What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity, also known as IT security, is that set of technologies, tools, techniques, processes and practices developed and used to protect the integrity of internet-connected systems and networks, devices, programs and data from cyber-attacks, digital or physical damage and unauthorized access/ breaches/ thefts.
The proliferation of the internet and the advent of technology which has led to organizations to store all their data online or in digital systems rather than as hard copies, data that contains sensitive information such as financial data, intellectual property, personal information, etc. There is also a widespread use of cloud technologies, creating assets in shared networks and giving access to such data to third-parties, etc. Their networks too are increasingly unstructured, decentralized and dispersed. All these factors together have led to data, systems and other digital assets to cybersecurity risks and threats that are vexing and extremely challenging for organizations. Therefore, cybersecurity has become a critical aspect of organizational functioning.
Building an effective cybersecurity strategy
Organizations must understand that an effective cybersecurity is not just about investing more or increasing the amount of infrastructure but to have an effective and dynamic strategy.
Clear vision and priorities: The step in building a cybersecurity strategy is to have clarity in vision, objectives and priorities.
Assess the threats, gaps and security capabilities: You must know the organization’s risk appetite (level of acceptable risk) and priority areas of investment so that the strategy can reflect the same. This can be done by engaging in a thorough assessment and analysis of the magnitude, nature and types of risks and threats facing the organization and gaps in the current cybersecurity plan. The organization must also have a clear understanding of its current infrastructure and security capabilities (human resource, software-hardware, etc.) to develop the strategy accordingly.
Playing offense and defense:
- Technical silos create gaps and fault lines within the organization which put cybersecurity at high risk since hackers consciously look for such gaps to breach into networks. The different teams must be integrated to work together on cybersecurity through an end-to-end approach.
- Establish feedback channels will help find red flags in the strategy and remediate these as and when they crop up.
- The organization must have a monitoring system for insider threats.
- A strong feedback system should be established to find red flags in the strategy and remediate these as and when they crop up.
- Testing exercises should be conducted regularly to challenge the organization’s cybersecurity program and to identify gaps that still exists, discover residual and unaddressed attack vectors and accordingly, take up remedial measures.
- Incorporate automation for certain routine aspects of cybersecurity like day-to-day security and compliance checks, reducing the time and energy of the employees spent on such activities and also enhancing routine security.
- Put in place contingency/ incidence response plans to successfully face breaches and minimize losses.
Proactive Mindset and Awareness Building: All teams should have a proactive mindset towards cybersecurity and must be aware of all the measures in place. Regular training and support to teams will help in this.
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