Any company with some type of digital presence cannot escape from the risk of a cyber attack. However, it’s possible to minimize impact by responsibly securing systems, devices and data. And if your cybersecurity is just as motivated as today’s malicious actors, there are tools at your disposal to help you build a tougher defense.
1. Prioritize Compliance
Every nation state has some form of data regulation to protect the public from cyber threats. And if you’re the type of business that waits until the last minute, instead of performing regulation checks as a standard practice, your operation will suffer from the extreme pressure to deliver an enormous amount of compliance work.
A secure and compliant organization is what data protection regulations worldwide mandate your business to build and maintain. It must be secure enough to mitigate as many risks as possible and be compliant with every single rule/guideline.
The most important aspect to remember is that these regulations take into consideration your remote work environment as well. No matter how centralized or decentralized your IT environment is, you must prove that you have undertaken the necessary measures to protect the integrity of sensitive data.
Your commitment to compliance across all work environments, proven with the required documentation, is the only way you can avoid regulatory action against your business.
2. Mind Your Supply Chain
Many companies don’t realize just how dependent we are on the services that suppliers deliver nowadays. Most of the systems and resources that power our businesses are in some data center, cloud or physical office in another part of the world. Our endpoint devices become more of a terminal to access our data, which resides in a location we have no control over.
And as supply-chain attacks grow increasingly common, risk managers in both public and private sectors should be mindful of business-ending scenarios in case of a breakdown. A heightened sensitivity to a potential supply chain crisis helps us prepare for extreme challenges such as longer lead times, reduced capacity or having to seek new suppliers.
It’s not just your own systems that you should be focusing on; consider who else in your supply chain has access to your data and systems. Using a secure integrated risk management system to work with suppliers, rather than sharing spreadsheets for example, can help reduce the risk of breaches.
3. Have A Business Continuity Action Plan
Generally, a cyber security problem can be contained and it will be business-as-usual in no time. But these are such perilous times that the next cyber attack could have a devastating impact. Your business continuity plan should cover prolonged downtime from a widespread attack and include contingency processes such as an analog way of doing business i.e. using pencil-and-paper for days, weeks, or months. Re-examine your business continuity plan by asking –
- If my IT systems go down, how am I going to track my inventory, manage my accounts, secure data or communicate with my team?
- How can a cyberattack affect the organization’s goals?
- How does it impact the outcomes your organization desires?
- Organizations have very clear outcomes that they aim to achieve monthly, quarterly or annually, but can a cyberattack change them?
- What are the risks that are introduced by a cyberattack? And what are the assets that are at risk?
4. Implement Ongoing Cybersecurity Training
When your employees are focused on the job you hired them to do and when faced with to-do lists, distractions, and pressure to get things done quickly, cognitive loads become overwhelming and mistakes can happen. What can leaders do to correct their team’s damaging online behaviors and prevent, or reduce the impact of, the next cyber attack?
The answer is in investing significant time and resources in training employees across the organization on cybersecurity best practice. Since employees are at the frontline, it helps to empower them with cybersecurity knowledge and take a more proactive security stance.
Cybersecurity training, however, is not a “one and done” task. The landscape is changing so fast that it requires almost constant attention just to keep up. Training also takes time and repetition — especially for new skills or procedures. Fiercely protect the training budget, prioritize time for training, and create opportunities for everyone — from basic users to the pros, to apply what they have learned.
5. Shift To DevSecOps
The DevOps model is dedicated towards automating and integrating IT and software development functions, while DevSecOps extends to embedding security as a priority and a shared responsibility throughout the development lifecycle. Cited as ‘critical’ or ‘important’ by CISOs, DevOps and DevSecOps topped the rankings for “must-have processes and frameworks” for enterprise IT staff.
The next most important operating models, according to CISOs, are agile practices, site reliability engineering (SRE), design or system thinking, and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Add to that long list of ‘must-have technical skills’ are demonstrable knowledge of cloud computing technologies, followed by container orchestration, modern computing technology and architectures, and application technologies.
Practice Cybersecurity In All Areas Of The Business
Cybersecurity is an operational task that is part of every business. It’s the job of every business leader to know about it. Even if there are experts on staff or outside cybersecurity consultants who were hired, leaders should have a working knowledge of cybersecurity basics, the company’s posture, and areas where the organization faces risk — allowing the security leader to make informed decisions.
That’s why you need to ensure everyone in your organization can defend your business against threats. Consult with UDT’s Expert Advisory for a deep-dive on cybersecurity business practices, protecting data, and establishing resilience to your organization’s unique threats.