Far too many business leaders still believe it is possible to implement effective security measures by layering them on top of established business functions. At best, that’s much more difficult and expensive than building cybersecurity into every product and project from the start. Ultimately, cybersecurity strategies that are not fully integrated into your core technologies and practices leave your business infrastructure vulnerable to risks. Your only true protection comes from fully incorporating cybersecurity into your network, applications, and devices. Most importantly, cybersecurity must be built into your policies and business practices.
There are a couple specific pieces of cybersecurity infrastructure that I’ll briefly describe here, but before I do, I want to highlight that your “human firewall” remains your most crucial frontline cyberdefense.
It’s imperative that an understanding of cybersecurity risks and robust safeguards permeate your organization. That understanding will form the foundation of your secure business infrastructure. You need to foster cybersecurity awareness by making certain that cybersecurity is championed in the C-suite and boardroom, and discussed at every department’s stand-ups.
It is also vital that all of your employees receive ongoing cybersecurity awareness training. By far, most security breaches occur because cybercriminals are experts at social engineering—tricking people into clicking on malicious links, sharing confidential information, or directly providing entry to secure systems. The most common form of social engineering attack is the oldest trick in the book: phishing for information via telephone.
A recent study by the world’s leading security awareness training and simulated phishing platform found that untrained employees pose a major risk to organizations simply because they do not know who to contact during a security breach.
The study found that more than 20% of respondents who had no cybersecurity awareness training did not know who in their organization to contact in the event of a cyberattack. Annual training brought this number down to 17%, while quarterly training reduced it to 15%. Only 12% of those who completed monthly security awareness training were in the dark about where to turn for cybersecurity help.
Lacking the benefits that come from frequent training, your employees are forced to decipher security instructions on their own. Frequent training is the best way to avoid the catastrophic mishandling of a security incident.
Cybersecurity training becomes more important as security legislation and regulations continue to evolve. Organizations of every size need to stay abreast of these constantly changing requirements, and make sure their people are familiar with the security requirements related to their industry.
Here are a couple more ways you can use the idea of security integration to protect your organization.
Build security directly into your cloud infrastructure.
Cloud migration was already experiencing widespread global adoption when the big shift to remote work forced most companies to absolutely rely on cloud services and applications. As it happened, there were significant benefits to this forced cloud migration, including lowered costs, simplified operations, and faster applications rollout.
As a result, organizations continue to migrate more of their operations to the cloud. Gartner recently forecasted that worldwide spending on public cloud services in 2023 will grow 20.7% to total $591.8 billion, up from $490.3 billion in 2022. In most companies, cloud continues to account for the largest chunk of IT spending.
It is likely that your organization is in the midst of the same digital transformation that is sweeping the globe. If so, please be aware that as you migrate your network, applications, etc.—regardless of the size of your organization—you need to ensure that your cloud infrastructure is built with cybersecurity and prevention hard-wired into the design. Do not assume your cloud or SAS provider is managing your security environment.
This can be done in five steps:
- Develop an understanding of everything in your IT environment.
- Design cloud environments with security and prevention in mind.
- Get all cloud stakeholders operating on the same page when it comes to security.
- Create a set of “policy-as-code” procedures that execute automatically in the event of a security threat.
- Set specific cloud security goals that include measurable metrics.
Adopt an app modernization strategy with built-in security.
The surest way to dramatically improve the most critical parts of your IT operations is to invest in the development of modern applications. This technology has advanced so much that it’s practically a no-brainer, and yet most companies continue to pump the lion’s share of their IT budget into legacy systems—money they should be spending on bringing their business infrastructure up to speed.
Adopting modern app design massively benefits the functioning of your overall organization, as today’s apps are capable of rapidly responding to the ever-changing needs of dynamic markets. Additionally, investing in an app modernization strategy will improve the security of your IT environment.
Security capabilities can be designed into applications rather than being layered on later. Doing so allows them to automatically perform essential security functions such as authentication, authorization, and configuration.
I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.
Until next time,