How to Implement a Cybersecurity Program

How to Implement a Cybersecurity Program
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Table of Contents

 

There are a few steps that businesses have to perfect before starting a cybersecurity implementation plan. First, they must conduct a thorough current state risk assessment of their cybersecurity posture. Next, they must meticulously develop a cybersecurity strategy.

 

Critical elements of a cybersecurity strategy include an understanding of surrounding cyber threats, methods to address security vulnerabilities, threat detection mechanisms, incident response plans, remediation playbooks for data breaches and cyber incidents, physical security, and security best practices. It should also include information and initiatives that ensure the proactive optimization of cybersecurity tools, practices, and personnel.  

 

Once a business has understood the intricacies of cybersecurity risks and developed a cybersecurity strategy that includes security measures and risk management actions to negate potential threats and security issues, it’s time to implement a holistic cybersecurity program.

 

Cybersecurity program implementation isn’t easy. Furthermore, even the most flawlessly designed cybersecurity strategies can come apart if businesses don’t implement them with precision. For example, Gartner reveals that 6 out of 10 businesses will make zero trust security a major part of their cybersecurity strategy by 2025. However, without meticulous implementation of zero trust, those businesses could suffer significant losses. 

 

Why is Cybersecurity Program Implementation So Important?

 

Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It’s so important that The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD), and numerous other federal agencies across America treat it as a top priority. Recently, the Biden Administration released the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan. Parallelly, CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) work on battling cybercrime.

 

What does this increase in federal government involvement, interagency collaboration, international partnerships, and harmonization across sectors and organizations suggest? It suggests that cyber threats are everywhere and you must secure your organization. From the public to the private sector, from the White House to the smallest of businesses, cybersecurity is essential.

 

In the next section, you will get a comprehensive overview of establishing cyber defenses, protecting your information technology ecosystems, and setting up a strong security program. 

 

Cybersecurity Program Implementation: A Step-By-Step Guide

 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to implement a cybersecurity program. 

 

Form a Powerful Cybersecurity Team 

 

To implement a cybersecurity program, you will need a powerful cybersecurity team. With a team of skilled cybersecurity professionals, your business can navigate the subsequent steps of the implementation process with ease.

 

Due to the global skills shortage, cybersecurity teams may not always be easy to form. However, businesses should commit to gathering a strong team.

 

Install Cybersecurity Tools 

 

Now that you have a team of cybersecurity professionals, it’s time to give them the tools they need. These include VPNs, firewalls, antivirus software, password managers, encryption and decryption tools, network security tools, two-factor or multi-factor authentication, data management tools, and patch management applications.

 

You can commission these tools from a single provider or multiple providers. However, it’s important to avoid tool sprawl (too many disjointed tools). Instead, it’s important to find holistic and easy-to-use security tools.  

 

Weave In Cybersecurity Frameworks

 

You now have a cybersecurity team and unified tools. What’s next? The answer is cybersecurity frameworks. Cybersecurity frameworks can simplify the implementation process for businesses and ensure that they fulfill regulatory requirements.

 

Examples of cybersecurity frameworks include:

 

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)
  • Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT)
  • ISO 27001 and ISO 27002
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA (For healthcare companies)

 

Configure Cybersecurity Policies

 

It’s time to configure cybersecurity policies. These policies are essentially rules to define how an organization secures its IT ecosystem. Security policies should cover:

 

  • Information security
  • Management of sensitive data and data protection
  • Protection of endpoints and IoT (Internet-of-Things) devices
  • Credential management
  • Threat detection or Intrusion Detection
  • Incident response and remediation 

 

Cybersecurity policies mustn't be overly specific. They must strike a healthy balance between general guidelines and technical security controls.

 

Document All Implementation Processes

 

During the implementation phase, businesses need to document all their activities. It’s important to inform key personnel and stakeholders about the importance of documentation. 

 

By ensuring meticulous documentation of cybersecurity program implementation, businesses can equip themselves for future auditing needs. A lack of documentation may also lead to compliance failures and fines, especially in certain industries where data privacy is essential.

 

Introduce Threat Detection Mechanisms

 

Threat detection is one of the core capabilities of a powerful cybersecurity program. Threat detection is about catching cybercriminals early. Numerous devastating cyberattacks, including malware, ransomware, phishing, and supply chain attacks, occur because businesses don’t have detection systems.

 

To catch threats early, businesses should address the following:

 

 

Set Up Incident Response 

 

While threat detection tools can go a long way in preventing major cyberattacks, the nature of the modern threat landscape suggests that cyber incidents are inevitable. That’s why incident response is so important. With good incident response capabilities, you can limit the damage of data breaches and cybercrime.

 

Important aspects of incident response include:

 

  • Pinpointing compromised systems
  • Reducing the blast radii of attacks
  • Calculating the extent of damage
  • Remediating compromised systems
  • Informing key stakeholders about cyber incidents
  • Documentation of exploited vulnerabilities 

 

Train Teams and Key Personnel 

 

Cybersecurity must be a collective effort. It’s unsafe to rely solely on security teams. Every member of an organization must prioritize the organization’s cybersecurity program and best practices. Therefore, security awareness is key. You must ensure that cybersecurity becomes everyone’s responsibility. 

 

It’s important to conduct engaging training and awareness campaigns so that their employees understand cyber risks and mitigation strategies. Businesses must also ensure that employees have access to cybersecurity tools, capabilities, and information. 

 

Proactively Refine the Cybersecurity Program 

 

To ensure a safe and resilient future, you must proactively optimize IT security. During implementation, it’s important to conduct penetration tests (simulated cyberattacks) to identify weak spots and vulnerabilities.

 

Why is constant security optimization important? Threat actors evolve at incredible speeds. Therefore, cybersecurity programs must evolve faster than them. It’s the only way to avoid data breaches

 

Conclusion

 

Implementing a cybersecurity program is the vital final step after businesses conduct a cybersecurity requirements assessment and develop a cybersecurity strategy and roadmap. All the potential benefits of the previous two steps can come undone if businesses don’t perfect implementation. 

 

There are certain steps businesses can take to ensure successful implementation: form a powerful cybersecurity team, install security tools, weave in relevant frameworks, configure policies, document all activities, introduce threat detection mechanisms, set up incident response plans, train personnel, and proactively refine the cybersecurity program. 

 

If businesses follow these steps, they can ensure that their IT environments are safe from cybersecurity incidents. Modern threat actors deploy attacks with never-before-seen speed and precision. Businesses must find ways to outperform their adversaries, and implementing a cybersecurity strategy is the best way to do so. 

 


If you perfect cybersecurity implementation, your cyberspace ecosystems will flourish and your security program will dismantle threat actors. The best way to perfect any phase of cybersecurity (assessment, strategy development, or implementation) is by working with a Managed Security Services (MSS) provider.

 

Is your IT the best it can be?

Categories: Security, Strategy, Cyber Security, Network Security, Proactive Network Security, IT Security, Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity Implementation, Security Strategy, Cybersecurity Strategy, IT Security Strategy

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