A slew of challenges, ranging from businesses processes to purchasing mechanisms and implementation deadlines, can stymie flexible cyber security strategy.
Adversaries are waging a war against businesses and government agencies, relying on their limited resources and element of surprise to score substantial victories over even the most well-defended institutions. The assailants’ advantage – the ability to choose the location, time, and method of attack — allows them to be extremely flexible in their criminal activities.
Businesses that prioritize the security of system, user, and data, on the other hand, are at a significant disadvantage, since both building and buying security capabilities create issues in maintaining the necessary flexibility when confronted with an unknown threat. A variety of factors, ranging from businesses processes to implementation delays to purchasing mechanisms, can obstruct flexible cyber defense planning.
If proactive security readiness is the goal, then flexibility must be a key component of the strategy. This is especially true in an age when breaches are more widely regarded than ever before as a certainty rather than a possibility. Here are four ways in which CISOs can incorporate flexibility into their security strategy.
Recognize the difference between wants and needs
Prioritizing key defensive capabilities above niche defensive capabilities can be a challenge for organizations when preparing for the unknown. When attacks occur, these decisions can have far-reaching repercussions due to restricted and often limited resources. Given the prevalence of malware in modern cyber-attacks, the ability to reverse engineer harmful code, for example, might be important in responding to and remediating a breach.
However, not every company needs to employ a full-time reverse engineer. There are a number of these capabilities that are required but only in certain situations, and all businesses should evaluate these capabilities as well as the “buy vs. build” cost-benefit ratio as they plan.
Evaluate and re-evaluate
Threat intelligence covers only half of the problem. To truly prepare for unforeseen security threats, businesses must learn as much as they can about themselves and how their security staff, processes, and technologies will respond if they are attacked.
Regular evaluations can help firms better understand their current cyber resilience and response, as well as where they might want assistance. One-time assessments, on the other hand, can only provide a one-time insight. The threat landscape and the security functions of an organization are continually evolving in response to one another, therefore regular evaluation (and re-evaluation) is required to stay ahead of the unknown.
Keep some resources aside
Cyber defenders can use an age-old military approach to help ensure success in the face of determined adversaries: reserves. When an attack on their organization happens, defenders should not have to scurry to gather resources. Instead, businesses should do everything they can to keep some capabilities and resources in reserve in case the designated resources prove ineffective or insufficient.
Flexibility and agility
When it comes to security, there is such a thing as being excessively prepared for specific threats, as this might leave an enterprise open to other forms of attacks. A static security approach, on the other hand, can leave the security function completely unprepared to quickly modify its posture in response to unanticipated or unexpected hazards such as state-sponsored espionage or zero-day vulnerabilities. To prevent these dangers, companies should take steps to ensure that security systems are as flexible and responsive as possible.
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