Cybersecurity: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

And What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Many CIOs and CISOs are most fearful of the unknown – risky areas that perhaps they don’t think about or address (network segmentation, IAM, PAM, zero trust, cybersecurity awareness training, network security, cloud security, endpoint security, etc). This uncertainty can be paralyzing in that it may force them to take an overly cautious approach or a backward-compatibility way of doing business.

Risk management for IT leaders is a team sport where everyone’s performance matters and, as evidenced by the continuous rise in the cost of cybersecurity breaches, everyone has a stake in mitigating risk. The good news is that the best way to avoid cybersecurity breaches is to work with others (with their input and expertise) to ensure risk mitigation. The best way to mitigate risk is by applying best practices and working together to build a cybersecurity-ready culture that drives effectiveness in security strategies and plans. This does not happen overnight, but the greater the commitment, the greater the payoff. The biggest question CIOs should ask is, “Do we know what we don’t know? The answer to this question can help you drive forward on your journey to becoming more proactive in your cybersecurity strategy and planning.

Reactionary cybersecurity approaches are best abandoned in favor of action that stems from a clearly defined strategic cybersecurity roadmap. This roadmap must cover aspects such as enterprise cybersecurity risk management, cybersecurity awareness training, network security, endpoint security, IAM, etc.

Most CIOs are not cybersecurity experts, but they can apply best practices and standards to stay ahead of the threats and stay ahead of the bad guys.

By the same token, an overly cautious approach to cybersecurity is not sustainable for any enterprise. Leaders who take a clear-eyed view of their enterprise’s cybersecurity posture, and act boldly, are the ones who find success and thrive.

Dare to Be Different and Take Risks

To take action, CIOs must avoid complacency and their mindset must reflect a commitment to meet or exceed changing threats and priorities, to stay one step ahead. This requires a level of internal collaboration and communication that removes fear by creating a safe and robust cybersecurity culture that is enterprise-wide and outward facing.

More than ever, cybersecurity is an integrated, cross-disciplinary topic that requires collaboration, adaptation and synchronization among leaders, IT, cybersecurity, business and legal leaders. It is a fact that your organization is only as strong as the weakest link, and the team of CIOs must play a pivotal role in successfully steering the ship.

As cybersecurity threats are always evolving, so must we. CIOs who truly understand cybersecurity and work with others to build a robust cybersecurity culture will be the first to take full advantage of emerging opportunities that will help business survive and thrive in the security threat landscape.

Cautionary cybersecurity practices that may benefit from immediate attention include:

  • Postponing some decisions, such as introducing new cloud technologies, until your cybersecurity program is developed;
  • Proactively creating cybersecurity awareness and risk assessments for employees;
  • Installing device and software lock-down capabilities that restrict access; and
  • Clarifying your organizational policies, processes and procedures regarding data privacy and cyber threats.

Experts agree that this type of change requires significant energy and time, and while sometimes it can be difficult to stick with it, it’s ultimately worth the effort and the outcome will improve and strengthen your cybersecurity posture and, therefore, your organization’s resilience in a security crisis.

Managing the Transition to Cybersecurity Maturity

Most companies do not have all the solutions and services necessary to build a robust cybersecurity program. Some are missing key tools or practices to protect assets and their sensitive data.

Experts often say that the only way to mature your cybersecurity posture is to understand your overall risk. You must understand the sources and the value of your data, the threats, vulnerabilities, access, privileges and legal and regulatory risks you face and the threats your company faces from the outside.

To build a sound cybersecurity program, experts recommend:

  • Identifying your company’s critical assets
  • Developing an inventory of your systems and sensitive data
  • Identifying external risks by looking at who is stealing or attacking your company and why
  • And assessing your risk appetite by determining your tolerance for risk and how to address it

Implementing business-specific risk assessment frameworks

Moving from prevention to detection and response to prevent outages and data breaches requires planning. And much of it is dictated by your company’s business needs. That means that the best place to start, for most companies, is to develop a risk assessment framework.

Risk assessment is more than just identifying what data you need to protect. It’s also a plan to detect and respond to a cyber attack. This is an important first step, because without the capability to quickly detect and respond to an attack, you risk losing your data and your company’s reputation.

Identify risk and adopt an appropriate plan

Your company’s risk assessment must include your employees’ roles, responsibilities, access and knowledge of threats, tools, data breaches and how to respond to a cyber attack. Also assess the risk from both your internal and external sources.

Your risk assessment should cover both offensive and defensive functions, which can help prevent, detect and respond to an attack. An effective risk assessment would also detail your company’s legal and regulatory obligations and obligations to customers and regulators, and it should include a plan to address any gaps that have not yet been fully developed.

To help you make this happen, a risk assessment platform can play an important role, but it’s best to partner with an experienced firm and to involve your employees and IT.

Risk Assessment Is just the beginning

Even once you’ve assessed and implemented a cyber risk assessment, you’ll still have to take actions to minimize risk, such as updating software, using unique passwords, changing default credentials and implementing multi-factor authentication.

Using a risk assessment to help you address risk will help you better safeguard your company, but you must always remember that to protect your assets, you need to protect the data on them. You’ll always need to understand your potential threats, your biggest risks and the issues you are most concerned about.

We can help. The Launchpad is partnered with the most innovative cybersecurity providers in the space. We also have the most comprehensive portfolio of cybersecurity partners to help with whatever it is you need related to security. Reach out to us and we’d be happy to find you a match.