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Dependency on computer networks and information technology solutions is increasing. Thus cyber-attacks become more attractive and potentially more disastrous. It is expected that the number and sophistication of cyber attacks will keep growing; therefore, the holistic approach is required. We need to make sure that together with business, cybersecurity-related risks are proactively addressed. Our job as Information Security professionals is to identify cyber risks in all areas of the business and after assessing propose options to mitigate. The best approach is tying everything to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), if possible. Having Cyber Security Risk (CSR) as one of the risks on the organisational heat map can be a good starting point. This is where identification of Cyber Threat scenarios comes into the equation and our starting point to understand what we need to do from people, process, and technology perspective.
"When documented, CM plan has to be tested regularly on a Board level and the Cyber Security Boardroom exercise is an excellent starting point to understand the potential gaps"
We all live in very chaotic times where working from home is becoming our new way of living and thus bringing a lot of challenges we need to tackle. The risks for the companies are increasing as the perimeter has been expanded, and complexity is bigger than ever. It is not a question anymore if, but when will be targeted, therefore, the way that we respond counts. The key is in Cyber resilience and preparation for the worst-case scenario.
During this pandemic (COVID-19) times we could see that number of sophisticated phishing attacks is increasing as well as the number of attacks on our VPN infrastructure. This is especially emphasised with the usage of cloud services like O365 and increased demands for company resources. The investments in employees from an education point of view during last decades in most companies were at a minimum, and as people are prone to errors, we need to be more proactive in protecting our business and core values.
A Cyber Crisis Management (CM) plan is the first building block we need to make sure exists. When documented, CM plan has to be tested regularly on a Board level, and the Cyber Security Boardroom exercise is an excellent starting point to understand the potential gaps. Having executive board members involved and having their buy-in is crucial for the success of every plan.
Once tested, potential gaps are identified, and mitigation steps are proposed. That will give us the leverage for further improvements of our Cyber Security posture. This is where Cyber Security awareness comes into the place, and we need to ensure security is everyone’s business. Continuous education and training of our employees through different table-top exercise and targeted simulated campaigns help in achieving that goal, especially as they could be easily tracked and with focused key performance indicators (KPI) transparently reported to the Board.
Of course, in order for our CM plan to be effective, proper technologies have to be in place, starting from the protection of our end-points especially host-based, including servers, our mobile devices, perimeter, network, applications, and cloud environment. That ensures we also have detection and response capabilities to be ready for potential cybersecurity attacks.
Unfortunately, we can’t predict when COVID-19 will be over and its final impact on the global economy; however, we should learn from our previous experiences, stay calm, not panic and keep preparing to ensure our cyber resilience program is solid and ready to be used when needed.