What is a cybersecurity strategy and how can a company develop one?

What is a cybersecurity strategy and how can a company develop one?

The number of users, devices and resources on enterprise networks is growing exponentially. With this expanding attack surface, a company’s assets, intellectual property, reputation, personnel and customer data are at risk.

It’s no wonder cybersecurity has gained prominence with many organizations investing in more sophisticated technical solutions. But just because a company has all the network security solutions in place it would be unwise to become complacent with a security posture. While technology solutions are an essential piece of the defense puzzle, those resources can only take you so far if you lack a cybersecurity strategy.

Business leaders, decision makers and key stakeholders who spend time assessing their specific organizational priorities, customer and employee requirements and overall risk profile are often in a much better position to minimize risk exposure.

What is a cybersecurity strategy?

A cybersecurity strategy is made up of high-level plans for how an organization will go about securing its assets and minimizing cyber risk. Like a cybersecurity policy, the cybersecurity strategy should be a living document that is adaptable to today’s evolving threat landscape and business climate. Generally, cybersecurity strategies are developed with a three- to five-year view, but should be updated and reviewed as often as possible.

While cybersecurity policies are more detailed and specific, cybersecurity strategies are more of a blueprint for your organization to guide key stakeholders as the business and business environment evolves.

Objectives of your cyber strategy

One of the most critical objectives for any cybersecurity strategy is to achieve cyber resilience. To be resilient, business leaders must remember that each organization is unique and requires a customized strategy approach. Just like relying on one security product or vendor to completely eradicate all threats, there is no one-size-fits-all cybersecurity strategy that adequately addresses the needs of every business.

To achieve the ultimate goal of resilience, cybersecurity strategy will require a shift in mindset from REACTIVE to PROACTIVE. Rather than focusing on reacting to incidents, the most effective strategies emphasize the importance of preventing cyberattacks. That said, any solid cybersecurity strategy also puts you in a better position to respond to an attack. In the event the organization is victimized, a successful strategy can make the difference between a minor incident and a major one.

Benefits of Proactive Cybersecurity

When it comes to managing risk, a proactive approach is always superior to a reactive one. But being proactive, especially when new threats are being discovered and detected at such an alarming rate, is easier said than done.

Unfortunately in most organizations and cybersecurity departments, a reactive approach is the norm.

According to studies conducted by the Ponemon Institute where 577 U.S. IT and IT security professionals were surveyed, the need to strive toward proactivity is emphasized:

– 69% of respondents admitted that their company’s security approach is reactive and incident-driven.

– 56% of respondents expressed concern that their IT security infrastructure contained coverage gaps, allowing attackers to bypass network defenses.

– Forty percent of respondents do not track or measure the company’s IT security posture.

A proactive cybersecurity approach not only puts the enterprise ahead of attackers, but can also help maintain and even exceed regulatory requirements. Proactive strategies provide the structure and guidance to help you stay prepared and avoid the confusion that can arise. With uncertainty and confusion minimized, measures for incident prevention, detection and response are dramatically improved.

When proactive security is adopted, the organization will be positioned to:

➜ Ensure that cybersecurity aligns with its business vision.

➜ Foster a security conscious culture.

➜ Understand your high-risk areas.

➜ Implement an assessment program to identify risks, threats and vulnerabilities.

➜ Address security beyond compliance.

➜ Invest equally in prevention, detection and response.

Developing a cyber strategy for a business

Running a business without a cybersecurity strategy is like the children’s game “squash the mole”: as soon as one incident is fixed, another one pops up.

Developing a cybersecurity strategy is equally challenging: you need to address resource scarcity, manage a complex technology stack, train end users, manage board expectations, and strive for compliance. On top of this, all pieces of the strategy must be consistent: tools and resources that are out of sync can restrict visibility into changing events and risks in an organization’s security landscape. In addition, a non-integrated system creates a high risk of human error, and verifying data across multiple consoles is time-consuming.

Successful companies must transform their security programs to better align with their business and IT strategies. Effective security strategies require a risk-based approach that balances people, processes and technologies.

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