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Cybercriminals are experiencing heyday. This spring, hackers took down the Mandemakers Group and Bakker Logistics, among others, with spicy consequences. The baker, cheesemonger: anyone can be victimized. This is not surprising, as a large proportion of SMEs do not have their security in order. Time to strike back, and you can do that by creating a cybersecurity checklist. We explain how to make such a list.

The favorite toy of cybercriminals right now is ransomware, in other words, hostage software. Criminals break into your systems, lock things down and don’t release it until a ransom is paid. The amounts are not insignificant and also often in crypto currency, making them difficult to trace. If you become the dupe, not only will it cost you a lot of money, your customer data will be out in the open. So double misery.

Create a cybersecurity checklist

So plenty of reasons to be vigilant and prepared should things go wrong. We went into our organization and came up with the following tips:

  • Develop a cyber incident response plan. This prepares you for the inevitable and helps your team respond before, during and after a cyberattack. This plan should include at least the following:
      • Emergency contact information for key key players such as the IT team and executives who need to be involved;
      • Actions required upon detecting an attack, such as isolating infected devices and removing connections to the network to limit damage;
      • Recovery actions such as ordering which parts of the network to restore first and identifying a clean backup.

    This ensures that you have a consistent recovery plan for all of your customers’ environments in case of an emergency, and you don’t waste valuable time in the event of an attack.

  • Provide good documentation. A well-documented IT environment allows you to work efficiently and effectively, and it doesn’t stop there: documentation can also help you recover important business information in the event of a cyberattack. Good documentation contains all your customers’ information with detailed guidelines for specific operations and recovery processes to be followed in the event of a disaster. This avoids reinventing the wheel when restoring environments.
  • Create a communication plan. During a cyber incident, it is vital that you continue to communicate with your customers. The communication plan tells you who to communicate with and what questions to answer. It also includes the contact information of your incident team, who is authorized to approve messages and on what channels communications are made.
  • Test your customers’ backup. A reliable backup is the key to a successful and fast recovery. Test backups of your clients regularly to make sure they are up-to-date and working. It is also important to have a backup solution that offers features such as immutable storage. This means that your data is fixed, immutable and can never be deleted. Also, having an air gap, or the absence of a direct or indirect connection between a computer and the Internet, is also essential for data protection.

Prevent cyber threats with a few simple steps

In addition to a cybersecurity checklist, there are a number of preventive security measures you can take to ensure that your customers and yourself are protected, such as:

  • Proactive security updates. Ensures customers and their own systems are up-to-date with security patches to eliminate security vulnerabilities.
  • Enable multifactor authentication. This can prevent unauthorized access by cybercriminals to company assets.
  • Audit your access controls. Regular audits of access to company systems to remove inactive users or users no longer with the company can minimize cybersecurity risks.
  • Implement security solutions for all attack areas. This includes e-mail, network, Web applications, Web and antivirus for all devices and users in an organization.
  • Consider upgrading VPNs to Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Zero-trust technology not only provides access control to corporate resources, but also verifies the security status of the device before access is granted, blocking unsecured devices from sensitive applications or data.
  • Teach end users to become aware of security through training. This acts as the last line of defense. Educated users do not click on malicious websites or links, but report suspicious links to the IT department to ensure the threats are removed from the system to prevent damage.

The cyber threat landscape is pretty rotten, and despite all the preventive measures companies are taking, security incidents are almost impossible to prevent. That’s why it’s good to be prepared with a cybersecurity checklist so you can recover quickly when you’re targeted (and not have to pay a euro).