According to the latest cybersecurity survey by SolarWinds Public Sector, only 57% of IT operations and security decision-makers across the government agencies identified their agency’s cybersecurity functions as adequately mature
Budget constraints, along with the lack of confidence in the team’s ability, remain the top evolving threats claimed to be the biggest roadblocks to cybersecurity maturity.
Just as security teams find innovative ways to block specific attacks, bad actors pivot to new techniques and tactics to counter them. To make things worse, the digital ecosystem is continuously expanding. More endpoints, more services, and even greater reliance on the cloud are adding up onto the workload of security teams.
Considering this, below are top ways public-sector IT professionals bolster their agency’s cybersecurity maturity:
Understand that cutting-edge solutions don’t really guarantee maturity
Even as foundational solutions like endpoint protection, threat intelligence, and identity and access management evolve, too often businesses gravitate towards the products with the loudest bells and whistles.
The sad fact is, many of these encompass features they don’t really need. These expensive solutions can spread resources and investment dollars to undermine organizational security maturity.
With budgets shrinking and costs rising, agencies must adopt a risk-based approach to prioritize security investments for addressing key vulnerabilities, problems, and exposures. Because the market is flooded with extremely mature, cost-effective, and capable solutions to drive cybersecurity maturity where it’s needed the most, IT pros don’t really need to chase the latest shiny objects.
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Prioritize endpoint protection
The survey highlighted that even for technologies that have been around for some time, like endpoint protection – proper governance is still lacking. While 57% confirm being most mature in endpoint protection, around 40% confirm lacking maturity.
The biggest challenge for security teams is as the network perimeter continues to expand, particularly across remote employees’ personal devices, endpoint protection solutions can get costly to deploy and acquire.
One way around this dilemma is to perform a detailed analysis of the risk profiles across various endpoints. With this insight, security teams can focus on critical or at-risk assets, such as servers over end-user systems.
With the budget remaining the issue, agencies can also leverage existing technology investments to enhance protection across the lower risk assets to ensure that there are no blind spots within the organization.
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One quick way to shift the needle on cybersecurity maturity is to leverage AI and ML to optimize security solutions, with existing resources. Next-generation automated security technologies can complete tasks including potential threats identification, unauthorized behavior detection, countering and blocking attacks before execution, application of intelligence to qualify incidents, and stopping the unauthorized movement of data amongst many others.
As ML and AI become more prevalent in the security marketplace, agencies can continue evolving their cybersecurity architecture to respond promptly to changing digital threats.
Establishing a culture of cybersecurity awareness
Technology alone can never drive cybersecurity maturity as the entire agency must commit to a multifaceted security program aimed to acknowledge the cybersecurity risk posed by contractors and employees.
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Fifty-two percent of all respondents to the survey cited careless or uninformed insiders, including contractors, being their top threat. That’s why agencies must work on establishing their security culture.
Instilling common sense in the workforce regarding what to watch out for, best practices, and what to do in particular scenarios can make a significant difference in the agency’s overall security posture.