Discover the top cybersecurity best practices
What should leaders consider when managing their organisation’s cybersecurity defences? Find out what the top cybersecurity best practices are now.
Every cybersecurity leader knows of the importance their role holds within the organisation.
As technology advances and cyber threats become increasingly more sophisticated, cybersecurity and technology leaders become more aware of the need to prepare their teams for the worst-case scenarios. This means leaving no stone unturned when it comes to protecting their data, functions and assets against cyber attacks and other malicious threats.
Cyberattacks and data breaches come at a staggering cost, not only in terms of financial losses but also damage to reputation and customer trust. Recent discussions in HotTopics cybersecurity roundtable debates have emphasised that cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility. It extends far beyond the IT department and C-level executives.
In this article, we will present the top five cybersecurity best practices that leaders should communicate to their teams, whether they are working from home or in the office. These practices are essential to fortify an organisation's defence against the inevitable surge of cyber threats.
Top 5 tips for cybersecurity best practices
Protect your data
Conducted by the UK government, the Cyber Security Breaches survey 2023 revealed that only 32 percent of large businesses have taken up new measures to prepare their organisation against further cyber attacks, highlighting the need for more companies to focus on cybersecurity investments to protect sensitive company data.
One of the first steps to improving your overall cybersecurity hygiene is by having the right data protection in place. By employing a robust cybersecurity policy, technology leaders can protect their sensitive data from hackers and other threat actors looking to exploit the organisation’s defences. According to the AV-Test Institute, an independent research institute for IT security, there are more than one billion malware programs in the cyberspace, with more than half a million new pieces of malware being detected every day.
In light of this, cybersecurity leaders need to secure their data by advising their teams to practise methods such as encryption, backup and recovery, access control, network security and physical security. Given the rate at which threat actors are growing, cybersecurity professionals need to explore newer and more innovative ways to prevent data breaches occurring at a large scale.
Collaborate and communicate with the rest of your team
Fostering a culture of collaboration is an essential cybersecurity best practice.
To strengthen your organisation's cybersecurity function, it's crucial to establish effective mechanisms for sharing timely and actionable threat intelligence. This can be done by maintaining an open communication channel across the entire organisation. As a result, teams can share-real time information when in a cyber-crisis or under attack and work together to mitigate the overall impact of the breach.
Time and time again we have heard the phrase Security is Everyone’s Responsibility. In order to ingrain these cybersecurity methods within the fabric of the organisation, cybersecurity leaders should integrate cybersecurity training into the onboarding process in order to avoid making any mistakes. Findings from the IBM Cyber Security Index Report revealed that “human error was a major contributing cause in 95% of all breaches”. Providing further cybersecurity awareness training for team members can help them become better equipped to handle future attacks and breaches and avoid becoming part of the statistics.
Employ a White-Hat hacker
Employing a White Hat hacker, also referred to as an ethical hacker, can help organisations take on a more proactive stance when it comes to setting up their cybersecurity defences.
In using their hacking skills White Hats can find security flaws in devices, programs or networks. In addition to this, the top advantages of using a white hat hacker include ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and saving costs associated with data breaches and legal fees.
To illustrate, in January 2023, a group of White Hat hackers found a variety of major cybersecurity flaws in vehicles from automakers including Mercedes, BMW and Ferrari. The hackers were able to access a myriad of sensitive information and were even able to take over some of the vehicles. They eventually posted their findings in a blog, exploring “the security of telematic systems, automotive APIs, and the infrastructure that supports it”. Once these weaknesses were revealed, the companies responded by working on rectifying their mistakes.
Keep your board up-to-date on security trends
“One of the challenges that the Board faces includes the lack of a logical channel through which it can look at cybersecurity and compliance issues. This may lead them to under or over react to certain cybersecurity breaches,” this is one of many observations made by Deloitte on the issue of keeping Boards up-to-date with the cybersecurity activities within the organisation. Another report released by Ponemon Institute also argued that Boards of Directors need to focus on improving their communications with IT teams to prevent cyber attacks and other malicious activity.
So, how can cybersecurity professionals keep their Board in the loop when it comes to security trends? To begin with, cybersecurity leaders should ensure that they regularly update C-suite executives and the Board on the status of their cybersecurity program, detailing whether or not it is effective and efficient enough. Focusing on the proactivity element, leaders should also make sure they update the Board on any information they may have, rather than just delivering the bad news when an incident occurs. Going back to the basics, when approaching the Board on anything cybersecurity-related it is always best to keep in mind the following steps: understand that your Board may not be the most technologically-savvy bunch and tone down on the technical terms, support any cybersecurity strategy you present with real-life examples and align anything you propose with the organisation’s business strategy.
Secure your incident response plan and roles
While having an incident response plan is important, organisations need to ensure that they have identified who exactly is responsible for overseeing and enacting the plan they have in place.
Statistics have revealed that just 36 percent of UK businesses have had roles or responsibilities assigned to individuals during or after a cybersecurity incident. In addition to this, several organisations that they would rather turn to an external cybersecurity provider for advice following an incident than establish their own internal processes to refer back to.
Before undergoing a data breach, it can be reassuring to know that the organisation has an incident response plan to deal with the stress of a cyber attack, putting back up the cyber defences and starting the recovery period. Every cybersecurity professional knows that having a well-defined incident response plan can significantly help mitigate any risk – outlining how an organisation should react in the event of a cybersecurity breach, data leak, or other security incident.
In today's digital landscape, it's not a matter of if a cyber incident will occur but when. Without such a plan in place, organisations risk confusion, delays and especially costly mistakes during the crucial moments following an incident. For example, according to Cisco’s Cybersecurity Almanac, organisations will be spending up to $10.5 million recovering from cyber attacks. Taking proactive measures demonstrate a commitment to cybersecurity and ultimately empowers organisations to minimise potential damages, protect personal data and maintain trust.
The moral of the story is…
It certainly doesn’t hurt to be more prepared.
Protect your data, communicate regularly with your team, discover innovative ways to enhance your cybersecurity strategy, collaborate with the Board and have a plan in place. These are the key steps cybersecurity leaders need to have ingrained while carrying out their day-to-day operations. Cybersecurity best practices and awareness is something that everyone in the organisation should consider, not just the cybersecurity professionals within the team. Creating a cybersecurity culture can result in a new and improved proactive approach that makes dealing with potential threats much easier for everyone.
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