Worryingly, most organisations have a static cybersecurity strategy. This means that unless something drastic changes such as a large budget boost or onboarding of new security staff, a company will use the same strategies year in year out.
Security threats, however, are not static. Each year the number of threat types and their severity increases. Cybercriminals work at a very aggressive pace, always looking for new ways to target an organisation’s most valuable assets – sensitive data.
Therefore a comprehensive security strategy needs to evolve over time and needs to include different factors working together to counter risks.
By implementing the following 5 steps, companies can bring an agile approach to cybersecurity that ensures they stay up to date with the latest risks and are best prepared to outsmart internal and external risks.
Step 1 – Audit
Without knowing the current state of your organisation’s cybersecurity systems, it’s not possible to properly assess its level of protection.
The most critical assets can reside across various environments as data can be stored by employees, clients, or partners locally or increasingly in the cloud. Organisations need to perform specific risk assessments across all critical data assets. This can include:
- Implementing an inventory process that regularly scans assets and identifies
- Creating mitigation processes to prioritise remediating vulnerabilities or undertaking actions to address a data breach.
- Consolidating threat intelligence so that the latest and best information regarding organisational risks are accessible to those that need it.
Step 2 – Encrypt your data
The more data that is encrypted, the safer key data becomes. It may be tempting to only consider encryption of the most critical data but the truth is that the more data that is not encrypted, the easier it is for cybercriminals to eventually access the data they’re really looking for.
Many business-class cloud services employ full encryption technology of both company and client data, meaning it can only be accessed with a specific key as it travels between secure destinations.
Step 3 – Staff training
Cybersecurity training of staff should not just involve an initial rundown of the company’s security policies. Instead, security awareness should be the number one focus of every organisation’s broader security strategy. This is because a company’s staff still play the most important role in maintaining the security of data assets.
A good cybersecurity training program needs to be regularly updated and should include communicating the importance of keeping software updated, outline backup procedures, and awareness of threats and scams such as phishing emails. It should also detail what should be done in critical situations and ensure that new practices and policies are implemented and followed.
Step 4 – Use cybersecurity best practices
All staff should make cybersecurity best practices a part of everything they do in their everyday operations. This includes the use of anti virus software, backing up data, using two step verification, and being updated on the latest new threats such as malware of phishing emails.
Step 5 – Hire a cybersecurity specialist
In some situations, you need to turn to an expert. Depending on the size and complexity of your company’s network, there may be risks that are difficult to mitigate without assistance from a specialist. A cybersecurity consultant or firm can provide a range of services including:
- Assessing security risk by performing vulnerability testing and risk assessments
- Establishing the most effective ways to protect against network attacks and responding to breaches or emergencies
- Assessing internal staff security preparedness and identifying where additional training is required
Cybersecurity is no joke. With major technology firms, defense agencies, and national governments being successfully infiltrated by hackers and malicious entities almost weekly, this demonstrates how sophisticated cyber threats can be.
Simply relying on anti-virus software or the malware prevention of previous years isn’t sufficient to provide adequate protection. Instead, organisations need broad scale and constantly evolving cyber security policies that are communicated and followed by every single staff member, not just those that operate and maintain the network.