October 07, 2021

5 min

Small Business Cybersecurity Resource Guide

If your organization has experienced a cybersecurity incident, it is critical to take immediate action in order to do as much damage control as much possible. Here are the first five steps you should take.

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CDW provides small business owners with flexible, effective and cost-efficient IT services and solutions to help businesses scale with any audience and in any sector.

Your Business Has Been Impacted by a Cyberincident. Now What?

If your organization has experienced a cyberincident, it is critical to take immediate action in order to do as much damage control as possible. Here are the first five steps you should take:

  1. Step One:  Respond as quickly as possible to the incident.  Hire an external cybersecurity partner such as CDW to investigate and remedy the problem. 
  2. Step Two: Switch to a backup server that is available and undamaged from the attack to protect your critical assets. 
  3. Step Three: Form a response team to address the damage caused by the cyberattack and implement an incident response plan.
  4. Step Four: Determine and allocate some of your IT budget to cover the cost of bringing in cybertechnology experts if you don’t have an in-house IT team.
  5. Step Five: Check your cyberinsurance policy to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage and protection.

The Most Important Questions to Ask a Cybersecurity Partner

To ensure you’re choosing the right cybersecurity partner for your organization, here are the key questions to ask during your initial consultation:

  1. Have you worked with organizations in my industry before?
  2. Do you have references we can contact?
  3. What type of regulations and safety requirements does my business need to comply with?
  4. Who will be performing the security assessment and inspection?
  5. How will you help us keep our employees from exposing sensitive information?
  6. Do we need to worry about the security of the applications, software or cloud-based storage systems we use?
  7. What should we do if something happens to our network?

When hiring external partners, not knowing what questions to ask can be half the battle. Asking these simple seven questions is a great place to start and will allow you to find the best fit for you and your organization’s needs. At CDW, we have nearly 20 years of experience providing security assessments and consultation upon results, as well as designing and implementing strategic security solutions for a range of organizations spanning commercial, government, education and healthcare industries.

Reporting a Cyberincident

Organizations can report cyberincidents through the Government of Canada Centre for Cyber Security website. Reporting a cyberincident helps the cybercentre keep Canada and Canadians safe online, and the information you provide enables the centre to provide cybersecurity advice, guidance and services to other businesses who may be experiencing similar threats or incidents. The site also provides information and guidance for small and medium businesses on ransomware and other cybercrimes, fraud, spam, social media-related issues and online threats related to extremism, terrorism, espionage or serious violence. 

Best Practices for Post-Cyberincident Communication

After a cyberattack has occurred, organizations need to strike a balance between communicating quickly and being wary of over-communicating. Communication should include stakeholder-approved boilerplate-prepared statements that should be relied on – rather than off-the-cuff comments – when communicating both internally and externally about the incident. All communication should be delivered in clear, concise language that avoids overly technical terms and industry jargon. It is also important for all communication to maintain a consistent message to ensure alignment across all stakeholder groups. Take a proactive approach to communication, focus on the positive steps the organization is taking to respond and always reiterate how future incidents will be mitigated moving forward. Most importantly – be sure to keep the promises you make. Finally, maintain a comprehensive communication plan.. 

Educating Employees on Cybersecurity

The biggest line of defense for an organization sits between the keyboard and the chair. It is vital that organizations of all sizes take a proactive, ongoing approach to educating your entire workforce about cybersecurity threats and counter measures before someone or something compromises your systems, data, reputation or even business operations. This includes clearly communicating the potential impact of a cyberincident on your organization and transparency about how each employee has a responsibility to be cybersmart. Hold regular cybersecurity training and refresher sessions, implement policies and rules for email, internet browsing, social media and mobile devices when on the organization’s network. Equip your employees with the training and tools they need to be able to recognize and respond to a cyberthreat before it has time to evolve into an attack.