Complement Tech Savviness with a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy
The continued digital disruption of almost all industries, combined with increased interconnectivity between individuals and between organizations, has made cybersecurity an ongoing strategic issue for nearly every enterprise. Technology companies, however, have an additional layer of concern because of the role their products play within the digital ecosystem. After all, cybercriminals who can breach a technology platform or device can often gain access to an entire organization’s data – and also quite possibly the data of every organization that uses those products.
While many companies understand this in theory, mid-market technology companies – those at the front lines of entrepreneurialism and innovation – can sometimes be less savvy in protecting their own data. These companies often think of cybersecurity in a less cohesive manner – having the right firewalls, encryption protocols, and so forth. Because of their inherent tech savviness, it is easy for them to be strong on the infrastructure side of data protection, but less likely to have a broader, enterprise cyber program and strategy.
However, having technology controls is only one element of the cybersecurity process. There is also the organizational component, covering the security of the network of business partners and developing a comprehensive breach response plan. There is a strategic component as well, which includes understanding how cybersecurity integrates with the business and accurately assesses the organization’s threat profile. This is where technology companies can find their cybersecurity program lacking.
In order to ensure cybersecurity preparedness, companies need to take, at a minimum, these three steps:
Look across the product development chain. Best practice cybersecurity is part of product development lifecycle, from coding to delivery. This means assessing both security within the product itself, and in how the product is developed and distributed – particularly if an organization uses a third-party as part of the process. Once applications are distributed, they need to be continuously monitored for vulnerabilities and patched appropriately.
Identifying and classifying information assets. The first step in any cybersecurity program is to make sure you have an inventory of all the information systems (servers, databases) and an understanding of the type of data that the systems contain (corporate data, personal data, intellectual property, etc.). From here, a company can then build a robust cyber program that includes not only protecting its data, but having the ability to identify threats proactively, as well as being able to properly respond to and recover from a data breach.
Know the risks and create a cyber program accordingly. Ultimately, cybersecurity is a business risk decision. A company needs to understand who wants to attack it and the likely ways in which an attacker could access data. Then, the company must align its cybersecurity program to the risk it is willing to accept. Too often, organizations may invest in a cybersecurity solution that is not aligned to the threats they face, or worse, they have underdeveloped or incomplete programs. Developing an incident response plan is a major part of cybersecurity preparedness.
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