New Cyber Readiness Program Packs More Features to Protect SMBs from Cyber Threats

The cyber threat landscape is constantly shifting and so must the tools and resources we rely on to protect our public and private institutions. That is why we have updated our Cyber Readiness Program to make it even easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to take practical steps to protect their organizations from cyber attacks.

Companies of all sizes are faced with growing cybersecurity threats. However, SMBs are often the most vulnerable to attack because they lack the resources and skills to protect themselves. Attackers realize this and the research backs this up: While 42% of SMBs experienced an attack in 2022, only 21% of SMBs have a strong password policy and only 16% train their employees on cybersecurity. *

It’s time for SMBs to act.

Drawing on five years of experience working with cybersecurity experts, global companies, and thousands of SMBs around the world, the revised Cyber Readiness Program provides additional tools and resources needed to build a strong culture of cyber readiness. Support and technical advice from our member companies–Apple, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Mastercard, Microsoft, Principal Financial Group, and the Center for Global Enterprise–has been essential in developing this invaluable free service.

If you’ve gone through earlier versions of our online program, then the look and feel will be familiar. The format is presented in easy-to-navigate modules. We’ve incorporated new features making this version worth reviewing, even if you already have a Certificate of Completion from the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI).

Our new features include:

  • Updated Core Four Policies—Passwords + Multi-factor Authentication, Software Updates, Phishing, and Secure Sharing & Storage
  • Addition of a Business Continuity Plan
  • New Personas to help navigate the cyber readiness journey
  • Improved Playbook–everything from drafting policies to prioritizing what to protect
  • Short training videos you can use with your workforce
  • Revised metrics to allow organizations to better track their progress

The Cyber Readiness Program focuses on human behavior and explains the steps you can take to protect your business in language you don’t need to be tech savvy to understand. It provides clear and concise policies that are easy to implement and make an organization more secure. Extensive research has shown companies can greatly reduce their risks by focusing on the Core Four.

Every SMB should have a person designated as their Cyber Leader. The improved Program and companion Playbook are aimed at that person. It guides the Cyber Leader through adopting simple policies, prioritizing what is most important to protect and developing a business continuity plan to help the organization respond and recover if there is an attack. Perhaps most important, the Cyber Leader is provided with short training videos and materials they can use to build awareness and gain commitment from their workforce. Ultimately, the goal is to create a practical culture of cyber readiness by getting people to make some small changes in their behavior.

To make the Program more realistic and relatable, it follows three Cyber Leaders from different backgrounds in three very different companies to see how they apply the tools and resources. Learn how an 8-person accounting firm, a 50-person software company and a 400-person manufacturing company take practical steps to engage their workforces and build a culture of cyber readiness. These personas help Cyber Leaders navigate the Program by providing real world examples of how to improve the cyber readiness and resilience of their organizations.

Most companies should plan for a 4 to 6-week span to adopt the policies and train their workforce. Those completing the Program will receive a Certificate of Completion to acknowledge their accomplishment.

Join the thousands of companies taking practical steps to prevent a cyber-attack. When it comes to cybersecurity, every company is connected. Don’t let your company be the weak link. Be Cyber Ready. Sign up here for the new Program.

Craig Moss is Program Director, Change Management, Culture, and Certification at CRI.

*Stats from: AdvisorSmith, Nov. 2021 survey of 1,122 SMEs