5 Tips to Implement an Effective Cyber security Program in your organisation

Cyber Security Program

Today, modern businesses are leveraging new technologies, implementing new strategies and continuously testing their limits to improve their organisational cyber security postures. Cyber security threats are continuously targeting businesses of all sizes and types, therefore, improving organisational cyber security and implementing effective security measures remain a high priority for businesses all over the world. As digital security threats become increasingly sophisticated, modern-day businesses cannot rely on traditional security programs with ineffective security techniques, policies and procedures.

Improving organisational security posture is a significant challenge without an effective cyber security program. However, what makes a cyber security program effective? How can you make your organisational cyber security program more effective? Continue reading as we share top five tips that can help you implement an effective cyber security program in your organisation.

Tip 1: Appoint a cyber security team

A security team that will handle all aspects of your organisational security is your first line of defence against cyber security risks. This is the first step into developing an effective cyber security strategy or program. Who is responsible for handling a cyber attack or breach? Who can others reach out to report potential security threats? Appointing appropriate team members to tackle specific security situations is critical when it comes to effective identification, containment and mitigation of cyber threats.

You must also create specific security teams. For instance you may appoint a disaster management team that will be mobilized in case of a disaster (of any nature i.e. fire, flooding, electric outages, cyber attacks, etc.). Similarly, you may also draft an incident report and handling team that can efficiently report incidents to other key team members and departments of the organisation in cases of emergency or security incidents. Developing proper teams and assigning appropriate responsibilities to those teams can greatly improve your overall organisational communications, performance and resiliency.

Tip 2: Create a solid cyber security baseline

A cyber security baseline indicates the range of your organisational security controls. It is critical that you create and implement a cyber security baseline that portrays your business goals, compliance requirements and your accepted risks. Your organisational cyber security baseline must address and identify your business-critical assets that must be protected at all times.

Examples of such business-critical assets include sensitive organisational data/information, administrative systems, critical servers, connected IoT-devices and so on. You must consider all the assets of your business that if damaged by a malicious cyber attack can cause business disruptions and downtimes. Your security baseline must protect such critical assets and other key endpoints that may be connected to those assets.  

Tip 3:  Ensure flawless documentation

Today’s modern businesses strive to achieve compliance with industry standards and security regulations to add a competitive edge to their business and reap other benefits. However, satisfying strict compliance requirements is not an easy task, especially if you lack the required documentation. Security regulations and compliance standards have proper guidelines for businesses about what information should be documented and how those documents should be maintained in order to protect business assets and achieve compliance.

The documents your organisation can most benefit from will depend on your industry, your business goals, and the type of data you handle. Some common and impactful documents to develop and maintain include:

  • Secure Password Policy
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Incident Logs
  • Interconnection Agreements
  • Remote Access Policy
  • Asset Configuration Documentation
  • Disaster Recovery Plan
  • Asset Inventory
  • Network Diagrams
  • Internet Usage Policy

Creating strict security policies and procedures and documenting all the implemented security controls can help improve your organisational security awareness while making it easier to create a cyber security workplace culture.

Additionally, well documented and maintained security policies and procedures will also portray your ability to protect sensitive information to the compliance auditors and will also reduce the chances of cyber incidents caused by employee mistakes. Studies have found that 95% of security breaches are caused by human errors. Encouraging employees to follow organisational security policies will significantly reduce the security risks.

Tip 4: Develop a continuous improvement plan

A cyber security program cannot be effective unless it addresses the modern cyber security threats, attack vectors and the latest guidelines to tackle advanced security risks. Cyber security threats continuously evolve with time and that’s why it is critical that you regularly update your organisational cyber security program to address and tackle the latest threats. However, there are some key areas of continuous improvement that you must include in your organisational security program. These security components include:

  • Risk identification and management
  • Risk and vulnerability assessment
  • Cyber security trainings and education

Risk identification and management

As security risks continue to change and evolve, your organisational security infrastructure must remain agile by introducing new security solutions that are capable of identifying, containing and mitigating the latest security threats. Your organisation could be exposed to both outside and inside threats if your business security program does not support regular updates for digital and physical defensive measures.

Risk and vulnerability assessment

Identification of risks is the first step in containing and mitigating a potential threat. Conducting regular risk and vulnerability assessments must be a part of your business cyber security program. This will help your security teams to identify potential security vulnerabilities in the business workplace and processes, that can ultimately enable your security teams to patch the vulnerabilities before they are exploited by cybercriminals. 

Cyber security trainings and education

Without cyber security education and awareness training, your own staff can put your business at risk. To avoid any mistakes from employees that may cause damage or loss to your organisation, you must offer regular essential security training as a part of your overall organisational security program.

Tip 5: Audit your own security program

Have you seen any improvements in your organisational productivity, security and efficiency, after implementing a cyber security program? You won’t know the answer to that question unless you set specific quality standards and key achievement metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your organisational cyber security program.

You can audit your own business cyber security program by finding gaps in security and conducting cyber security simulation exercises for your employees to determine if your workplace has developed a security mindset and security-first workplace culture or if the organisational security parameters are strong enough to defend against modern threat actors. Auditing your security program will enable you to identify weak areas that you can improve to strengthen your overall business security.

Alternatively, you can also hire Third-party auditors who can also perform vulnerability assessments, which include penetration tests to identify weaknesses in your organisation’s networks, systems, and applications, along with audits such as ISO 27001, PCI DSS, FedRAMP, and HITRUST; as well as SOC 2 reports using the AICPA Trust Service Principles.

Cyber security is a continuous process and requires steady improvements. As the technology landscape continues to evolve, making sure your organisation is protected against the latest threats is important. Implementing the tips discussed in this article can help you build and maintain a compact, agile, and effective cyber security program.

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