Change is the only constant in the world of cybersecurity, where new threats come and go as cybercriminals exploit new opportunities.
In the old days, cybersecurity used to be as simple as installing antivirus controls and keeping your network protected by a firewall. Today, cybercriminals have much larger attack surfaces to exploit as companies roll out new technologies to better scale with demand and meet the needs of the remote workforce.
In an effort to stem the tide of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, industry regulators have mandated new measures, such as CMMC compliance in the case of the defense supply chain, and HITECH for healthcare providers and their associates.
2021 will no doubt bring fresh challenges for information security teams, so here are the steps we recommend for preparing your business for next year’s threats and opportunities:
#1. Focus on scalable compliance
Meeting the ever-changing demands of regulatory compliance requires a scalable, adaptable approach that gives you complete visibility into your computing architecture. Businesses must be able to apply and maintain their data security and privacy controls without losing efficiency. Since this becomes much harder at scale, you need to have a consistent and unified approach to dealing with matters like HIPAA or CMMC compliance. This means automating compliance monitoring, management, and enforcement wherever possible.
#2. Layer your cybersecurity defenses
Cybersecurity has evolved far beyond the limited defenses of old, such as antivirus programs and firewalls. In an age of remote work, mobile and cloud computing, and the internet of things, you need multiple layers of defense for every endpoint that makes up your IT infrastructure. A conventional perimeter no longer exists in today’s distributed computing environments, hence the need for every endpoint to have multiple defenses, such as automated updates, antivirus controls, zero-trust access, and multifactor authentication.
#3. Empower remote workforce cybersecurity
Remote workforces are here to stay, and they were already a big thing long before Covid-19. However, as 2020 showed, many established businesses were poorly prepared to send their employees home and secure their assets from afar. Remote work admittedly carries a unique set of risks, such as insecure wireless networks or inadequately protected employee-owned devices. Mitigating these risks must be a top priority going forward. Administrators must retain full visibility into their user accounts, apps, and data.
#4. Develop a security-first culture
As far as many employees are concerned, cybersecurity is a technical problem and therefore is something only the IT department needs to worry about. Yet cyberthreats can target anyone in the company, typically by way of social engineering scams like phishing emails. That’s why everyone needs to be aware of the threats and how they might exploit their workflows. Every company should develop a security-first culture with regular security awareness training and hands-on activities like phishing simulations. Most importantly, training shouldn’t take a purely academic approach, and neither should it focus entirely on protecting the business. You need to make it clear that you’re also doing a favor for your employees, since everyone is a potential target for cybercriminals, both in their personal and professional lives.
#5. Think about edge security
Despite all the emphasis on cloud computing in recent years, there’s now a huge emphasis on the importance and benefits of taking data processing back to its source. Edge computing combines the power and flexibility of the cloud with the real-time insights of internet-connected smart devices and other systems. However, edge computing also means more endpoints and, therefore, more devices for hackers to exploit. Many IoT devices are poorly protected and left forgotten about, which can leave your entire network vulnerable. You need to ensure that all devices are accounted for and protected by multiple layers of security.
#6. Rethink regulatory compliance
It’s easy to view compliance as a necessary evil characterized by lots of red tape and complex controls and policies. Achieving a high security maturity level to meet the demands of CMMC compliance, for example, requires the implementation of dozens of different controls. Instead of seeing these things as a burden, however, businesses should view them as opportunities for growth. Meeting the strict standards mandated by today’s regulators reduces risk to your most important assets, builds a culture of trust with your customers and partners, and opens up new opportunities for business growth.
Charles IT helps businesses bolster their defenses with tailored cybersecurity strategies driven by industry-leading expertise. Talk to our team today to find out more!