It seems like every day there is another major headline pertaining to cybersecurity or threat intelligence. As we become more connected, people are growing more concerned. And both businesses and individuals have every right to be. The threats are very real and hackers are getting more persistent and aggressive in their techniques.
A strong cybersecurity strategy requires an end-to-end solution.
It is still somewhat in its infancy, but cybersecurity is evolving and expanding at a rapid pace. The acceleration of its sophistication is baffling even experienced software engineers and IT professionals, so it’s easy to understand why there might be some confusion among general audiences about what exactly cybersecurity is – let alone how to handle it. And there is clearly room for improvement.
Cybersecurity is no longer just an IT risk; it is a business risk. According to a report recently published by Cisco, the majority of businesses are not prepared for the future of ransomware attacks. It is crucial that business leaders and C-suite executives take a hands-on approach to information security and implement strong, thorough risk assessment and incident response plans to minimize the threats and enhance computer protection.
Below are five questions every manager should be asking when creating a strategy for cybersecurity.
1. “What are the biggest threats – and what is at risk?”
Put simply, cybersecurity refers to the process and act of protecting the sensitive data, information and computing assets of an organization’s network and channels of connectivity. It is worth mentioning that digital disruptions, data breaches and virus infections are not just an inconvenience; cybercriminals and hackers now engage in targeted attacks, often for monetary gain. Understanding this is essential because, unless executives and key decision-makers in the organization realize the trust cost of a security breach, they may not take cybersecurity initiatives as seriously as they should.
Although there are a handful of common hacking tactics used, such as spear phishing, spyware and worms, the security vulnerabilities that plague one company may not be the same for another. This is why organizations must conduct risk assessments to determine what their specific weaknesses are, as well as which cyberthreats they are most likely to be disrupted by. For example, health care organizations often have to worry about their internal staff being a threat to cybersecurity, since most of the employees who deal with computer networks aren’t trained in IT. Other businesses might discover that the biggest obstacle for them is the bring-your-own-device culture, which can put company data and assets at risk when the users access the system from unsecured networks.
2. “Are there clear response policies and processes in place?”
It’s an unfortunate but true reality that many businesses still wait until they have fallen victim to a cyberattack to formulate an incident response plan. And while late is better than never, organizations can save themselves a lot of time, money and headaches by being proactive in the prevention of a security breach.
“Cybersecurity isn’t just a technology concern; it’s a business risk.”
Establishing a plan of action ahead of time prepares staff for how to handle a cybersecurity incident. Everyone, at all levels of the organization, should be clear on what steps will be taken, as well as who is responsible for handling which functions.
CSO Online recently highlighted a number of important steps to include in your incident response plan, including identifying key metrics and measurements, conducting test runs of the plan, developing a data depository and creating a follow-up strategy.
3. “How can I promote awareness and education throughout the organization?”
The field of cybersecurity can be difficult to understand and even more so to navigate. To move toward a sounder, more comprehensive and sustainable solution to cybersecurity, we first need to increase awareness about the subject and provide better training as to what it actually involves.
Again, information security education is not just something that is necessary for the tech team. Every member of the business, from the top down, should undergo some degree of cybersecurity certification training or awareness course. Security vulnerabilities are present in virtually all digital devices and that makes all channels and users throughout the company potential targets. Although cybersecurity incidents are sometimes unavoidable, lack of awareness among internal users is a common source of data breaches that can easily be prevented.
At the National Cybersecurity Institute, we provide a number of specialty courses, each tailored to meet the needs of different professionals levels, such as Cybersecurity for C-Suite and Board, Cybersecurity Awareness for Managers & Supervisors, and Cybersecurity Awareness for Administrative Assistants. The benefit of offering these specific programs, rather than a general one, is that they are designed with the learner in mind. This kind of cybersecurity education demonstrates a more efficient and ultimately effective learning experience.