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7 Considerations for Your IT Strategy Plan

Only a third of UK businesses have any kind of written cybersecurity policy for employees to follow. The rest operate in a reactive way, dealing with breaches and threats as they encounter them.

This is a stressful way of doing things, potentially leading to a devastating breach, loss of data, unplanned downtime and an overworked IT team. So what’s the answer?

Preparing your IT strategy plan

By creating and implementing an IT security strategic plan, your business can take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and stay ahead of today’s evolving threats.

Our Tips for Creating an IT Security Strategy Plan

  1. Think About the Current Process
  2. Identify What Needs to Be Protected
  3. Gather Information
  4. Track the Existing Threat Landscape
  5. Consider the Resources You Have Available
  6. Time to Create the Strategy Plan
  7. Communicate the New Plan

1. Think About the Current Process

A good place to start is to analyse your existing security procedures. Consider these questions:

  • How has the business previously responded to attempted breaches?
  • Who was responsible for resolving the situation?
  • Did they resolve the situation effectively?
  • Who is monitoring the network right this second?
  • Who monitors it out of office hours?
  • Are there tools in place that will sound an alert if a security issue is detected?
  • Is vulnerability gap analysis ever carried out? 

If you aren't satisfied with the answers to these questions, then it's clear that changes need to be made to the existing process. It's estimated that cybercriminals deploy attacks every 39 seconds - so there's no time to waste. 

2. Identify What Needs to Be Protected

Every system, software and device your business uses on a daily basis needs to be effectively protected within the security strategy plan. The strategy plan needs to incorporate all assets to ensure that the security network stretches across everything.  

For example, cyberattacks on IoT (Internet of Things) devices have surged 300%. Review the entire environment and catalogue all potential avenues of attack while drawing up the plan. 

3. Gather Information 

To make sure nothing slips through the cracks when creating an IT strategy plan, it’s vital you take steps to fully understand the network. 

  • What’s attached to it? 
  • What software is running? 
  • What applications are being used? 
  • What procedure is followed if staff believe they’re dealing with something malicious. 
  • Are they able to identify malicious links and phishing scams?

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of everyone at the business so it’s important to make the process a company-wide one. You never know the kind of useful insight someone might provide unless you take the time to speak to them. Do they know how to report suspicious activity? Carry out extensive interviews with staff and you’ll have a better understanding of the daily security challenges they face.

4. Track the Existing Threat Landscape

To effectively protect your business, you need to know exactly what you’re up against. But with so many different methods of attack that are constantly in use (there’s a ransomware attack every 14 seconds), this is easier said than done. 

Be an active part of the wider cybersecurity community so you have a better idea of the threats you need to keep an eye on. Having information about these threats ahead of time allows you to proactively take steps against them. 

Keep in mind that the methods of attack are constantly evolving and changing, making it incredibly difficult to keep up-to-date with the most relevant ones. By using the information your business gathers you can better prepare for threats. This is threat intelligence and is vital as it allows you to resolve issues before they can escalate. 

5. Consider the Resources You Have Available

Does your business have the tools it needs to combat 24/7 cyberattacks? Consider your IT team and the expertise within it. If you have a small team, then you’ll need employees that have a broad range of skills. 

There might be gaps in their expertise that could cause problems. Plus, your existing IT team might be overworked and under pressure because the scale of their task is just too great. 

It might be time to increase the IT security budget to ensure you’re protected. This can be via new hires or by outsourcing elements to external companies who have the required skills. 

Global trends have shown significant rises in security spending over the last 10 years or so. In fact, worldwide spending on cybersecurity is forecasted to reach $133.7 billion in 2022. Has your business matched this trend or are you at risk because you’ve neglected the budget?

6. Time to Create the Strategy Plan

When creating an IT strategy plan, make sure to follow the steps laid out by CIO. It starts with making sure you have the right team. That might mean hiring additional specialists to ensure the right skills are in place. 

Next, draw up a proper plan that considers what needs to happen during the next two to three years. Ensure that the strategy plan aligns with the business’ wider objectives and keep in mind that large scale changes will take more time and effort to accomplish. 

The next step is to ensure that the architecture roadmap is fully aligned with the strategy you want to implement. This gives you a technical view of current applications and hardware infrastructure so that you know when equipment is reaching end-of-life. 

Next, you’ll need to let everyone know what’s changed.

7. Communicate the New Plan 

For the new plan to be effective, it needs to be fully communicated to everyone it impacts. Carry out training sessions if necessary so that, whatever the situation, all relevant team members know what their role is and who’s accountable.

User error is still the main cause of breaches which is why it’s so important that employees at all members of the business know good cybersecurity practices.

Ensure Your Business Is Protected

We’ve created a free guide that’s perfect for anyone planning their IT security budget for the year. It features global investment trends and a handy checklist that you can use to determine how secure you really are. Get your copy of the guide now by clicking on the link below. 

IT Security Investment Guide CTA

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