Escaping the Reactionary Mindset for Cybersecurity

November 13, 2018 Ricardo Panez Ricardo Panez

Far too many companies follow an almost purely reactionary mindset when it comes to cybersecurity. Of course, reacting to a problem is important—it’s part of how a company can quickly recover from a network security breach. However, the problem is that by taking a reactionary stance—by sitting back and waiting for a problem to occur so they can fix cybersecurity issues—businesses are leaving themselves (and their customers) open to attack.

Why wait for cybercriminals to give you a black eye? Why not sidestep the blow before it lands to avoid the pain and frustration? Yet, many companies, and even cybersecurity solution providers, seem to be stuck in a reactive mindset when it comes to dealing with cybersecurity threats.

To head off cyber threats before they become security breaches, it’s important to move beyond a reactive mindset and into a proactive mindset. But, how can you be proactive about your company’s cybersecurity?

Here are a few ways to be less reactive and more proactive about protecting your business from cyber threats:

Improve Your Threat Intelligence Framework

One of the most important aspects of any proactive approach to cybersecurity is to actively monitor emerging threats before they start to impact your business. A core part of this is building an effective cyber threat intelligence framework that combines a number of different threat intelligence feeds and tools that will help you proactively identify security breach risks and take measures to counteract them.

Some key means of improving (or building) your threat intelligence framework include:

  • Defining What You Need to Protect. What data or systems would you consider mission-critical? Knowing what your biggest vulnerabilities are is paramount to crafting a better cyber threat intelligence framework.

  • Setting Specific Goals for the Framework. What’s your most important goal for your threat intelligence feeds and tools? What do you most need to accomplish? Setting these goals and prioritizing them helps you pick threat feeds and tools that will better align with your proactive cybersecurity initiatives.

  • Continuous Refinement of Cyber Threat Feeds. Proactive cybersecurity threat monitoring is not a “one and done” solution. Threat feeds will need to be updated from time to time to better reflect emergent cybersecurity issues and trends among cybercriminals.

Run Frequent Penetration Tests of Your Network Security

Another key strategy for proactively protecting your business from cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities is to put your own network security architecture through the proverbial wringer as often as possible. Network penetration testing helps businesses identify critical weaknesses in their cybersecurity architecture before cybercriminals have a chance to leverage them to cause a security breach.

During a penetration test, cybersecurity experts will attempt to crack your network security as if they were attackers seeking to steal your data or destabilize your network. When they find potential weak points that an attacker might be able to exploit, they can flag these exploits for fixing—hopefully, before someone else can take advantage of them.

If an exploit doesn’t have a security patch, it may be necessary to notify the software developer of the issue so they can create a patch to address the issue—or, to discontinue using the software with the exploit and replace it with something that isn’t as vulnerable to attack.

Set Up Disaster Recovery Solutions and Cybersecurity Incident Response Plans

Even with the best, most proactive protection in the world, there is still a very real risk that your network security will be breached. Eventually, there will be someone who is skilled, resourceful, persistent, or just plain lucky enough that they are able to breach your cybersecurity architecture and cause a security breach. However, this is all the more reason to prepare for a security breach ahead of time rather than waiting for one to happen before trying to react.

Organizations with a proactive cybersecurity mindset know that their security will be breached sooner or later. They will also have a plan in place to deal with such a breach to limit its impact to their business. These incident response plans may vary depending on the nature of the specific cybersecurity threat that they’re designed to counter.

For example, a company can proactively counter ransomware threats by implementing a remote data storage and backup solution. Ransomware’s biggest threat is that it renders a company’s data unusable by encrypting it. Having a remote backup of mission-critical data and systems on the cloud, however, allows a company to reformat or replace their corrupted data drives and download the uncorrupted data from the backup without having to capitulate to the attacker. This is an option that would not be available if said company waited until after the attack to respond.

When attempting to proactively counter cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, it’s important to consider:

  • What the nature of the threat is;
  • How it affects the business; and
  • How you might sidestep the threat or minimize its impact to the business.

Need help creating a proactive solution to your cybersecurity needs? Contact the experts at Compuquip today.

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