Strengthening cybersecurity is only getting difficult as organizations begin to expand to operations and think to operate on a hybrid work model. CISOs need to take steps that will enable them to keep the cyber-attacks at bay while making their business cybersecurity-ready.
Keeping the cybersecurity infrastructure secure is always challenging, considering the growing complexity of IT infrastructure and cyber threats. However, the challenge has been exacerbated since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
Organizations in a hurry to keep their business operations running when in-person interaction was not an option opted for platforms that enabled them to do so. However, many organizations failed to take the precautionary measures necessary to secure the business operations, resulting in becoming a victim of cyber-attacks, primarily ransomware.
This resulted in a huge loss of finances along with reputational damage. In fact, as per a 2021 survey from IDC, titled, “IDC 2021 Ransomware Study,” around 37% of the organizations impacted by ransomware, malicious software that blocks access to a computer or files till the organization has paid the threat actors the demanded ransom.
The frequency of ransomware also highlighted the impact of cyber incidents that go far beyond fiscal consequences, food manufacturing, and disrupting healthcare and utility providers in 2021. According to cybersecurity experts, this trend will continue as remote work, cloud-hosted services, and e-commerce gain popularity.
With the beginning of the New Year, organizations should take three steps that will enable them to mitigate cybersecurity risks and prepare for 2022:
- Understand the digital ecosystem of the business and how it will grow in 2022
It is difficult to secure an asset if the security team does not about its existence. Hence, CISOs should begin their new year by auditing and inventorying everything that exists in their digital ecosystem. They should determine what security measures are in place and which suppliers and partners have access to that ecosystem.
A scenario many organizations faced in 2021 was to expand their hybrid work environments by adding new devices onboarding new employees remotely while moving to cloud hosting environments. Each of these initiatives expanded the number of ways a cybercriminal could gain access to the network as well as requires an understanding of how CISOs have secured, updated and monitored them beyond the implementation stage.
With the new year, CISOs should perform a thorough assessment to see what new gaps have been introduced in their environment, which existing gaps have broadened, and which ones have shrunk.
- Finance security awareness program before a cyber incident occurs
Cybercriminals will continue to utilize phishing and business email compromise (BEC) in 2022. Most organizations wait until a cyber incident takes place to train their resources about occurred. Instead, organizations should become proactive and consistent with reducing the chance of a threat actor making its way into the organization in the first place.
CISOs can prevent such attacks from happening by teaching the employees of the organization about them. CISOs should relate risks of the everyday lives of people and ultimately help end-users to become less susceptible to these attacks. Also, adding this to the security strategy does not cost the organization significant resources or time as there are many low-cost options available to train the employees about them.
- Prepare the IT department for the latest threats
For many IT professionals who wear many hats, cybersecurity is still an emerging field. Thus, to help the organization and IT teams respond to emerging cyber threats, CISOs should invest in training their technical IT and security professionals. Moreover, CISOs should have a more focused and directed approach to ransomware remediation in general, that emphasizes tabletop exercises as well as hands-on training that puts these skills into practice.
If the given resources are not enough to handle cyber threat scenarios, CISOs should ask their organizations to opt for managed security service providers (MSSPs) to secure their infrastructure.
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