Cyber security is important, but for a busy practice like yours, it may be hard to focus on. Perhaps you worry it will take too much time or money, or you feel a topic like cyber security is best left to the experts. But, taking control of your cyber security is easier, cheaper and quicker than you may think.
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, a time when everyone is encouraged to learn about digital security and take simple steps to protect themselves and their businesses online. However, improving cyber security at your practice can be beneficial anytime of the year, and it can be as simple as taking a few steps over one month’s time.
Improve Cyber Security: Week 1 – Inventory
At your practice, you understand the importance of taking an inventory. It gives important information that helps you make better business decisions. The same is true for cyber security–you need to know what you have in order to protect it.
In your first week, focus on taking an inventory of all your digital systems. Answer questions like:
- How many computers and devices do you have?
- What apps and software does your practice use?
- Are systems and software lacking any updates?
- Are all your passwords secure and up to date?
- What access privileges do staff members have?
- What protections do you already have in place?
Taking an inventory will tell you where you are already doing well and where you have vulnerabilities that could benefit from improvement.
Improve Cyber Security: Week 2 – Housekeeping
Good cyber security doesn’t have to be difficult. While the technology can be complex, it’s simple cyber housekeeping that helps keep your practice’s data safe and secure.
Spend your second week focusing on some key housekeeping tasks to improve your protection. First and foremost, take care of any vulnerabilities you identified last week:
- Perform recommended update and patch maintenance to your systems and software.
- Update any passwords that are weak, old or otherwise compromise your security.
- Turn on beneficial security protections you already have, like spam filtering, firewall protection and multifactor authentication.
If you’re not sure about whether or how to update your system, or how to turn on and use your software’s security features, get help from your local IT expert or contact the product’s customer support.
Improve Cyber Security: Week 3 – Planning
At your practice, you are probably well aware of the importance of advanced planning and development of emergency procedures. They can be crucial for responding quickly and appropriately if there is a fire, an injury or a robbery. Having a plan is also key for making sure you stay a few steps ahead of cyber criminals.
For your third week, focus on creating a cyber response plan. Some key steps are to:
- Conduct a risk assessment.
- Identify cyber vulnerabilities.
- Define conditions for action.
- Develop a detection plan.
- Plan an incident response.
- Draft communication templates.
- Create an event log template.
A formal plan can make an important difference in a cyber incident. It helps you identify and respond to problems quickly while taking the right steps in situations where the wrong steps can often magnify the problem and its cost.
Improve Cyber Security: Week 4 – Training
Just as your team is crucial for managing risks in other areas of your practice, they play a big role in the cyber security of your practice. It’s important to include everyone in making your practice safer online.
Spend your last week of the month focused on employee training.
- Train employees on the dangers of cyber attacks and the importance of cyber security.
- Teach team members how to use newly acquired or activated security features.
- Provide your staff with information on common scams like email phishing and malware.
- Organize drills to teach the team how to follow your new cyber response procedures.
It can’t be overstated how important your team is when it comes to cyber security, as frontline staff are often the first to notice something unusual.
More Ways to Protect Your Practice
It’s true that cyber security can be intimidating and often isn’t given the attention it deserves. But protecting your practice from cyber risks is probably easier than you think. It is possible to improve cyber security in just one month with a few simple steps.
It’s also possible to do more to protect your practice from the risk of cybercrime. Contact Lockton Affinity to learn more about cyber liability insurance for practices like yours and get cyber security resources to help protect your practice.