Top 5 steps to develop an effective organisational cyber security strategy

Without an effective cyber security strategy, it is not possible for organisations to tackle modern security threats. An effective cyber security strategy can help your organisation to be agile and proactive in identifying and responding to modern threats instead of reacting to every new threat, which can be time consuming and expensive.

Whether you are crafting a cyber security strategy for your business from scratch or looking to improve or replace an existing or outdated one, continue reading the article to learn how to build an effective and strategic cyber security plan for your organisation.

What is cyber security strategy?

In a business environment, a cyber security or a digital security strategy refers to the set of high-level plans of an organisation that are developed to secure the critical assets of the business while minimizing the risks of cyber attacks or breach incidents.

A cyber security strategy is developed to be adaptable to the latest threat landscape and ever-evolving cyber security threats and actors. Usually, businesses have cyber security strategies that remain effective for only 2 to 5 years, however, these strategies are revised and updated regularly to ensure effectiveness.

Organisational cyber security strategies act as blueprints for business security that educate and guide the company stakeholders about digital security.

Why does your business need a cyber security strategy?

Cybercriminals attack around 2,244 times daily while a ransomware attack is launched every 39 seconds. Whatsmore, a single breach can cost your company anywhere from $3.3 million to $4.5 million or even more, depending on the attack radius and your company size.

And this is not even the worst part. The lasting consequences of a security breach or a cyberattack can likely stretch beyond damage costs, there can be severe implications such as reputation damage, loss of customer trust, loss of revenue, business downtimes, data theft/loss and the list goes on.

An effective, well planned and implemented cyber security strategy can not only protect your business from such risks but can also help in improving your overall organisational performance, security and profitability.

Building an effective organisational cyber security strategy

For an enterprise to successfully protect the myriad collection of digital information there must be a high level of cyber security in place. Here are the top five steps you can take to build an effective cyber security strategy for your organisation.

Step 1: Start with the security strategy fundamentals

Do you know what needs to be protected? As an organisation, what are you required to protect legally? Do you understand the security risks? These are the essential questions that you must answer while laying the foundation of your organisational cyber security strategy.

Start by identifying the critical assets of your organisation such as IT equipment, applications, devices, servers, sensitive data/information, and other business-critical assets. Realistically speaking, it may not be possible to protect every single endpoint of your organisation, therefore, it is advisable to protect the assets that directly impact your organisation and business operations. Your first priority should be to devise appropriate security measures to protect your critical assets to ensure business continuity even in the event of a cyber attack or breach.

Moving forward, ensure that you have sufficient security parameters in place to protect the areas your business is required to protect by legal authorities, compliance requirements and other information security regulatory entities. This will help you avoid legal consequences originating from the lack of required security controls.

Next, before you start developing a cyber security strategy, understand your organization’s risk appetite, or the total risk your organization is prepared to accept in pursuit of its strategic objectives. Understand the level of risk your business can accept in order to avoid under spending or over spending on cyber security.

Step 2: Study the current threat landscape

Threat landscape is continuously changing as technologies and threat actors evolve with time. The cyberspace is becoming increasingly hostile and the threats we see today may evolve to be more powerful and destructive in upcoming years. This means that the security solutions that may be effective today, may not be sufficient to tackle modern threats after a few years.

Therefore, it is very important to study the current threat landscape so that you can evaluate the capabilities of current threats and implement security measures that are not only capable of tackling the current threats, but also offer promising strength to cope with future security threats. Some examples of today’s common threats include:

  • Targeted phishing attacks against employees or vendors
  • Spyware
  • Identity theft
  • Financial access
  • Advanced persistent threats
  • Ransomware
  • Denial-of-service attacks
  • Insider threats
  • Malware

Step 3: Pick a cyber security framework

Trying to improve security without proper information can quickly add to your expenses and may not be sufficient to tackle diverse aspects of security. A cyber security framework can provide you with a detailed guideline on which areas of business you should focus and what level of security measures you need to deploy in these areas.

Picking a framework or a security standard and focusing your efforts on meeting the requirements of that particular security framework or standard can drastically improve your overall organisational security, performance and resiliency.

Examples of most reputed security frameworks and compliance standards include CIA Triad, CIS Controls, ISO, and NIST, and so on.

Step 4: Conduct regular risk assessments

Conducting cyber security audits and risk assessments will help your security teams to uncover any underlying security loopholes and weaknesses that cybercriminals may exploit. Patching those security vulnerabilities will strengthen your overall organisational cyber security posture and will make it easier for your security teams to combat malicious threats.

You can also use the Cyber Defense Matrix to identify any gaps you may have in security. There are a lot of cyber security solutions on the market, and making sure that all aspects of your company are protected can be challenging. The Cyber Defense Matrix helps you understand what you need so when you start looking at security solutions, you can quickly understand which products solve what problems.

Step 5: Consider obtaining cyber insurance

Partnering up with reputed third-party cyber insurance companies can quickly add a strong layer of security to your whole organizational infrastructure. If your company is on a limited budget or does not have in-house expertise and resources to implement required security measures, then it will be a good option to partner with a cyber insurance provider.

A cyber security insurance provider can offer you access to the industry-leading expertise, state-of-art security resources and extensive coverage – all of these at a fraction of the price that you would normally pay for buying hardware and software resources. With a cyber security insurance company taking care of all of your security needs, you can focus on other business operations and processes with full peace of mind.

In today’s hostile cyberspace, you need to implement and proactively enhance your cyber security strategies and defense mechanisms if you want your business to stay protected, sustainable and profitable. However, it is critical to understand that when it comes to cyber security, there is no universal formula.

Each organisation is different, therefore, digital security strategies can differ based on the type, size, and goals of different businesses. Identifying your critical business assets and taking appropriate steps to secure them while also keeping in mind your long term business goals can help you develop effective cyber security strategies.

 

 

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