As networks continue to evolve, security leaders across industries are looking to improve security posture by implementing cybersecurity best practices to keep pace with innovation and ensure operations continuity. From enterprise IT to industrial OT, the traditional perimeter is disappearing. As a result, CISOs must advance their security strategies by maturing their risk management practices.
Developing a Cybersecurity Strategy Starts by Managing Risk
To appropriately manage security risk, organizations must consider it a continuous process rather than a iterative series of points in time. Building out a modern cybersecurity strategy means moving away from the assumption that compliance is a sign of security. To ensure true protection, CISOs must create a strong risk management foundation that acts as the core of their security programs rather than chasing compliance as the ultimate goal.
Frameworks like the HITTRUST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center of Cyber Excellence help address this issue by providing a foundation for building robust cybersecurity strategies without basing one’s security posture solely on maintaining a compliance program.
Similarly, in the OT space, innovation and digital transformation also impact security across the manufacturing, Energy and Utilities, and Transportation verticals. However, these verticals are uniquely challenged as they must manage and protect legacy hardware and software while securing the cyber-physical space.
So, while organizations may implement security differently, each must start by building a steady foundation based on risk management.
Situational awareness means understanding behaviors, being able to analyze them, and breaking the kill chain. Understanding the value of situational awareness necessitates the need to design in cybersecurity best practices to achieve a greater level of resilience.
By building on a risk management framework, CISOs can start with transparency to develop the ultimate configuration. Situational awareness means designing technology in ways that reduce the overall risk, including foundational practices like encrypting data and establishing strong Identity and Access Management (IAM) practices.
Invest in People
World events, like the pandemic, serve to amplify bad actor. Malicious actors often seek to disrupt businesses by targeting employees. Conversely activity, a CISO strategy that produces situationally aware employees can serve to deter or even disrupt malicious actor campaigns. This can be accomplished through cybersecurity training that teaches users what to look out for in the case of a cyberattack, including a phishing scam. As companies continue to operate in remote and hybrid environments, it will become even more crucial to help employees enhance their awareness of potential threats.
Gain Visibility Across Networks
Risk management is a means to gain visibility across the entire landscape, including the proliferation of technologies employed within organizations. A typical byproduct of rapid innovation is often characterized by increased complexity within the business environments.
Proliferation of Applications and Devices
Across industries, organizations continue to add new applications and devices to streamline operations and enrich customer experiences.
Gaining visibility into these applications and endpoints remains critical, as organizations cannot secure access points that elude detection and process accounting. The rise in ransomware attacks adds to this concern, especially since many devices often reside outside the traditional organizational perimeter.
Converge Networking and Security
Historically, many organizations never had to manage the remote edge as they relied on in-person, on-location workforce processes. Now, they need to address these remote edges regularly – potentially for the long term. Threat actors understand this and thrive on disruption.
Considering this, it is vital that organizations design security into the environment without incurring latency that is attributed to the solution as that outcome is untenable from a business perspective. The abiding principle in most companies is safe and continuous operations, as they often measure their profit based on productivity. This includes adopting networking solutions that enable continued availability and speed while ensuring consistent protection. Secure, high-speed connectivity, similar to what is achieved when leveraging SD-WAN to drive secure remote connections while maintaining security, will be mission-critical as organizations maintain a remote distributed workforces.
Automate Detection and Response
When executing a robust cybersecurity strategy, many organizations adopt point solution tools that respond to niche security needs. This, in turn, leads to too much technology and too little integration. Security tool sprawl creates too many moving parts with disparate technologies that cannot communicate with one another. To combat this security tool sprawl, organizations need tightly integrated security solutions.
It is also important to view cybersecurity as a business enabler rather than a detractor and choose solutions that incorporate analytics to enhance detection and automate response capabilities. This can be accomplished via platforms that enable integrated incident detection, response, and recovery to help security teams stop the kill chain as quickly as possible.
Governance Is Key for an Effective Security Program
Technology governance, both from the security program and tool management viewpoint, is the key to building an effective cybersecurity strategy.
Organizations require integrated solutions that enable robust risk management and tightly couple endpoint security, network security, and situation awareness. At the same time, these solutions should help them govern their security posture.
By considering these factors, CISOs can build the framework for a cybersecurity strategy that can withstand any past, present, and emerging threat.
John Gichohi is the Systems Engineer East Africa at Fortinet EA.