prevention. This assessment will help prioritize the risks so you can address them in a meaningful order. Preventative action may include:
- procurement and installation of security equipment such as security cameras, firewalls, malware and virus protection software, content filters, etc.
- making changes to business practices and procedures (such as limiting areas accessible to visitors and having all visitors present identification)
- additional and ongoing staff training, for example on how to handle confidential material
- establishing protocols for sensitive processes with multiple failsafes and checkpoints
Any Operations Management course will stress the importance of quality control to the success of a business process. That principle extends to the ongoing business process of ensuring proper security and risk management. Just as you balanced risk factors to determine priority, quality control entail balancing verification steps and procedures with maintaining optimal efficiency and flexibility.
These kinds of nuanced and context-specific assessments require the attention and knowledge of a dedicated team of experts, such as that of a leading Managed IT Services Provider. A great MSP can offer your business more than just designing and maintaining hardware infrastructure; they can help improve your overall business security, helping you to secure your company’s future. Don’t hesitate to get started.