Four ways businesses can stay ahead of their cybersecurity practices
Michael Armer, CISO at RingCentral
Staying on top of cybersecurity in the current digital age requires businesses to regularly evolve and keep their security practices and strategies up to date. While security experts stress the importance of security solutions such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), strong passwords and up-to-date software, it’s important to go a step further and take stock of an enterprise’s overall cybersecurity posture.
Implementing the best security practices allows for businesses and their customers to not have to worry about their cybersecurity, building trust and creating greater efficiencies across the board. Staying ahead of cybersecurity measures requires a real team effort from all levels of the business; employees as well as customers should always feel empowered to apply cybersecurity initiatives to their everyday life.
As businesses review their cybersecurity efforts to date, there are four things I believe all organisations can do to ensure they are operating in a fully secure environment.
Adopt a shared responsibility model
This year, we have seen that cybercriminals have become more advanced in their tactics and attacks have grown in sophistication, putting businesses under pressure to act quickly and effectively.
One way to combat these pressures is by adopting a shared responsibility model to help ensure that information security policies and practices are up-to-date and are comprehensive across the entire business – ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. Active awareness and accountability begins with clearly defined roles and responsibilities documented within the corporate policy. By adopting this model, businesses can better scrutinise cybersecurity objectives and practices, helping to raise cyber awareness across all departments.
Additionally, a shared responsibility model allows for regular enterprise risk reviews that ensure all departments are identifying critical security risks in their respective areas. Without this support, security leaders will struggle to identify threats and will be slow to act to mitigate them.
Deploy cybersecurity maturity frameworks
With the rise of remote and hybrid working practices, it’s vital that businesses prioritise security, privacy and compliance. To do this, organisations should use cybersecurity maturity models to provide invaluable guidance for mitigating risk throughout the entire organisation and vendor ecosystem. These frameworks help security and risk managers effectively assess the current state of cyber hygiene to better understand where there is room for improvement.
Cybersecurity maturity frameworks can also assess where there is room for strategic improvement, by providing benchmarks against industry averages to help measure a company’s progress in embedding security standards across day-to-day and strategic operations. By understanding where the business is and where the business needs to be, security leaders can effectively determine the appropriate security strategy moving forward.
Develop trust and transparency
Transparency and communication are key in earning customers’ trust should any kind of incident or breach occur.
For trust to exist, consumers and customers have a right to understand security processes and insight into how the business handles their data and personal information. Providing this kind of information will go a long way in empowering consumers and customers to apply their own cybersecurity initiatives to their daily lives, potentially saving them (and businesses) from future breaches.
A robust security policy extends far beyond data protection and incident response – it encompasses customers, investors, regulators and employees. Policies and initiatives, like security awareness training and ongoing compliance with industry regulations, can mean the difference between a necessary evil and a trusted partner. Therefore, it’s imperative to include security and trust as driving principles from the get-go.
Make cybersecurity a core business value
Genuine security should always be at the core of every business model. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and other senior leadership teams must embed security and privacy across all data-related initiatives from the start, rather than adding it on later. Leaders must also work hard to demystify cybersecurity and demonstrate how a few behavioural changes can protect the entire business, whilst clearly defining the consequences of inadequate security measures.
It is the responsibility of security leaders to keep organisations ready to handle rising threats by building and promoting a strong cybersecurity culture. By fostering this culture, businesses will not only protect against organisational threats, but will be able to effectively communicate their security strategy to achieve cross-functional alignment and stakeholder buy-in.