cybersecurity-cant-be-siloedCybersecurity affects every part of a business in which technology is involved. For most modern companies, technology and cybersecurity are both enterprise-wide concerns. To make the most of cybersecurity, people and solutions must come together and break down silos.

Explore the Data in Favor of Enterprise-Wide Security Management

The Ponemon Institute conducted a survey of 600 IT leaders in small- and mid-sized organizations. Of those surveyed in 2016, 50 percent identified at least one data breach in the past year and 59 percent of the organizations do not keep track of employee password and security practices. A separate study on the cost of data breaches illustrates the rising costs associated with a data breach. Each breach costs an average of $4 million. The most recent data from the Identity Theft Resource Center (IRTC) suggests that the majority of data breaches in 2016 have affected the health care sector, the government sector, and the business sector.

In addition to the prevalence and cost of cybersecurity threats, 60 percent of attacks involve malicious or accidental insider actions. To succeed in threat management, companies must evaluate people, processes, and technological solutions.

Break Down Security Silos with These Insights

Everyone from the office supplies clerk to the top rainmaker in the organization must play an active role in cybersecurity for companies to overcome constantly changing security threats. As cybercriminals use more sophisticated methods, including phishing and ransomware attacks, companies can use these insights to eradicate silos and effectively manage security:

    1. Focus on a top-down approach. Security management requires strategy, speedy decision-making, and enforcement. Leadership must understand and drive security-oriented activities across the organization. From creating strong enforcement policies to addressing immediate threats in a timely fashion, executive leadership must create a culture of cybersecurity awareness to keep everyone involved.

    2. Treat employee education as an ongoing objective.
    Market the risks and solutions of cybersecurity with an in-house cybersecurity campaign. Create a cybersecurity curriculum for employee onboarding, yearly refreshers, and change management. Incentivize participation for increased adoption rates. Employee access points represent a significant vulnerability in business security, and education will keep the security conversation moving forward.

    3. Prioritize security in every activity. Consider security for every business activity including email management, remote network access, and cloud-based and onsite software usage. Discuss security in new product demonstrations, as part of SLAs (service-level agreements), and during infrastructure management activities. Any activity connected to the network represents a possible vulnerability. Develop a system of checks and balances to maintain productivity without sacrificing security.

    4. Develop an actionable and informative security policy. A strong security policy formalizes employee expectations, employer responsibilities, and threat response protocols. In order to create transparency throughout the organization, create a comprehensive policy to hold individuals and management accountable for strong cybersecurity practices and further eliminate silos.

    5. Use a risk assessment and ongoing audits to improve security. Unless an organization understands its vulnerabilities, it cannot move away from isolated security practices. Invest in an enterprise-wide risk assessment to identify security threats and use ongoing assessments to maintain adequate security practices over time.

    6. Consider security from all angles. Security practices involve onsite employees, remote workers, BYOD (bring your own device) users, onsite hardware and software, cloud-based services, and IoT devices. Each of these potential vulnerabilities deserves attention during cybersecurity activities. From training employees about strong password usage to encrypting file transfers with adequate solutions, companies must consider every potential back door threat.

Security management requires more than the IT department’s firewall and network management practices. To enhance cybersecurity, organizations must create an enterprise-wide dialogue regarding cybersecurity and data privacy.

Photo Credit: Topcount Flickr via Compfight cc