Today’s threat landscape is increasingly complex, littered with determined adversaries, who are growing more and more sophisticated and cunning. And as they do, the cyber security industry struggles to keep up, upgrading their tool and solutions to counter these attacks as best as they can.
It’s a catch up game for sure, and organisations of every type, and in every industry are under pressure to boost their cyber security investments and strategies to best protect and defend against the slew of potential risks and threats.
Compounding the problem, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created even more cyber security issues, widening the attack surface tremendously, through an almost overnight mass exodus to remote working. This shone the spotlight on the importance of remote infrastructure, security awareness for end users, collaboration tools, VPNs, and many more.
A complex landscape
However, although cyber security is a critical priority for many organisations, and justly so, developing an effective security approach goes beyond simply buying whatever new tool or solution is being touted as the latest silver bullet. With cyber threats growing in both volume and sophistication, organisations across the board need to consider which IT security investments will help them protect data and systems most effectively in 2022.
And while it is crucial for business leaders to prioritise cyber security, the complexities of today’s threat landscape need a systematic and strategic approach that identifies the organisations most critical assets, as well as where the greatest chinks in its security armour lie, as this will highlight critical areas for investment in cyber security solutions.
Unfortunately the slew of solutions available on the market – intrusion detection, data leakage prevention, firewalls, network monitoring, anti-malware, SIEM, SASE – to name but the tip of the iceberg, leave businesses confused as to where to allocate their security spend. Too often this means they end up taking a ‘protect everything’ approach, and buying every new tool that comes on the market, which leads to IT sprawl, complexity, confusion, and in the end, nothing being effectively protected at all.
Aligning with business priorities
Instead, of this ‘mud against the wall’ approach, security chiefs should look at taking a different route when it comes to planning for their next cyber security investments. This year, businesses adopt a cyber security investment strategy based on the challenges that are emerging this year. In a nutshell, this strategy should be made up of three clear phases, namely plan, prepare and protect.
Firstly, and most critically, is the ‘plan’ phase, where organisations need to align their cyber security strategy with the business priorities. Having a firm grasp of the inconsistencies between business priorities and cyber security strategies is the initial step towards developing a priority-based approach to information security.
Once the core business priorities have been identified, CISOs and IT security teams will be able to work alongside the executive team to narrow the divide between what is a priority for business leaders and what is crucial when it comes to the company’s cyber security defence.
When a deeper understanding of the chasm between business and cyber security priorities has been reached, the two strategies can be aligned to make sure that the most important priorities are the ones that are addressed first, and that resources are allocated appropriately.
The next step, covers ‘prepare’ and involves identifying any potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Here again, business leaders and executives need to work closely with cyber security teams and security leaders to pinpoint any external and internal vulnerabilities, as well as other possible risks and weaknesses that could be exploited in the ever-evolving threat landscape. All parties need to be fully aware of all potential threats their business faces, which includes internal threats, such as malicious or careless insiders, as well as external threats, such as cyber criminals and advanced threat groups too. All threats needs to be classified into the level and type of risk they pose, and then it must be determined which is the most effective way to defend against them.
Once this is done, it is time define the roles and responsibilities the relevant parties need to play. Once everyone in the business knows their role and what they need to do to prevent threats, the better protected the organisation is. In this phase, goals and budgets are set, and CISOs will identify vulnerabilities, threats, and what can be used to prevent them; measure, monitor and report on return on investment of the existing cyber security tools and solutions, as well as relook at the day-to-day security operations and what can be cone to improve them.
Working with professionals
But for many companies, this process is easier said than done, and brining a professional services provider onboard is the best way forward. For example, Sababa Cybersecurity Fundamentals is a scalable bundle of a services that help organisations understand their current situation when it comes to cyber security, structure their approach, and define the practical steps that are needed for the next 18 months. These services cover ‘plan, prepare and protect’, combining the essentials of several cyber security disciplines, making corporate security a reachable and tangible project even for the smallest entities, and creating clarity when it comes to building a security path going forward, without too much effort and investment.
When business and security leaders work together, with the help of an outside professional, the results always improve. Working together brings the best security to any business and helps avoid silo-based approaches.