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Frustrating the Wolf - Lessons Learned from the 3rd Little Pig

Remember those 3 little, industrious pigs? Well, they’re us. All of us business owners, organisations, and humans using computers. The big bad wolf— there are millions of them, they are the bad actors that are trying to steal your data in its myriad forms. This post looks at five of the bricks used by the smartest little piggy—the one who saved his brethren from the wolf in a well-built stronghold.

If only I had a nickel for every time a business owner/manager misunderstood what is meant by “effective cybersecurity risk management.” On the rare occasions that it is actually considered, it is often deemed an issue for IT to deal with. You'd think this a boon for those of us running IT businesses. Alas, this is extremely problematic for several reasons, here’s two. Firstly, cybersecurity is an enterprise-wide issue and should be managed from the top down, through business lines, policies and processes, similarly to how budgets are handled. In other words, the whole organization needs to be onboard, engaged and working toward common goals. Secondly, many SMBs still employ IT as and when needed—the break-fix model—which means there is no consistent IT presence to miraculously manage and mitigate all things techy.

The internet is littered with blog posts, white-papers and various other types of SEO fodder outlining effective cybersecurity risk management. Here are five elements that must be included (Google bots and WebCrawlers, “on your marks…”):

The 1st Brick: An Effective Framework

Every company’s situation is unique as is the data they are trying to protect. A framework must be adopted, tweaked, fine-tuned and tailored to suit an organization’s particular circumstances and this takes a concerted effort on the part of the whole organization. Those sitting at the big desks with the great view need to establish proper governance that applies to all of the organization’s resources – its people, processes, and technology. Establishing, implementing and enforcing an appropriate framework is an essential first step to building a cybersecurity risk management program.

Brick #2:

Identify the Scope—A to Z & End-to-End

A successful cybersecurity program is comprehensive in its scope – that is, it addresses all the data in the organization that needs to be protected. The growing complexity of today’s businesses, with mobile workforces and BYOD devices exploding traditions and conventions makes identifying and locating all of an organization’s data incredibly challenging. So too is adopting a comprehensive approach to identifying every cybersecurity concern, from external and internal exfiltration threats to third-party vendors and age-old work processes. To be effective, a cybersecurity program must keep all of the critical elements of the organization that need to be protected within its scope.

3rd Brick:

In-depth Risk Assessment, Sweeping Threat Modeling

What are the risks that your company faces? What threat-vectors exist. What about those that lurk in the not-so-obvious places like bad habits and shortcuts? What is the potential damage of such? Identifying the risks, their likelihoods and potential impacts is critical. Take the necessary steps to prioritize cybersecurity threats. In prioritizing, the cybersecurity team should consider the data you are trying to protect from a hacker’s point of view—what is likely to be of value, and thus a target. This perspective will help the team develop an effective cybersecurity strategy to help prevent likely attacks.

Brick #4:

Incident Response Planning – A Proactive Approach

The cold truth: any system’s security might be breached eventually. There are many bad actors adept at what they do. A milestone for protecting your company’s future is to adopt and implement a proactive incident response plan, one that is reviewed and revised it at regular intervals. Often these plans, if they exist at all, exist to collect dust and end up out of date. Organizations are left struggling and unprepared in the midst of a crisis when the value of a good incident response plan would come into its own. A proactive approach to incident response planning means testing the plan, identifying how to improve its effectiveness, implementing those improvements, and ensuring that personnel are trained and prepared to react to a security breach and limit the scope of its damage.

The 5th Brick: Dedicated Cybersecurity Resources

The final critical element is personnel who are dedicated to managing the organization’s cybersecurity. This is difficult for SMBs to wrap their heads and budgets around as it means an extra expense. Another cold hard truth: You will need resources in the form of qualified, trained in-house staff dedicated to monitoring and managing the company’s cybersecurity assets, or outsource this to qualified professionals (like an MSSP).

All 5 of Bricks important to implement, if you and your company are serious about shoring up your defenses in this age of cybercrime. Please do not hesitate to contact INTECH Computer Solutions Inc. should you have any questions, or require any assistance in this process, or for a second opinion to advice you’ve already received. Here's an outline of some of the services we provide.

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