Cybersecurity isn't what it used to be. You can no longer just set it and forget it. Instead, you have to take a proactive approach to adapt to the rapidly evolving threat landscape quickly.
In 2022, everyone, from corporate giants to small businesses, is now a live target. The good news is that many companies have realized the threat posed to their operations, revenue, and reputation.
Protecting sensitive information like personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property, and trade secrets demands a proactive and multi-pronged approach. It’s not enough to invest heavily in security controls like multi-factor authentication (MFA), firewalls, monitoring tools, and endpoint detection and response protocols to properly address potential security issues.
To fortify your organization’s security posture, it’s vital to develop a robust cybersecurity strategy that adequately addresses all aspects of organizational functions and operations. It’s the best approach to tackle present and future cybersecurity requirements.
What Is a Cybersecurity Strategy?
A cyber security strategy is a plan that involves carefully selecting and implementing best practices to mitigate cybersecurity risks and protect organizations from internal and external cybersecurity threats.
Before formulating a cybersecurity strategy, it’s important to pay close attention to all key areas. Ask yourself what kind of security controls are required to ensure integrity, availability, and confidentiality. The best approach here is to develop a cybersecurity strategy that compliments your IT strategy.
A robust cybersecurity strategy also works as a foundation for the organization’s cybersecurity program that is continuously agile and adaptable to emerging advanced threats. For example, your cybersecurity strategy will be based on key areas like confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
In the formative years of cyberspace, the trend was to follow a “castle and moat” methodology that focused on the perimeter. Unfortunately, this traditional approach to security doesn’t cut it anymore.
In a post-pandemic world, remote working is now the norm, and data must be available simultaneously across a myriad channels. This opens the door to cyberattacks like supply chain attacks.
To develop a solid cybersecurity strategy, start with conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment to evaluate your current security capabilities, security posture, and then, create a roadmap to implement your security plan.
1. Build a Holistic Cybersecurity Strategy That Protects the Overall Enterprise Infrastructure
It’s important to understand the actual costs and the potential impact of enterprise cybersecurity programs. Higher cost doesn’t necessarily equal better protection, so it’s vital to understand your organizational structure and governance directives to improve available security protocols.
As all digital assets aren’t critical, it’s better to focus the most robust protections on critical infrastructure and sensitive data like PII, intellectual property, and trade secrets.
Security teams must use comprehensive dashboards to identify, prioritize, and respond to cyberthreats. By conducting regular risk assessments and taking a proactive and holistic approach to cybersecurity, your business will be better prepared to respond to advanced threats.
2. Deploy Cybersecurity Solutions That Don’t Introduce Latency
Sure, cybersecurity is critical, but so are the tools and applications we use to get the job done. In this case, the security tools you implement shouldn’t impact network speeds and make collaborating and performing business-critical tasks challenging.
As such, a robust and effective cybersecurity strategy should strive to find a balance between strong protection and latency on company networks. After all, from a business perspective, cybersecurity can’t come at the expense of network speeds.
Before purchasing and deploying cybersecurity tools, evaluate peering relationships and routing algorithms. Make sure to implement security solutions backed by transparent routing protocols, automated failover to the fastest available servers, and global data center networks. This approach will help ensure optimum speeds no matter where your staff are located.
Network speeds will affect employee and customer experiences, and impact your bottom line. So, if you failed to adequately address network speeds in your cybersecurity strategy, you should act immediately.
3. Closely Integrate Cybersecurity with Your Business Strategy
Focusing on cybersecurity risks alone can impact your business goals. So, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) need to engage their colleagues across departments to build cyber resilience without hindering normal operations.
Ideally, corporate security policies must help all stakeholders optimize operations without increasing the attack surface. All security measures in place shouldn’t impede seamless collaboration and operations across cloud infrastructures.
4. Address the Human Element Appropriately
As much as 85% of data breaches last year involved human error. The risk of human error has also grown exponentially as more people now work remotely in, often, poorly secured environments.
According to Verizon, 61% of data breaches involved credential data, and as many as 95% of organizations suffered credential stuffing attacks. In fact, there were between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts over 12 months.
Work from home initiatives led to an explosion of malware, phishing, and ransomware attacks. Concurrently, instances of misrepresentation also increased by 15 times. As humans will continue to be the weakest link, companies must leverage targeted analytics to mitigate risk and insider threats.
5. Leverage Security Automation Tools
Automation enables efficient risk management. After all, your in-house security team can’t be alert 24/7. Automated security tools ensure monitoring around the clock while supporting in-house cybersecurity experts. These tools help teams by taking on manual undertakings and freeing them up to focus on more important tasks.
The National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, and the Department of Defense recommend leveraging automation for 24/7 monitoring to ensure rapid incident response. In this scenario, whenever potential vulnerabilities are detected, the automated monitoring tool can quickly respond to them while alerting the security team in real-time. This approach saves time and resources and helps reduce the impact of an active security event.
6. Strengthen Critical Infrastructure and Reduce Disruptions
Over the past year, we all experienced significant network outages, disruptions, and downtime. Although many of these disruptions hogged the headlines for weeks, outages don’t exactly confirm a cyberattack.
The security tools deployed to safeguard your infrastructure can be the cause of downtime. As such, the security measures employed by your team must include solutions designed to reduce potential downtime.
The best approach here is to vet your vendors and review their track records. If a potential security vendor doesn’t boast a proven record of cyber resiliency and uptime, it’s better to look elsewhere.
However, a proven track record free of disruptions isn’t enough. Also, look at how the company handled infrastructure disruptions without passing them on to their users. For example, IT teams can use unique DNS logging features and DNS-layer security during certain security events (like the Akamai outage) to ensure seamless connectivity to business-critical cloud tools even while the provider experiences outages.
7. Always Take a Zero-Trust Approach
Because the post-pandemic new normal means that there is no perimeter to focus on and protect, enterprises must now shift toward a zero-trust model where verification and validation are vital to access information on enterprise systems and networks.
Consistently implementing zero-trust architectures and processes help ensure infrastructure and network security. Whenever organizations employ a zero-trust security model, no devices or users are trusted without continuous verification.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the term zero-trust describes an evolving set of cybersecurity paradigms used by stakeholders to plan and secure enterprise architecture.
According to the NIST cybersecurity frameworks, security teams can proactively focus on assets, resources, and users by leveraging network-based perimeters. This ensures that “trust” is never granted solely based on the physical or network location of users and devices.
In a post-pandemic world with remote and hybrid ecosystems, it’s now critical to secure cloud environments and the devices that connect to them. With the zero-trust approach to cybersecurity, authorization and authentication will be discrete functions that everyone must perform to gain access to digital resources.
As the volumes of data generated and processed increase by the minute, safeguarding critical infrastructure and digital assets will become increasingly challenging. So, once you have created a robust cybersecurity strategy, you also have to keep reviewing and updating it.
It’s important as advanced threats will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. A robust security strategy will also be critical to ensure compliance with different laws and regulations (including GDPR, HIPPS, PCI, etc.).
By involving all stakeholders right from the beginning, you can ensure that your strategic objectives and security decisions are accepted and adopted across the organization. This approach will also help security teams justify security budgets, processes, and their overall cybersecurity strategy.