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Why a Proactive Approach Is Better for Your Cybersecurity Program

Why a Proactive Approach Is Better for Your Cybersecurity Program

By Meghan Jacquot, Security Engineer at Inspectiv 


In a time when headlines about ransomware, data breaches, and sustained hacks are catching the attention of even the most casual readers, it’s clear that something about our approach to cybersecurity needs to change.

But what is that something?


We believe that it is a decision that organizations can make to replace a reactive, disjointed approach to cybersecurity with one that is holistic and proactive. In other words, gone should be the days when companies fail to properly prepare for cyber incidents until it’s too late—responding to an attack after it has already occurred and the damage done.


So what does flipping the switch to having a proactive cybersecurity program actually mean for your organization, and how can you lay the foundation to sustain one once it’s in place?


Elements of a Proactive Cybersecurity Program

For years, cybersecurity professionals have been telling organizations to “stay one step ahead” of cybercriminals. 


However, we’ve already reached the point at which cybercriminals are using advanced techniques and tools, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, network obfuscation, and automation—in conjunction with tried and tested techniques like phishing—to bypass traditional security controls and trick insiders.


Today, being proactive means anticipating and prioritizing future risks, vulnerabilities, and attack vectors and taking the necessary actions now before they are spotted by attackers. This proactive approach requires the orchestration of training, policies, and technology that emphasize a focus on preventing attacks in the first place.


This includes:


  • Governance: Establish the necessary policies and procedures around incident response, access management, and risk management, and other regulatory-required practices to consistently evaluate and respond to risk.


  • Tools and technology: Regularly conduct penetration testing, monitor and review threat intelligence data with the support of an in-house or managed security operations center (SOC), utilize endpoint monitoring, and establish data loss prevention (DLP) tools to identify and resolve vulnerabilities.


How to Flip the Switch from a Reactive to a Proactive Cybersecurity Program

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity; it depends on the size, scale, and scope of your business as well as your culture and existing security acumen. However, there are some key elements that organizations can use to go from putting out digital fires to effectively preventing them from occurring in the first place.


Leverage Industry-Leading Best Practices

Just as security threats have evolved over the last couple of decades, so, too, have the security tools organizations can use to elevate their security posture. In addition to the elements mentioned above, two of the most effective prevention methods are:


  • Utilize a risk management framework, such as the one created by NIST, to have a “comprehensive, flexible, repeatable, and measurable” process and effectively “manage information security and privacy risk for organizations and systems.” Using a structured approach can help ensure consistency, ongoing maintenance, and proactive mitigation.



Obtain Executive Support for Your Security Program

Just like any other organizational initiative, taking a proactive cybersecurity approach requires executive support to get the effort moving and make sustainable change. This is because executive support means:


  • Increasing the buy-in of stakeholders from across the organization
  • Improving communication and coordination as efforts are implemented
  • Ensuring the necessary resources are available to support the program
  • Aligning security controls with business drivers and processes


Partner with an Industry Expert 

Cybersecurity services are not new to the industry, but not many can deliver the full range of services paired with leading threat identification expertise and tailor-made analysis. A trusted partner that knows how to help organizations identify, prioritize, and elevate their cybersecurity programs by providing access to comprehensive threat assessments performed by experienced professionals will help to identify and address security vulnerabilities early.


The Benefits of a Proactive Cybersecurity Program

The benefits of having a robust cybersecurity program are often immeasurable because it is hard to quantify the impact of deterring a potential attack or data breach. However, with the average cost of ransomware bounties reaching $1 million per event, the reputational and financial damage in the wake of an incident can be devastating. 


While there is no foolproof method for completely eliminating cyber risk, implementing a proactive cybersecurity program can not only effectively thwart attackers today but also:


  • Enable your organization to stay ahead of evolving vulnerabilities that could threaten your enterprise tomorrow.
  • Provide the data-driven insights required to identify the resources, patches, and tools needed to invest in your security program.
  • Help your security team find the “signal from the noise” to stop anomalous activity early.
  • Support the creation of a security strategy and implementation plan that aligns with your business drivers, technology stack, and threat environment.


It may seem like an endless battle to stay ahead of tomorrow’s cybersecurity threats, but with the right tools, training, and support, organizations can thwart cybercriminals before they gain traction.


Fortunately, organizations don’t have to move through the phases of switching to a proactive cybersecurity approach on their own; trusted partners have not only the proven tools required to effectively identify threats across your technology ecosystem but also the in-house expertise to provide vulnerability validation and remediation guidance.


The result? Your organization can deter potential cyberthreats, maintain compliance, build customer trust, and stay ahead of cybercriminals and their ever-evolving techniques.



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