In today’s interconnected digital landscape, ensuring the security of your business’s data and information is paramount. Cyber threats constantly evolve, making it crucial for small business owners to proactively assess and address potential risks. A full vulnerability assessment (that includes more than our 27 suggested points below) is a vital step in safeguarding your business’s cybersecurity posture. We’ve developed this checklist has to provide small business owners with a practical guide to evaluating and mitigating risks associated with cybersecurity. By following these 27 points, you can identify vulnerabilities, enhance security measures, and protect your business from cyber-attacks.

It’s important to note that every business has unique characteristics, and the level of risk may vary accordingly. Therefore, this checklist serves as a starting point and can be customized to speak to your specific needs and industry requirements. In addition, regularly reviewing and updating your cybersecurity practices is essential to stay ahead of emerging threats. Now, let’s dive into the 27 key points to help you conduct the best possible vulnerability assessment and bolster your business’s cybersecurity defenses.

  1. Identify and classify the many different types of data that your business handles (e.g., financial, personal, sensitive, confidential).
  2. Determine where sensitive data is stored and how it is protected.
  3. Evaluate the physical security of your workplace, including access control and surveillance.
  4. Ensure that all software and hardware are up to date with security patches and updates.
  5. Develop and enforce strong password manager for all employees.
  6. Conduct regular security awareness training for employees.
  7. Establish and ratify a business continuity and disaster recovery plan for your business just in case of a possible cyber-attack or other disaster.
  8. Implement data backup and recovery procedures.
  9. Regularly test your backup and disaster recovery plans to ensure they work as intended.
  10. Develop a plan for dealing head-on with any cyber incidents and have a team to respond quickly.
  11. Establish a process for incident reporting and investigation.
  12. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing.
  13. Ensure that all network devices and software are configured securely.
  14. Implement a firewall and intrusion detection and prevention system.
  15. Limit access to sensitive data to those who need it.
  16. Implement multifactor authentication for all accounts that access sensitive data – this may be a given in 2023, but a lot of smaller companies do not think they will be a target of a threat actor and do not enable MFA for all company applications.
  17. Implement email security measures, such as spam filters and email encryption.
  18. Implement web security measures, such as content filtering and web application firewalls.
  19. Establish and enforce mobile device security policies.
  20. Limit the use of personal devices employees can use for business purposes, and make sure your company has a BYOD policy that spells out what employees are and aren’t allowed to do on their company devices.
  21. Conduct background checks on specific employees with access to sensitive data.
  22. Establish and enforce a clear separation of duties to prevent fraud and abuse.
  23. Develop an incident response plan for data breaches or leaks.
  24. Establish and enforce a policy for securely disposing of data and devices.
  25. Regularly monitor and review security logs for suspicious activity.
  26. Ensure that all third-party vendors and partners are also following best security practices.
  27. Review and update your cybersecurity policies and procedures regularly.

Instead, why not take the time to check off each item yourself? Need help finding some of this data or are intimidated to start? Our team is always willing to hop on a short call to help you discuss the best ways to find all of the information you need to complete a self-issued test or if, for example, your insurance firm is asking you for more information for your cybersecurity policy. Additionally, if you have an inkling that your company may have vulnerabilities, it’s best to look into a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment. It’s recommended that you do it outside of your organization to keep it unbiased. We offer assessments – ranging from quick and complimentary to a full sweep of your digital assets so you can certify your company with just about any compliancy board.