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The Preparedness Mindset: Minimize the Impact of a Cyber-Attack

First aid kit, emergency supplies for survival during a natural disaster

Businesses of all sizes are faced with complex challenges that are difficult to prepare for, especially when they aren’t easy to fully understand. A proactive business leader will drive an initiative to understand how they’re positioned for preventing or recovering from a disaster (whether it’s physical or virtual). Depending on the business, they may opt to bring in 3rd parties like Superior Managed IT to assess their environment and provide detailed reports with a road map for improvement.

The Driving Forces Behind Cybersecurity Enhancements

In our experience at Superior Managed IT, the decision for businesses to incorporate cybersecurity measures is driven by at least one of the following reasons:

  1. Meeting requirements from 3rd parties/outside entities, including:
    • Regulatory Compliance through:
      • Government Agencies
      • Non-Government Regulatory Bodies
    • Insurance Underwriters
    • Prospective Clients
    • IT Service Providers
  2. Being more aware of risks and protecting against:
    • Incident-related financial losses
    • Reputation damage
    • Intellectual property theft
  3. Having a competitive advantage
    • Differentiating themselves in the marketplace with a robust cybersecurity posture
  4. Responding to specific triggers or realizations of risk through experiencing:
    • A true data breach or attack
    • A close-call
    • A false alarm

Common Reasons Why Businesses Don’t Prioritize Cybersecurity

The following are some common reasons we have heard from existing or prospective clients as to why they want to delay or forgo the enhancement of their cybersecurity posture:

  1. It’s not budgeted, and they don’t see an immediate need
    • They believe that since they don’t advertise, they won’t be found and targeted
    • They don’t believe they are big enough to be a target
    • Our contact understands the risks, but doesn’t have the final authority on the decision and has trouble getting buy-in from stakeholders
    • The organization doesn’t have any regulatory compliance requirements driving the decision forward faster
  2. They understand the need, but they have budget constraints
    • They haven’t budgeted for the increased management cost and decide to take a reactive approach if they experience a breach or attack
    • The expense is manageable, but the timing is off
    • They have limited resources and/or availability to implement changes
  3. The cost is manageable, but fear that added restrictions will create too much stress and disruption:
    • Their team may have trouble navigating the operational changes, creating job dissatisfaction and/or added stress
    • It will disrupt profitability and productivity as their team adapts

Each of these concerns are valid, but they can also be minimized with the right approach.

Common Scenarios that Drive Cybersecurity Enhancements

Cybersecurity usually comes to the forefront of the conversation when a business has an immediate need, or when a notable business is featured on the news as a victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack. As a managed IT and managed security services provider, we believe that a good partnership is one that encourages mutual growth.

We urge our customers to implement cybersecurity solutions proactively to decrease the likelihood of a costly, high impact disruption for both parties. When a customer faces a disaster, it demands a lot of unplanned time and attention, thus negatively impacting their existing commitments and customers' experience, and does so for all parties involved in the resolution. 

When faced with a cyber-attack, whether it was successfully diverted or otherwise, having cybersecurity measures in place DRAMATICALLY reduces financial and data losses caused by downtime and/or the exposure of sensitive and proprietary data.

From our experience, the following list outlines the most prevalent scenarios that drive cybersecurity. Also noted is the level of disruption for all parties involved, from Least Disruptive to Most Disruptive.

  • Strong understanding of modern business risks and wanting to be proactive about security (Least Disruptive)
  • Needs to satisfy 3rd Party Requirements 
    • A prospective client of theirs requires various cybersecurity measures and controls to be in place before business transactions can occur (Least Disruptive)
    • Industry-specific compliance mandates require cybersecurity controls (Least Disruptive)
    • Applying for or renewing a cyber insurance policy (Least Disruptive)
  • They experienced a cyber-attack either directly or indirectly
    • They had a close enough call to prompt them to act (Less Disruptive)
    • They were a victim of an internal or external breach, but they didn’t experience a financial loss (More Disruptive)
    • They were a victim of an internal (or external) breach and experienced a financial loss (Most Disruptive)

The Reactive Mindset

There are times when a reactive approach can’t be avoided for one reason or another, but when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s important to seek to understand the risks and the impact to not only the organization itself, but its customers, vendors and partners.

Most of us learn best from experience, and it often takes a bad experience to drive change. However, with every unintended result comes an opportunity to reflect on what led up to the result, and brainstorm ways to improve for the future. Taking the time to evaluate the undesirable outcomes will help change your mindset to a more prepared, or proactive, one.

The Preparedness Mindset

Just as someone with a preparedness mindset will keep an umbrella in their home or car anticipating rain, a business stakeholder with a preparedness mindset will implement cybersecurity measures to protect against threats before they're realized.

The Preparedness Mindset prioritizes prevention, much like someone who exercises regularly and eats healthily to prevent future health issues, rather than waiting to seek treatment after a problem has arisen.

They have seen how a cyber-attack can impact an organization and decide to take a proactive approach in minimizing their exposure because after all, it’s not a matter of if they become a target, but when and how impactful it will be.

8 Ways to Start the Transition from Reactive to Prepared

Transitioning from a mindset that is reactive to a prepared one in business, especially concerning cybersecurity and other operational risks, involves strategic, cultural, and procedural changes.

Here are some key steps a business can take to cultivate this transition:
  1. Leadership Commitment
    • Top management must prioritize and advocate for a proactive approach. Their commitment is crucial in driving the change across the entire organization. The buy-in starts at the top.
  2. Risk Awareness and Assessment
    • Conduct thorough and regular risk assessments to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities.
    • Subscribe to cybersecurity newsletters to stay knowledgeable on the latest threats and trends in cybersecurity for anticipating emerging risks.
  3. Training and Education
    • Implement regular training sessions for all employees on the importance of cybersecurity, the common threats, and how to prevent them.
    • Create a culture of security awareness where every employee feels responsible and empowered to act.
  4. Implementing the Right Tools and Policies
    • Invest in advanced security technologies that can predict, prevent, and mitigate risks.
    • Develop and enforce security policies that focus on preventive measures, such as frequent software updates, the use of strong passwords, and most importantly, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  5. Draft, Review, and Implement a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan
    • Develop and regularly update a business continuity plan that includes responses to various types of cyber incidents.
    • Practice disaster recovery and incident response plans with tabletop exercises to ensure they are effective and everyone knows their roles in such scenarios.
  6. Regular Audits and Compliance Checks
    • Conduct regular security audits to evaluate the effectiveness of security measures and policies.
    • Ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations, and standards, which can help in maintaining a proactive stance.
  7. Create Feedback Channels
    • Establish mechanisms for feedback on the security measures in place, allowing for continuous improvement.
    • Encourage a proactive reporting culture where employees feel comfortable reporting potential risks and breaches.
  8. Strategic Partnerships
    • Collaborate with external experts and cybersecurity firms like Superior Managed IT to stay ahead of potential threats.
    • Participate in industry forums and networking groups to exchange knowledge and best practices.


Transitioning to a preparedness mindset is not an overnight process. it requires ongoing effort, investment, and management buy-in. However, the benefits of being able to prevent and quickly mitigate issues before they escalate into crises can significantly outweigh the initial heavy-lifting.

As a security services provider for SMBs, we understand that several factors are at play when contemplating the implementation of a more robust cybersecurity posture.

The top 3 reasons we’ve encountered include:

  1. Budgetary constraints that limit your ability to adhere to best practices and recommendations.
  2. Changing the way you’ve always operated can have a significant impact on your team members that are resistant to change, creating the potential for job dissatisfaction and employee retention.
  3. Change can be disruptive and puts stress on profitability, end-user motivation, and can even hinder your customer experience if the execution is poor.

It’s not unreasonable to be hesitant, but with the right team and the right plan that addresses each concern, having a strong defense that’s customized for your business is absolutely achievable.

The Superior Managed IT team has made it a priority to help our customers, friends, and families sleep better at night with education on the ever-evolving risks and implementation of our cybersecurity solutions. How can we help you?

About the author

Erin Gibbs

Erin Gibbs

Erin joined the SMIT Team in 2017. Her passion for technology and commitment to helping others inspired her career transition from Transportation Safety & Compliance into the Managed Services industry. With her unique blend of regulatory knowledge and tech-savvy skills, Erin plays a pivotal role in enhancing our team's capabilities and ensuring client satisfaction.

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Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55112

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