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Cybersecurity is not a spectator sport: you must be involved

By DORIO BOWES, commercial director at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

If you think your business is secure, it probably isn’t. Cybersecurity will remain critical to any company’s success in a digitally-driven environment. Management must understand that this is as much a business enabler as it is about mitigating risk and safeguarding the organisation’s mission-critical data and infrastructure assets.

Most crucially, cybersecurity is not a spectator sport. While many businesses think security awareness takes one person just a few hours a month to tick the compliance box, the reality is quite different. Not having cybersecurity in place can significantly increase the likelihood of an attack that will result in a successful breach. This requires company leaders to practice what they preach and be held accountable for the effective risk management posture of the business units they control.

Security is an evolving process that can never be considered complete. At its heart, it comes down to protection. It is something that is very personal. Yes, it entails building architectures, applications, and frameworks, but it is also about making the world (and the company) a better and safer place. When it comes to cyber defences, data access control remains the top priority for CISOs, especially as it relates to privacy and compliance. A new privacy engineering category has arrived dedicated to managing data access, authorisation, and other technical elements that make security by design possible.

Furthermore, the growth of automation has become a vital ally in helping detect phishing attacks and application vulnerabilities. After all, phishing remains one of the top attack vectors facing businesses today, regardless of their size or industry sector. As such, automation has assisted cybersecurity specialists in addressing the increasing volume of attacks on corporate defences.

Future-proofing systems

Unfortunately, this also means that hackers and other malicious groups also have access to automation for nefarious purposes. Local companies must therefore fight fire with fire and ask key questions on how best to future-proof their cybersecurity environment.

These include:

  • How can I gain visibility into the threats facing my organisation today and in the future?
  • How do I detect threats before it is too late?
  • If a breach occurs, how quickly can I respond to it?

Anti-virus and firewall solutions, while essential, are just two pieces of an increasingly complex puzzle. Additionally, the likes of a Network Detection and Response (NDR) solution becomes vital. It gives companies visibility into their entire threat landscape, analyses and detects threats, and unifies insights while enabling automated responses.

What makes such a solution integral is that it covers private and public clouds and on-premises infrastructure to provide a true hybrid approach. In this way, companies have a more integrated way to manage threat visibility, detection, and response.

Managing breaches

But let us face it, no solution or approach can be considered perfect. There is always a chance that something will get through. This is where extended threat detection and response (XDR) becomes an invaluable asset for any business. It can unify visibility, simplify threat response, and enable automation to manage countermeasures.

XDR brings with it an integrated way to manage insights from multiple security products from behind a single pane of glass. And depending on the solution used, security specialists can access prebuilt and custom workflows to enable better response by triggering a predetermined incident response playbook.

Maintaining resilience

Resilience is also the key to effective cybersecurity. The pandemic has highlighted how traditional network perimeters have dissolved and created a more fluid environment. Whether a person is working from the office or from their home, there is no longer a perimeter. Cybersecurity must therefore be resilient to manage the transition into this more dynamic landscape.

It now comes down to using the right technology, approach, and people. Firstly, the technology must focus on end-to-end security in as user-friendly a way as possible. It is about empowering specialists to make actionable decisions based on real-time information. Secondly, the right approach entails building trust in the environment. This lets employees have confidence that the systems are secure, and it gives customers the peace of mind that their data is protected regardless of where it is accessed from and on which device.

Finally, the right people will ultimately be responsible for driving the technology forward. With a significant skills gap existing globally in cybersecurity, graduates have massive potential to join a sector desperate for talent. Even other IT professionals can pivot and strengthen their abilities in cybersecurity.

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