IT Strategy | Tech Tips

4 Basic Cybersecurity Strategies to Keep in Mind in 2023

Cybersecurity threats are expanding at an exponential rate; organizations struggle to keep pace, leaving vulnerabilities unchecked and exposed. Your emails are flooded with legitimate solicitations and promises to secure your organizations, cybersecurity protection is daunting. Simplify your approach with a strategic program, know and understand your goals and key drivers. Whether you are seasoned professional or just starting out, it’s time to create a formalized program to safeguard your information technology and system.  Formalizing your program is synonymous with a governance; it’s about being strategic, not implementing fragmented security solutions. Consider the following 4 Basic Cybersecurity Strategies To Keep In Mind in 2023:

1.Create a cybersecurity program based on business requirements and risk profile.

Your cybersecurity program must be built around your business (including regulatory) requirements, focus on enhancing your organization’s objectives and goals not inhibiting them. Build a “right-sized” or “good enough” program; your program should align with today’s requirements, yet scalable for the future. Over building cybersecurity programs introduces other complexities and vulnerabilities leading to increased risks.

2. Align with Standardized Framework 

The ideal cybersecurity program is based on a standardized framework aligning with your industry vertical, business practices, and risk profile. Organizations of all sizes should consider easily adaptable frameworks based on desired risk level and maturity level. 

  • Self-Managed and Regulated Frameworks: suggested frameworks ranging from free to licensed usage include NIST CSF, CIS (Center for Information Security), and COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies). 
  • Program Certification: Common frameworks for organizations seeking cybersecurity certification include SOC2, ISO27001, and HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance). Most certification programs also require a baseline cybersecurity framework. 
  • Regulated Frameworks: US and foreign government cybersecurity requirements continuously evolve chasing elusive threat vectors. Most regulations require baseline frameworks ensuring comprehensive cybersecurity protection; do not rely on regulations for complete and best cybersecurity best practices.  

3. Document 

The much maligned and often overlooked documentation tasks are a critical step for all cybersecurity programs. This includes documenting business and regulatory requirements, and organizational and IT risk levels. Documentation enhances alignment and ensures all stakeholders receive the same message while streamlining approval processes.  

Right size your Policies, Standards, Controls, and Procedures. Avoid over-rigorous and laborious document sets that become shelf-ware; instead, focus on program supporting documentation enhancing user engagement and business processes. Create alignment with shareholders increasing the success of IT and cybersecurity controls. 

4. Do Not Do It Alone  

Many organizations attempt to implement frameworks, certified programs, and government regulations without seeking support and advice from qualified partners. This often leads to frustration, misaligned, and ineffective programs. We recommend finding a partner like ISOutsource, with expertise in the program type you seek. 

Tracking a full strategic program can be cumbersome without the proper tools. Many organizations rely on Excel or SmartSheet to create and track its programs; however, leveraging a proper solution will improve your efficiency and accuracy. Most solutions are SaaS (often referred to as GRC), some solutions track general governance programs while others are specifically designed for individual frameworks, certifications, or regulatory programs.  

Getting Started 

  1. Determine business and regulatory requirements; identify the desired framework. Do you need an internal framework, certification, or adhere to regulations? Document immediate, mid, and long-term needs. Create a formal governance program based on strategic cybersecurity activities and seek executive support. 
  2. Create a program baseline then complete a self-assessment with a gap analysis. This establishes your current state and desired future state; this becomes the foundation for program buildout.  
  3. List all Gap Analysis open items 
  4. Rank each item based on risk, priorities, and dependencies 
  5. Create a Roadmap, establish reasonable milestones with timelines. 
  6. Implement your strategic based governance program, adjusting along the way. Test and verify at every step, confirm business and regulatory changes during implementation. 
  7. An effective program includes continuous self-assessments. Create a self-assessment program validating the entire initial set of controls throughout the year. Some controls require monthly testing, while others might be annual.