In our modern world, it’s not so much if a cyberattack strikes your business, but when.
For example, ransomware attacks (just one of the many forms of cybercrime) occur every 11 seconds (CISA 2021). When considering that stunning statistic in the context of the various ways cyber criminals can target your organization, it becomes virtually impossible to wrap your mind around how common cybersecurity issues really are.
And yet, within many organizations, only a small handful of personnel are equipped with the critical information needed for effective risk mitigation.
Before security can become the shared responsibility it should be, it is imperative that there is visibility of key vulnerabilities across your organization. An understanding of risk cannot exist without visibility. And where there is limited comprehension of security risk, it is difficult to implement best practices and expectations, prioritize important action items, and foster collaboration.
How to Decrease Risk of Cyberattack and Boost Risk Visibility: 3 Practical Strategies
1. Know exactly where you stand: Get a clear idea of your organization’s existing security posture to expose any areas of weakness.
Successful communication is built on clear, tangible information that conveys a sense of authority – and what better way to obtain that information than with a detailed cybersecurity risk assessment?
Compiling the relevant data is an essential first step, because it is this information that will serve as a foundational building block for increased visibility. Accuracy is of the utmost importance, because few things impede risk visibility more than painting a falsely positive picture of existing vulnerabilities.
Ideally, focus on an evaluation that goes beyond standard policy and document reviews and looks for unknown vulnerabilities such as weak firewall security rules, misconfigurations in various systems, poor monitoring, etc. Also, make it a priority to take a solutions-oriented approach to assessment, ensuring there are action-based steps provided to resolve security concerns.
A high-quality assessment summary can become an outstanding jumping-off point for valuable conversations, spurring questions such as:
- What does this tell us about our current security posture?
- Which aspects of this report are concerning or surprising?
- How do each of these vulnerabilities pose a risk to our reputation, data integrity, financial stability, and other aspects of our organization?
- What follow-up work will we do to correct these issues?
- What do we need to effectively address security vulnerabilities? And what steps do we need to take to secure the necessary resources/tools?
2. Mind the gap: Implement effective cybersecurity awareness and training efforts to ensure all team members are on the same page.
Of course, gathering information isn’t enough to achieve your goals for widespread visibility. Furthermore, the conversations sparked by a risk assessment shouldn’t be limited to stakeholders and organization leaders; every employee should be made aware of their role in keeping cyber threats at bay.
Untrained individuals pose a significant risk to your organization’s security strategy. In many cases, a single, well-meaning employee is the unsuspecting access point for a cybercriminal. And, particularly at a time when more employees than ever are working remotely, it has never been more important to clearly communicate risk and facilitate training opportunities.
An organization-wide cybersecurity training program can make a world of difference in mitigating risk. Awareness is an incredibly useful tool for combatting many different types of cyberattacks, so employees can both recognize risks and act accordingly. Depending on your organization’s needs, it’s often wise to consider tailoring training efforts based on various roles and responsibilities, as well as relation to risk factors.
3. Get – and stay – ahead of the curve: Fortify your approach to cyber defense with proactive and comprehensive security measures.
Finally, it should be understood that increasing the visibility of security risks is an ongoing task that requires consistent attention. It is not simply a “box” to check off your list; rather, it should be incorporated into regular security practices and protocol.
For most organizations, this means utilizing a cybersecurity plan that is proactive, not reactive. Risk-monitoring is a necessity for sustainable, effective protection and visibility, because it empowers your organization to know exactly where your security status stands at any given moment.
And beyond that, deploying an excellent strategy for cyber defense reinforces a key organizational value statement: that recognizing and responding to risk is, and always will be, a top priority.
Gaps in communication and understanding can be among the biggest threats to your organization’s cybersecurity. Even a sound cyber defense strategy can be significantly undermined by a lack of widespread visibility of cybersecurity risks, creating vulnerabilities that may not be found until it’s too late. However, there are straightforward steps you can take to resolve visibility limitations and reinforce your organization’s first line of cyber defense: its people.
I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.
Until next time,