SPOT Cybersecurity Tip: CIS Cybersecurity Controls Explained for Business Owners

Check out more SPOT Cybersecurity Tips!If you’re a business owner or leader, reducing Cybersecurity risk is probably already on your agenda. Small businesses can greatly benefit from implementing CIS (Center for Internet Security) Controls for cybersecurity. These controls provide a practical and prioritized approach to enhance your cybersecurity posture and protect against a variety of cyber threats. Here’s how small businesses can use CIS controls:

  1. Understanding the CIS Controls: Familiarize yourself with the CIS Controls framework, which consists of 20 prioritized and actionable security measures. These controls are designed to provide clear and straightforward guidance to safeguard against common cyber threats.
  2. Assessment and Gap Analysis: Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment and gap analysis to identify the current state of your business’s security and compare it to the CIS Controls. This helps you prioritize your limited cybersecurity budget on the highest risk areas.
  3. Prioritization of Controls: Since small businesses may have limited resources, it’s essential to prioritize the implementation of controls. Focus on the critical controls first to address the most significant risks.
  4. Access Control and User Management: Implement strong access controls and user management practices. This includes limiting access to sensitive data and systems based on job roles and employing multi-factor authentication (MFA) to strengthen login security.
  5. Secure Configuration and Patch Management: Ensure that all software and hardware are securely configured and up-to-date with the latest patches. Unpatched systems are a common entry point for attackers.
  6. Continuous Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring and logging of network activity and critical systems. This enables you to detect and respond to potential security incidents promptly.
  7. Security Awareness Training: Train employees on cybersecurity best practices and potential threats, such as phishing and social engineering. Don’t forget phishing simulations and Dark Web monitoring. Human error is the biggest reason for security breaches.
  8. Email and Web Security: Use email and web security solutions to protect against malicious links, attachments, and websites that may contain malware or phishing attempts.
  9. Data Protection and Backup: Regularly backup critical data and ensure that the backups are securely stored offsite. Make sure you know your Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective. Data loss can be devastating to a small business.
  10. Incident Response Plan: Develop and document an incident response plan to handle cybersecurity incidents effectively. This plan should outline the steps to be taken in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
  11. Vendor Management: If your small business relies on third-party vendors for services, ensure they also adhere to robust cybersecurity practices and have appropriate security controls in place.
  12. Secure Remote Work: With the rise of remote work, secure remote access to company systems and data using VPNs and other secure technologies. Also, ensure that employees are aware of secure remote work practices.
  13. Regular Reviews and Updates: Cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your cybersecurity measures as threats evolve and your business grows.
  14. Compliance and Regulation: Depending on your industry, there may be specific cybersecurity regulations and compliance requirements you need to adhere to. Ensure your cybersecurity measures align with these requirements.
  15. Engage Experts if Needed: Small businesses may not have dedicated cybersecurity staff. In such cases, consider consulting with cybersecurity experts or managed security service providers (MSSPs) to assist with implementing and maintaining the CIS Controls.

By following these steps and integrating the CIS Controls into their cybersecurity strategy, business leaders can significantly reduce their risk exposure to cyber threats and protect their valuable assets. Reach out to us for a complimentary Cybersecurity Discovery Call to learn how to implement CIS controls.