Although often taken for granted, the speed and ease with which we can access and move massive amounts of data and our digital interconnectedness is a true marvel. However, it creates challenges, and cybersecurity is chief among them. We’ve talked about the importance of cybersecurity and how it ranks among the top concerns of national leaders when discussing defense, financial markets, the business supply chain, and the general welfare of our citizens. One factor in their situation is how cybersecurity risk impacts us, including the small and medium-sized businesses that are the backbone of our economy. This post will address how cybersecurity tools help manage an organization’s risk.
Cybersecurity Defined for your Organization
Poor oversight within your digital infrastructure can lead to fines from regulators, damage to reputation and trust, loss of intellectual property, crippling losses from business disruption, etc. But cybersecurity is more than just protecting data. Harvard Business Review notes, “as we have digitized our processes and our operations, connected our industrial complexes to large control systems that enable remote management of large equipment, and linked our supply chains with automatic ordering and fulfillment processes, cybersecurity has taken on a much larger position in our threat landscape.” What elements of your business have become digitized?
Cybersecurity is not a siloed tech function; it engages the entire organization. Actual cybersecurity threats that impact our businesses are threats from outside sources married with an internal threat. The unwitting role your employees play in facilitating cybersecurity threats is surprisingly significant. A Stanford University study revealed that 9 in 10 data breaches result from employee mistakes. Our organizations provide a fertile ground for hackers, phishers, and other cybercriminals, making their crimes easier. This “internal valve” for cybercrime has enormous implications in how we approach the question of how cybersecurity tools can help manage an organization’s risk.
Defense in the Threat Environment
Today, more employees work in a hybrid arrangement or exclusively from home (or on the road), relying on mobile networks, home networks, and office networks to access and share data. They also access and share data from various personal devices, mobile applications, and cloud-based services. They work with third-party contractors and customers while sharing data across the cloud and multiple platforms. And last, but perhaps most importantly, these employees have varying degrees of familiarity or personal ownership of cybersecurity. You can see the layers of the threat environment.
The prevailing method is to manage cybersecurity risk by employing a layered defense strategy. A layered defense strategy integrates technology, policy, controls, and organizational mechanisms to establish variable barriers across multiple layers and the organization’s mission. At its core is a recognition that there is no single cybersecurity solution. What is missed by technology might be caught by human oversight (controls) or solid training (understanding social engineering tools, phishing, et al.). Cyber security monitoring technology might identify threats missed by controls or policy. It encourages a layered, proactive organizational mindset to avoid cyberattack.
To go more in-depth into how cybersecurity tools manage an organization’s risk, we can look at an established model many consulting firms leverage. You’ll see how they expand upon the layers of defense concept. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides one of the most highly regarded frameworks for corporate boards and owners to manage cybersecurity risk. The framework offers standard practices, provides a common language for all stakeholders and helps everyone at each level of the supply chain develop a shared understanding of their cybersecurity risks.
The NIST framework encourages owners and boards to have documented plans for each of these five functional areas relative to cybersecurity threats:
- Identify – develop an organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities.
- Protect – develop and implement appropriate safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services.
- Detect – develop and implement appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.
- Respond – develop and implement appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity incident.
- Recover – develop and implement appropriate activities to maintain resilience plans and restore any capabilities or services impaired due to a cybersecurity incident.
These are five categories within which you can organize your cybersecurity risk. The dynamism of cybersecurity threats demands the concurrent and continuous execution of these tasks as opposed to serial implementation toward a static state.
How to Move Forward with Cybersecurity Tools
When McKinsey consultants consider cybersecurity trends and what’s on the horizon, they cite three key trends:
- The growth of on-demand access to ubiquitous data and information platforms.
- Increasingly sophisticated attacks using Artificial Intelligence(AI), machine learning, and other technologies.
- An ever-growing regulatory landscape and persistent gaps in resources, knowledge, and talent outpace cybersecurity capabilities and demand.
These trends will require us to adapt our technology in ways that acknowledge and respond to that on-demand access, utilizing tools like automated surveys or zero trust architecture to evaluate third-party risk. It will require continuous updating of our cybersecurity dashboards or monitoring systems to ensure we’re one step ahead of sophisticated attacks and that you put policies and structures in place to support your organization’s internal resources tasked with cybersecurity.
According to Infosecurity Magazine, the top five cybersecurity tools companies need to implement immediately include:
- Two-factor or Multifactor Authentication for email, web apps, and more.
- Email Policy – set policy for personal emails on corporate accounts to combat phishing.
- Anti-Phishing – Leverage cloud-based anti-phishing tools and train your employees.
- Password Policy – Set and maintain a password policy and consider using a credential monitoring service.
- Virtual Private Network – The ubiquity of remote access to networks requires organizations to adapt methods to secure these cloud networks.
If you are managing cybersecurity risk, you are managing business risk. The two are tightly bound. So when you think about cybersecurity tools to manage your organization’s risk, think broadly and holistically and revisit your plan periodically as the cyber risk environment changes. Integrating your technology, business, human resource, and organizational strategies, you can manage cybersecurity risk while maintaining the continuity of your business and even creating a competitive advantage. eMPiGO’S cybersecurity services can equip you with a cybersecurity strategy so you can get peace of mind and protect your company and clients or customers.