It is time to be proactive towards cybersecurity threats

It is time to be proactive towards cybersecurity threats. Source: Shutterstock

It is time to be proactive towards cybersecurity threats

  • Response to cyberattacks is often defensive or reactionary and that needs to change.
  • To be proactive, businesses would have to identify risks ahead of time and block possible threats that can be harmful to the business operation.

Most organizations when faced with cybersecurity threats, would have a plan in place to deal with them. Then there are learning lessons from what just happened to keep the security lifecycle rolling along. However, this approach may not work for this day and age, given that cyber-attacks are happening at an unimaginable scale and rate.

A proactive approach that involves identifying the hazardous conditions that tell you something’s afoot is perhaps the best way forward. For context, cyberattacks are now so common, recent reports show that hackers attack a computer in the US every 39 seconds.

That said, the current and definitely for the upcoming age of cybersecurity threats, agile and smart approaches that can quickly adjust to new and unexpected attacks are absolutely necessary. Currently, responses to cyberattacks are defensive or reactionary, whereby the attacks are only removed and analyzed after systems have been exploited. According to a research report by Ponemon Institute, the dwell time or time to identify and contain the threat is still around 300 days.

Common defense strategies include intrusion detection and prevention tools such as antivirus software, the use of firewalls, and access controls such as passwords. However, these are costly, time-intensive, and becoming increasingly ineffective as cyber-attacks become larger, more coordinated, and harder to detect.

How to be proactive toward cybersecurity threats?

Apart from prevention, organizations also need to pay attention to other aspects – prediction, detection, and response. We need to anticipate in order to respond effectively. The epitome of cybersecurity maturity comes with anticipation because reliance on reactive security alone can leave one exposed.

To begin with, it is necessary to stay ahead of the curve and be abreast of the most current threats and solutions out there. It’ll work to your advantage by making you better equipped to handle unwanted scenarios and better prepared to deal with them. For organizations, it’s advisable to have each member of a firm partake in tackling online threats instead of just leaving it to just the IT team in the basement. 

Employees and employers need to be educated on safe email and password practices. By giving the insight needed to be proactive about a business’s network security, the ability to handle risk management is high. It is also necessary for everyone to be able to recognize phishing and other potential scams.

Another important aspect is regulatory compliance — means adhering to the cybersecurity standards required for your business. Organizations can look into compliance requirements every now and then to improve when necessary. It could be as simple as updating your blocked content and address lists. It could be more involved, such as installing System Information and Event Management (SIEM) software or upgrading your encryption and firewall protocols.

Research conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit suggests that those firms that have a proactive security strategy in place, backed by a fully-engaged C-suite, tend to reduce the growth of cyberattacks and breaches by 53% over comparable firms. It is given that in order to get out of the trap of reaction-based security, organizations are required to rethink both their networking and security strategies. 

But the main takeaway here is that organizations need to begin by anticipating attacks by implementing zero-trust strategies, leveraging real-time threat intelligence, deploying behavioral analytics tools, and implementing a cohesive security fabric that can gather and share threat intelligence. Perform logistical and behavioral analysis, and tie information back into a unified system can also preempt criminal intent and disrupt criminal behavior before it gains a foothold.