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Though you may know about the importance of cybersecurity at home, are you aware of the dangers that face small to medium businesses? While 50% of small businesses don’t think that they’re targets of cybercrime, 40% of all cyber-attacks that occurred in 2011 were on small to medium sized businesses. Knowing how common it is for small to medium businesses to be affected by cybercrime, it is important to keep your business as secure as possible.

Ensuring your business is cyber safe can seem overwhelming but it can actually be very easy and simple. Businesses of all sizes can ensure they have the protection they need to keep themselves safe. The best way to defend your business against cybercrime is preparation. One way you can prepare your business for a cyber-attack is to establish a cybersecurity plan. A cybersecurity plan is a document specific to your business that outlines the proper and safe way to use technology in a business capacity. You can tailor it to the needs of your business and employees while still providing protection.

Here are some steps to help you create an effective cybersecurity plan that works for your business. You just need to PREPARE in order to keep your business safe from cyber threats:

PINPOINT – Pinpoint the gaps in your cybersecurity. Find out where cybersecurity in your business could be lacking or could be improved. This self-assessment quiz can help you with that!

RECOGNIZE – Recognize business assets that are at stake and determine their value and importance to the business.

EVALUATE – Evaluate cybersecurity threats with other employees or outside experts. Together, determine what can be done to reduce identified risks. The most common cybersecurity threats for small businesses are viruses, worms, Trojans, malware and botnets.

PRIORITIZE – Prioritize these identified risks as high, medium or low.

ASSESS – Assess what can and should be done to improve cybersecurity in the current year. Set attainable target dates for these cybersecurity tasks and security safeguards that your business plans to install for the current year. For instance, you could invest in higher level security software or implement a new data backup policy encouraging employees to back their up data more frequently.

RESOURCES – Identify the resources needed to implement the plan within the first year and examine the obstacles facing these resources. This may include increased funds, time or effort for employees.

EXECUTE – Execute your plan on a daily basis and ensure that all employees understand the importance of maintaining proper cybersecurity while at work. Consider holding regular meetings with employees or do a monthly assessment of the condition of your business’s cybersecurity to ensure it is being implemented correctly.

You should also keep in mind that cybersecurity is an ongoing process. You should perform a threat evaluation once every year and update your cybersecurity plan to fit the changing needs of the business.