The most direct path to comprehensive cyber security is by choosing to undergo a cyber security transformation. This is a valuable way to ensure that your organization has proactive fortification against a wide array of cyber threats. There are 6 main cyber security transformation steps:
- Decide whether to contract help.
- Review and assess vulnerabilities.
- Prioritize and set goals.
- Implement internal strategies.
- Accept flux.
- Make future plans.
Keep reading to learn about the ins and outs of a cyber security transformation: what it is, why it matters, what each step involves, and how it can help your organization build its defenses against ever-evolving digital dangers.
What Is a Cyber Security Transformation?
Many organizations have already undergone a digital transformation, during which cyber security concerns often present themselves. But what is a cyber security transformation exactly?
Simply put, a cyber security transformation is a holistic approach to discovering and overhauling critical gaps or vulnerabilities within an organization’s operational security and other technological infrastructures. A cyber transformation can help to fortify your information assurance and guard your data against cyber attacks.
Cyber transformations encourage strategic planning to allocate time and resources as well as prioritize specific technologies and vulnerabilities for optimal results. Time must be spent assessing current infrastructure, training and educating employees, and replacing legacy technology with cutting-edge systems.
The biggest mistake companies make is the misconception that cyber risk is a cordoned-off subset of IT. Cyber security is as much a business problem as it is a technical one.
That’s why cyber transformations are always integrative. Don’t just aim to transform your infrastructure—strive to transform your organization’s mentality, from business leaders to interns and everyone in between. Aim to optimize for cyber security with every business decision by aligning the incentives between profit and protection.
6 Cyber Security Transformation Steps for Success
Here are 6 steps to keep in mind for a successful cyber security transformation.
1. Decide Whether to Contract Help
After evaluating your budget and in-house capabilities, decide on whether your organization should use internal or external IT support for your cyber security transformation. It is important to remember that a cyber transformation is an investment.
Security expenditures are a critical part of any company budget, and investing in proactive protection is far less expensive than the cost of network downtime, ransom demands, compliance violations, and more that can stem from a successful cyberattack. Money spent on protection is also an investment in stakeholder trust and the protection of present and future assets.
2. Review and Assess Vulnerabilities
Today, information is often stored and spread across multiple platforms. But this dramatic increase in data access points puts operations at risk.
With pre-existing exposures inherent within the Internet of Things (IoT) compounded against recent increases in remote work, assets are constantly moving through unprotected servers and networks. A single company can have hundreds of endpoints.
From a hacker’s perspective, vulnerabilities are everywhere. Beginning the process of proactive vulnerability remediation means finding, reviewing, and assessing your organization’s vulnerabilities. By identifying the most critical susceptibilities in your organization, you can strategically prioritize which vulnerabilities you target first.
3. Prioritize and Set Goals
Once you’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of where your vulnerabilities lie, prioritization and goal-setting come into play. Implementing strong “blanket” protections across the board may seem like the obvious solution to cyber threat remediation, but blanket protection can be costly and drain your business of limited resources.
Differential protection plans should target assets that are either extremely vulnerable or valuable. Setting specific targets will allow companies to keep better track of the channels resources are being funneled through.
A successful cyber transformation will synthesize both short-term immediacies and long-term, more holistic goals. Once all this groundwork has been embedded and approved, the cyber security transformation team can develop timelines and outline specific duties and responsibilities to target these predetermined priorities.
4. Implement Internal Strategies
While an external team will likely take the lead on helping you assess risk, continuously monitor your IT systems, and strategize solutions, cultivating and reinforcing an internal culture of cyber security awareness among your employees is critical to any efforts to fortify your data.
This part of a cyber security transformation can take many forms, and it should be on ongoing, cyclical effort. When bolstering company-wide cyber security awareness, consider some of the following methods:
- Training sessions help employees understand any new technologies they may have to use in their daily operations. This also helps employees familiarize themselves with any new security protocols.
- Guidebooks and virtual tutorials fill in any extraneous gaps between training sessions. They can be referenced throughout the day when superiors aren’t present or available to answer lingering questions.
- New protocols will help mitigate the risk of less protected endpoints, such as those used in remote work. For example, establishing a B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device) policy as it pertains to telecommuting can be simple and effective. B.Y.O.D. policies may include the enforcement of data encryption standards, dual-authentication, and VPNs.
- Awareness campaigns teach employees about why cyber security should matter to them, what role every employee must take in enterprise security, and how they can identify and respond to threats. Employees should have a personal stake in threat preparedness and prevention.
- Accountability and reporting systems are crucial when employees inevitably encounter evidence of scams, fraudulence, phishing attacks, or other cyber threats. They should understand their responsibility and accountability for reporting threats, as well as exactly how they should respond to a potential attack and report it appropriately.
- Outreach to customers and vendors/suppliers can be tricky as your company grows. Still, it is advantageous to keep them informed and alert to changes in security protocols or possible threats they may encounter.
5. Accept Flux
The work of a cyber transformation must be ongoing and adaptive. Timelines may not always be cut and dry, and new issues could crop up along the way. From a managerial perspective, patience and persistence are essential.
One of the goals of cyber security transformation is to establish robust proactive and reactive cyber security strategies. With both human efforts and artificial intelligence, your organization should be preparing itself to detect and fight evolving threats on a regular basis.
6. Make Future Plans
During the transition period, integrating new IT systems to existing legacy technology can temporarily increase an organization’s vulnerability to cyber threats. That’s why this final step is both proactive and reactive. Should the worst occur, you’ll want to be ready with the following:
- Disaster recovery plans coalesce policies, procedures, tools, timelines, and responsibilities to be put into immediate effect once disaster occurs. In addition to cyber security plans, they may include financial, legal, and PR-oriented instructions for recovery.
- Cyber insurance can help cover liabilities when it comes to cyber attacks and their resulting data losses or breaches, business interruptions, compliance issues, and more.
- Frequent patching keeps your software up to date, making it more impenetrable to threats.
- Data backups ensure that if important data is lost, stolen, or compromised, copies of it will be readily accessible for your organization’s recovery.
Talking about data breaches as an eventuality isn’t an indicator of operational weakness. Instead, treat it as a demonstration of preparedness.
Should You Undergo a Cyber Security Transformation?
There are plenty of reasons why a cyber security transformation may not only be logical but necessary:
- For organizations looking to switch from a reactive approach to a proactive approach to cyber security, a cyber transformation will most definitely be in order. Anticipating potential threats before an attack can help you prepare and minimize damages to assets. A proactive approach can also prevent a damaged public reputation. Research shows that 57% of customers place more blame on the company than the hacker when data is stolen.
- Remember that cyber attacks affect everyone, not just wealthy corporations. Small businesses are more likely to continue operating on affordable and unsafe legacy infrastructure. Thus, in a highly dynamic market, they are often the first to be targeted. A cyber transformation can help bring them up to speed.
- When businesses and companies transfer more and more of their assets online, they become unwitting participants in a phenomenon known as the cyber arms race, a contest between the development of security technology and the weaponization of hacking technology to counter such security efforts. It is absolutely critical for all businesses to stay informed, well-equipped, and ever ready to counter any fresh threats.
- A cyber security transformation can be necessary to increase scalability, or an organization’s ability to grow, expand, and adapt to the demands of consumers. Due to increasingly globalized supply chains and business models, vulnerabilities connecting a growing number of external parties are constantly being generated.
- If your organization is being considered for a merger or acquisition, exhibiting trustworthiness and accountability to interested buyers and investors is paramount. An efficient cyber security transformation can be used as proof of watertight operations, making your business a confident investment.
- New laws, regulations, and compliance standards affecting data security are always appearing. These often demand new cyber transformations as well.
- The dramatic increase in remote work since the onset of COVID-19 has led to a staggering 400% increase in cyber crime, as reported by the FBI. Sensitive data is being accessed via poorly protected or unencrypted endpoint devices, leaving it vulnerable to attack. Though strides are being taken to address the pandemic, experts predict that remote work will continue to function as a mainstay in economic ecosystems, meaning these weak points will only continue to be exploited.
Entrust Us with Your Cyber Security Transformation
Here at Sentient Digital, Inc., we provide comprehensive cyber security solutions to protect your organization against a volatile and ever-changing digital landscape. Our experts can tailor our services to fit your unique infrastructure, needs, and concerns.
Contact us today for professional support with your cyber security transformation and efforts.