As society becomes increasingly digitized, the need for robust cyber security measures heightens. From critical infrastructure to personal data, the consequences of a successful cyber attack can be devastating. Your business’s reputation, customer trust, and bottom line may all be at risk if you’re not taking appropriate steps to protect your data.
So, where do you think your company stands on the cyber security spectrum? Do you have a dedicated team or department responsible for managing cyber risks? Is your strategy well-documented, or does it need some work?
A few key elements should be included in any effective cyber security management strategy. However, before we look at those, let’s take a step back and understand what cyber security encompasses.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security protects electronic information from unauthorized access or theft. It includes everything from your company’s confidential data to your employees’ personal information.
There are various types of cyberattacks, but they can generally be classified into two categories:
- Malware Attacks: These are attacks involving malicious software designed to damage or disable computers.
- Phishing Attacks: These are attacks that attempt to trick people into divulging confidential information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
What protects you from these attacks is your cyber security management strategy. It is essential to have a well-rounded system considering the different attack types. A professional with a relevant cyber security management certification can help you develop an appropriate strategy for your business.
Critical Elements of a Cyber Security Management Strategy
The strength and effectiveness of your strategy will depend on a few key elements. Here are the most important ones:
The Governance Model
The governance model sets the tone for your organization’s approach to cyber security. It should outline the responsibilities of everyone involved in managing cyber risk, from the board of directors to individual employees. Cyber security is not just the responsibility of your IT department. Everyone in the organization has a role to play in protecting data.
The governance model should also establish clear lines of communication between different departments. It will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding cyber security and that no one is siloed in their approach.
Risk Assessment and Management
Do you know what your organization’s most valuable assets are? Do you know where your vulnerabilities lie? A comprehensive risk assessment is the first step in developing a robust strategy. Next, you must know who your enemies are.
There are two kinds of risks you need to be aware of:
- Internal Risks: These are risks from your organization, such as disgruntled employees or weak passwords.
- External Risks: These are risks from outside your organization, such as hackers or viruses. They take and go but leave a mess behind.
Your risk management framework should identify the different types of risks and establish protocols for dealing with them. You must review and update it regularly to ensure it is still relevant.
Once you know your organization’s most valuable assets, you need to protect them. Data classification categorizes data based on its sensitivity. It will help you determine what level of security is appropriate for each data type.
There are three levels of data sensitivity:
- Public: This data is available to anyone and does not need to be protected.
- Sensitive: This data is not publicly available but may be shared with trusted parties. It should be protected from unauthorized access.
- Confidential: This data is susceptible and should only be accessed by authorized individuals. You must protect it from unauthorized access and disclosure.
As an organization, you know where to put your most resources to achieve the goals. In terms of cyber security, your assets are your data and systems. You need to protect them from both internal and external threats.
There are many different ways to protect your assets, but some of the most common methods include:
Firewalls: It is a system that controls traffic flow between two networks. It can be used to block or allow traffic from specific IP addresses.
Encryption: It is a process of transforming data into a form that can only be read by authorized individuals. Encrypting data makes it much more difficult for hackers to access it.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems: These systems are designed to detect and prevent unauthorized access to computer systems.
Access Control: This process restricts access to systems and data to authorized individuals.
Other Aspects to Consider:
Besides the key elements, there are other aspects to consider when developing a cyber security management strategy. These include:
Employee Training and Awareness
Data security is as strong as the people responsible for it. That’s why it’s crucial to have a comprehensive training and awareness program for all employees. This program should educate employees on the importance of cyber security and how to protect sensitive data.
It should also include regular awareness training so that employees know the latest threats and how to protect themselves.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
No matter how thoroughly you protect your systems, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. For this reason, it’s important to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. This plan should outline how you will keep your business running in a major outage or security breach. In addition, you could consider investing in cyber insurance to help cover the costs of a breach.
Regular Testing and Monitoring
You can’t just set up your security systems and forget about them. They must be regularly tested and monitored to ensure they are working correctly. It includes both manual and automated testing. Automated testing can be done using tools like vulnerability scanners.
Experienced security professionals should do manual testing. They will look for weaknesses in your systems and try to exploit them. It will help you find and fix any vulnerabilities before attackers use them.
Cybersecurity is no longer just an IT issue; it has become a boardroom-level concern. As a result, you need a comprehensive cybersecurity management strategy to protect your company’s critical assets. It starts with understanding your risk profile and translating it into specific actions to mitigate those risks.
The next step is implementing these actions through technology, process, policy, and people.
And finally, you need to monitor and adjust your strategy continually as new threats emerge. Following these steps, you can create a cybersecurity framework to protect your business from online threats.