There are estimates that losses due to cybercrime have exceeded $1 trillion annually and continue to rise. The increase in cybercrime has to do with several factors, the major reasons being due to an increase in cybercriminal funding, and the increase in the number of network-based devices. Cybercriminals have become highly organized and skilled outfits, some of which are backed by Nation States. Plus, the attack surface is growing due to the explosion of network-connected devices which enhance the way we communicate and how we interact with the world. With the risks on the rise, organizations must invest in cybersecurity and continue to remain vigilant.
Simply stated, cybersecurity is the management of cyber risks. Cybersecurity should be on every organization’s radar, if it is not already, due to the exponential rise in cybercrime. Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity there is no magic bullet, instead, cybersecurity is a practice that should be carried out. There are strategic steps that can be taken to help improve the overall cyber defense of an organization, some of these are explained below.
Adopting a cybersecurity framework is an important first step. An example of a good cybersecurity framework can be found on the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) website (https://www.nist.gov/cyberframework). NIST’s overarching strategy is based on what is referred to as the CIA triad, which starts with a strategic focus on three elements: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of each system. NIST’s website details a cybersecurity framework as having five functions: Identification, Protection, Detection, Response, and Recovery. Each function is described in detail and guides as to how they can be employed. It is important to point out that the fifth function is Recovery, NIST identifies that there is always a possibility a cyber attack could succeed, therefore they recommend taking steps to establish a process for recovering from such an incident. If developing a cybersecurity framework is outside of your organization’s area of expertise, some companies offer consulting in this area and can help develop an RMF (Risk Management Framework) tailored to your organization.
Cybersecurity is a team effort, while some organizations have cybersecurity/IT security departments, the responsibility can not be theirs alone. With the negative unemployment of cybersecurity professionals, most organizations will find themselves shorthanded. Therefore, cybersecurity must be the responsibility of the entire organization from the C-suite down to the part-time staff and contractors. Training is especially important, staff members should receive training and be provided guidelines on good cybersecurity practices. Training on things like password management, email security, social engineering, and safe internet browsing are all good places to start. Each technical team IT, AV, multi-media, etc. should be enabled to help mitigate risks of their respective systems and employ processes and cybersecurity software.
Cybersecurity software can play a vital role and become a valuable team member in helping with elements of asset and network security. Cybersecurity tools are the backstop in helping reduce cyber risks in an automated fashion. The organization can increase its depth of defense by implementing a layered approach to cybersecurity software. There are lots of cybersecurity tools available, deciding on which tools are best entirely depend on the organization and the types of networks and assets they have. Keep in mind, what may be working for one company may not be effective for another based on devices used on their specific networks. As an example, if your organization has an element of AV and IoT, employing purpose-built cybersecurity monitoring for these systems increases the chances of detecting vulnerabilities vs using tools that do not specialize in these components and could miss them. HiCLIFF (www.hiclifftech.com) as an example offers a practical way to manage and secure AV and media networks, through detailed network visibility, device risk profiling, and media tracking. Because cyber threats constantly evolve, teams should look to tools that offer continuous monitoring versus occasional static scans. Also, once they have implemented a software solution, teams should remain vigilant and continue to evaluate new strategies and techniques as they come along.
Companies must understand that they cannot completely prevent a cyber attack from succeeding, but by being proactive they can lower the risk or reduce its impact. As illustrated above, the best way to be proactive is to ensure cybersecurity is practiced across the organization, including a dedicated focus on network-based systems.