Senior Manager | Risk Advisory Services
Top 6 Characteristics of a Proactive Cybersecure Organization
There’s no such thing as a perfectly secure and unbreakable cybersecurity defense but CEOs of for-profit and not-for-profits of all sizes and forms can ensure that their organization’s cybersecurity defenses for their entire digital ecosystem are as unbreakable as possible.
Cyberattacks, particularly in the era of COVID-19, are on the rise, both in terms of frequency and sophistication. Cybersecurity will always be a game of cat and mouse, actions and reactions, breeches and remediations, and even the smallest of windows of opportunities for cyberthieves can spell disaster.
Today, protecting a company or organization’s business assets, brand, and reputation from cyberattack needs to be a critical role for a CEO, Executive Director or even Chairman of the Board. While you don’t necessarily need to get into the weeds of your organization’s cybersecurity, CEOs must work closely with IT departments, senior managers, cybersecurity consulting experts, and deploy the right technologies to create strong cyber defenses.
You need to be armed with the right information to make the right decisions on balancing risk against required resources, along with having the financial stamina required to be ever vigilant and ever prepared to respond and remediate a cyberattack.
Leadership Needed for Proactive Cybersecurity
There are many published criteria and guidelines that you, your IT team and senior managers can use to perform a cybersecurity assessment, find problems, and implement solutions. To that end, we recommend that you download our complementary assessment tool, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Your Cybersecurity, here.
Of all these criteria and guidelines, we believe that as leader of an organization, a CEO’s key responsibilities relative to cybersecurity consists of the following objectives:
- Cybersecurity Employee Education and Awareness: ensuring that the company has a strong, continually evolving, appropriately funded program for increasing awareness that educates employees, vendors and other stakeholders about the organization’s cybersecurity culture, policies, protocols, processes and technologies.
The organization’s cybersecurity culture should lend to an increased ever-vigilant cyberthreat awareness from all levels of the organization. A good cybersecurity education program will also include methods to test the success of the program.
- Network Security: prioritizing and ensuring that appropriate resources are dedicated to continually assess the organization’s network strengths, weaknesses, and susceptibility to cyberattacks against the potential of external compromise, while also facilitating secure operations for internal networking requirements to run the business.
CEO’s should include in the organization’s network strategy, a periodic network assessment from external resources to bring a fresh view and approach that includes device management and network access controls, as well as independent third-party scanning.
- Systems Security: requiring your organization’s IT teams to apply recognized frameworks and industry best practices to continually monitor and manage the organization’s systems with a “business-like” strategy that categorizes systems by risk and prioritizes the protections for the systems the organization relies on.
System protections should enhance the performance and provide assurances for the organization’s leaders and users of those systems that are used for transaction processing, decision support, knowledge management, learning management, database management, customer relationship management, and office information systems.
CEO’s should include IT managerial requirements for periodically reporting the system health and continual secure management of system health and protections. An independent assessment of your organization’s system management practices and system health is another ingredient to your organization’s security success.
- Ongoing Proactive Cybersecurity Maintenance:ensuring that all programs and applications needed for the business are configured with the very latest updates, patches, firmware, and virus/malware definitions is critical in the ongoing maintenance and ongoing stability of your organization’s IT environment.
CEO’s should require the IT organization to include in its management reporting cybersecurity performance indicators that measure the continued and current protection of the organizations systems and networks CEO’s should include periodic assessments of its IT organization’s operational practices to ensure that systems and networks, and the processes and technologies that protect them, are operating as management intended.
- Ongoing Proactive Cybersecurity Monitoring: requiring the IT organization to not only centrally manage networks and systems, but also requiring your IT teams to monitor and respond to events and incidents within your organization in a measured and controlled fashion.
Your organization’s IT teams should develop an understanding of the depth, frequency, sophistication and criticality of cyberattacks via their monitoring of networks and systems. CEO’s should periodically review the processes for logging and monitoring systems and networks for their organization. Additionally, the Incident Response Plan, process, policy and communication protocols should be included in the assessment process.
- Managing User Access: ensuring that programs, processes and technologies are in place to limit user access to those applications, data and systems necessary for implementing the narrow scope of their responsibilities is a cornerstone to cybersecurity management.
CEOs should require their IT teams to illustrate that the access granted aligns with the users’ job function, and nothing more. This is often accomplished through an Access Review. CEO’s should also conduct independent Access Reviews that identify any missing considerations in the existing process your organization may already be using.
Additional Resources and Information from the Freed Maxick Cybersecurity Team
Freed Maxick’s Cybersecurity Team provides services to businesses of all sizes and types relative to monitoring, assessment and remediation of cybersecurity threats and incidents.
In the spirit of helping the business and not-for-profit community get back on its feet, we are pleased to offer a complimentary Cybersecurity Action Plan, with a special focus on the impacts and implications of COVID-19.
We’ll review all the workforce constructs you’ve structured (remote, onsite, hybrid, shift), the current state of your cyber defenses and recommend where priority resources and efforts need to be directed.
Or, to learn more about what we do and how we can help visit our website, contact Sam DeLucia, Senior Manager at 585.360.1405, or email Sam at Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.