We’re just about halfway through the year, and we’ve already seen several significant breaches impacting businesses across various verticals. From Microsoft to the Red Cross to CashApp, there is no shortage of attacks and breaches, putting pressure on organizations to step up their cybersecurity.
As we continue to adjust to a dispersed workforce, IT is challenged to maintain oversight of almost unmanageable numbers of employees, devices, and applications. Preparedness is the key, and every organization should prepare itself by bolstering its cybersecurity culture, policies, and technology to prevent a cyberattack. In addition to external threats, organizations must also prepare for the potential of an insider threat and take steps to prevent a security breach in the workplace before it can wreak havoc.
Proactive + Reactive = Comprehensive
Any comprehensive cybersecurity program needs to begin with a full review of an organization’s cybersecurity posture. Cybersecurity assessments provide information that organizations can then use to prioritize remediation tasks based on the level of risk. Awareness training and specific policies are other proactive strategies organizations can take to bolster cybersecurity. Even with proactive measures in place, there is no such thing as 100% secure. Implementing detection and response technology enables organizations to be reactive if a threat penetrates the network.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to obtaining robust cybersecurity protection. Balancing proactive and reactive cybersecurity strategies is your best bet for a truly comprehensive cybersecurity program. Let’s dive a little deeper into a few of these strategies.
Build a Cybersmart Culture
A cyber-smart culture means an organization is continuously working to build a general understanding of cybersecurity and awareness of cyber threats. The best way to prevent cyberattacks is knowing how to recognize a threat and what actions to take once one is identified.
Employees are a vital part of any organization’s defense against a cyberattack, but they may only have fundamental cybersecurity knowledge unless they work in IT or cybersecurity. Proper training and solid policies enable employees to make the right decisions when encountering potential cyber threats. To prevent a security breach, organizations should be educating employees on the realities of cyber threats and maintaining an ongoing training program to keep awareness high and the team on board. This includes cultivating a culture of trust and collaboration, instilling best practices, and enabling reporting in a way that is easy, confidential, and anonymous.
Watch our webinar to find out how to implement a successful employee security awareness program.
Solidify Policies and Enforcement
A comprehensive policy with clear guidelines sets the stage for a cybersecurity-first mindset that becomes ingrained in organizational culture. Communicating consistently with objective standards that apply to all members of an organization reduces liability. It also ensures that all parties understand agreed-upon standards and best practices if an incident occurs. These baseline policies should be communicated clearly and frequently, encouraging questions and open discussion across teams and levels to ensure everyone from the newest hire to the CEO is on board.
Technology and data policies should identify what to protect and where it lives and define a user behavior baseline to understand what is normal so that organizations can monitor for abnormal activity. They should account for information security, data protection, cloud use, and equipment disposal processes. Similarly, organizations need to streamline onboarding and offboarding procedures to ensure access is updated when roles change. New team members may need a little extra training for maximum cyber success. HR and IT should work together to ensure they are entirely offboarded when employees leave the organization. Any access to sensitive information is revoked– even if the parting of ways was amicable.
Having policies before an incident or issue arises is always the best-case scenario, but it’s never too late to add one. By clearly communicating expectations through policies, training, and acknowledgments of good behavior, organizations can help everyone understand the importance of cybersecurity and their roles in defending themselves and the organization.
Streamline Access Management
Sometimes, insider threats can also be accidental or arise from complacency or human error. One way to combat this is to embrace the least privilege principle. As defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), least privilege requires that “only the minimum necessary rights should be assigned to a subject that requests access to a resource and should be in effect for the shortest duration necessary.” Further, organizations must remember to relinquish those privileges when no longer necessary. Granting permissions to a user beyond the scope of what is required can enable them to obtain or change information in ways that leave organizations open to risk.
Taking it one step further, organizations can implement a zero-trust framework that assumes network security is always at risk to external and internal threats. NIST defines zero trust as “assuming there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location or asset ownership.” Additionally, authentication and authorization (both the subject and the device) occur separately before access is allowed.
By combining proactive and reactive strategies, organizations can better prepare for and even prevent a security breach in the workplace – whether or not the threat comes from inside the house.
Webinar: Implementing a Successful Employee Security Awareness Program
Blog: Cybersecurity Threats and Attacks: The Insider Edition
Blog: The Business Impact of Cyberattacks from Insider Threats
Blog: How to Detect a Security Breach that Comes from the Inside
Resources & insights
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