How To Build A Cybersecurity Strategy
Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent than ever, so it has never been more important than now for organizations to effectively protect their assets.
To develop a new cybersecurity strategy, or improve your existing one, read on! Here is our guide on how you can make your data more secure, today.
Where to Start With Your Cybersecurity Strategy
A cybersecurity strategy is a blueprint of how your organization plans to protect its assets and minimize cybersecurity risks. These are usually high-level plans with a three-to-five-year timeframe. These strategies should be developed to evolve and adapt to changing threat landscapes and business processes.
Having an effective cybersecurity strategy in place is essential if you want to deal with cyber threats as they arise and take a proactive approach to such challenges your business could face.
There are three main goals when it comes to creating a cybersecurity strategy.
- To prevent any security breaches from happening in the first place
- To limit any damage to the business
- To restore the functionality of your IT infrastructure after a potential cyberattack
Before you develop a cybersecurity strategy, it’s important to determine what you have to protect. Understanding the assets your company needs to protect allows you to focus your strategy and make it as effective as possible.
It’s also important to understand the risk your company currently faces. This is where a risk assessment comes in.
How To Conduct Your Cybersecurity Risk Assessment
Before conducting a cybersecurity strategy, you must conduct an extensive risk assessment to understand your cyber threat landscape. You need to examine the types of cyberattacks that your organization could face – this is called identifying your attack vectors. Over the last few years, cybersecurity threats have become even more complex, so it’s important you understand the threats you face. Some cyberattacks that you could face include malware, phishing, and insider threats.
A good place to start your risk assessment from is by looking at your competitors. It’s worth analyzing whether they have had any major incidents recently and if so, what is the nature and result of the incident. This will give you insight into broader industry threats and is the first step in your specific risk assessment.
Next, you want to get yourself up to speed with any predicted cyber threats that would affect your organization. This is where you need to conduct initial market research to identify what other companies and industries are facing in terms of cyber threats. Doing this extensively ensures that you can set up the correct security procedures to prevent such attacks from happening to your own organization. Building an effective cybersecurity strategy is rooted in understanding the threats that you are likely to face in the future and the severity of such threats.
Some questions you should ask yourself when it comes to understanding the threat landscape are as follows:
- Who are your customers?
- Who are you vendors?
- Who would benefit from your business’ data?
- Who would benefit from your business’ disruption?
The answers to these questions should help you become more familiar with the environment in which you operate.
How To Review Your Security Policies
Once you have a strong understanding of the threats you may be facing, the next step is to do an honest assessment of your current cybersecurity posture. For this, you should use a top-rated cybersecurity framework to start. Doing so will assess how mature your organization is when it comes to policies and governance, security technologies and incident recovery capabilities. Your assessment should audit all of your technology which includes traditional IT and operational technology.
Once you have this information, you can use it to determine your strengths and weaknesses. You can also use it to plan out where your company needs to be in the next five years with your cybersecurity program.
It is important to remember that for such a high-visibility program to succeed, it is best to have an Executive Sponsor within your organization. In most cases, your proposed improvements will need to be aligned with upper management’s priorities, as changing your cybersecurity program could affect how the business operates. Upper management needs to understand and expect this change. Therefore, it’s important that all parties are up to date and aligned with the process of developing a cybersecurity strategy.
How To Identify Areas of Improvement for Your Cybersecurity Posture
It’s important to carefully audit your current cybersecurity processes to identify areas of improvement to your cybersecurity posture. There are several key areas that businesses neglect during these audits resulting in missed project objectives.
Nevertheless, here are some areas you might want to consider when it comes to improving your cybersecurity posture.
Endpoint refers to the end-user’s systems such as laptops, desktops and workstations. These endpoints ultimately serve as a common entry point to an organization by bad actors. Hackers will usually gain access to a secured network or system leveraging the user’s endpoint by introducing some form of malicious code known as malware. Therefore, to counteract this, it’s important to secure these entry points by utilizing top-tier antivirus or anti-malware solutions which detect suspicious activity and deter such attempts in real time. It’s also important this kind of protection is implemented system-wide across all devices and servers users operate.
Secure Internet Access
This may seem like an obvious one but it is often neglected when it comes to developing a cybersecurity strategy. The internet is the backbone of any business and since the rise of COVID-19 and remote working, this is even more vital now than ever before. We suggest ensuring that a sensible internet use policy for employees is put in place. Implement and review your web proxy filter policies. If there is no such software in place, this becomes the perfect entry point for bad actors.
MFA is an easy to implement but effective tool in your layered cybersecurity defence. MFA replaces the single factor authentication method, commonly a username and password, which is easy to crack through techniques like brute force attacks or capture though phishing scams. By introducing another layer to authentication, MFA makes it more difficult for a bad actor to infiltrate your system or environment. At the very least, MFA is effective in notifying the appropriate user that something unexpected is happening, or that they may be a target or the vehicle for some form of malicious activity.
Secure and Regular Backups
A key feature of any cybersecurity strategy is regular backups. Recovery and reinstatement of deleted data or introduced malware greatly assists your organization in restoring services after an attack. Though it does not often resolve the root cause of the issue, recovery and restoration of services for your organization is an essential part of your cybersecurity and business continuity planning. It’s vital that your organization has a regular backup policy in place, and that the policy is reviewed and validated routinely.
Develop your Incident Response Plan
Whilst all of the above is crucial for preventing a cyberattack, it’s important to be prepared in case your organization ever does get breached. This is where you want to create an incident response plan.
Creating an incident response plan can be overwhelming, so here are our top tips for developing an effective plan that you can have confidence in.
Your incident response plan should be set up to include multiple response phases, which include:
Developing and implementing your incident response plan takes time, and you can’t afford to be unprepared for the attack’s aftermath. You need to prioritize your assets, identify risks, establish your procedures, and set up a response team.
Start Your Cybersecurity Strategy Today
Use these tips as the cornerstone of your cybersecurity strategy and risk management protocols. Ultimately, while risk can never truly be zero, being proactive about your data and environment’s security is the first crucial step towards mitigating risk, and significantly limiting potential damage to your business.