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The Road Towards Robust Cyber Security Architecture – What CIOs and IT Decision Makers Should Know?

Cyber Security Architecture

Sunil Sharma, VP, Sales & Operations, Sophos

 

Cyberattacks are costing global businesses a mammoth $300 billion a year; this includes the cost itself, subsequent damage control and disruption to normal course of business. What cannot be quantified in monetary terms is the tremendous damage inflicted on the reputation of a company.

Things will only get worse from here on; attacks are increasing and so is their sophistication.  What’s more, device proliferation in organizations (laptops/desktop, phones/tablets, desktops, virtual servers, cloud servers etc.) means the attack surface is growing exponentially.

It is in this extremely challenging and volatile environment that the state of an organization’s cyber security architecture assumes mission critical importance. The cyber security system which keeps your organization safe has to be comprehensive, future-ready, effective and whose potential can be leveraged by system administrators, CIOs and IT decision makers. In one word, it needs to be ROBUST.

Overview of a Powerful Security Framework

The foundation of a rock-solid cyber security architecture rests on keeping abreast of security recommendations, regulatory compliance requirements, threat scenario, where these threats are coming from, how these threats work and the organization assets these threats target. This will help you zero in on the policy and controls required to implement a solid security framework for plugging vulnerabilities, mitigating risks and increasing security.

What is also needed is a sound understanding that your business processes, risk management & remediation infrastructure should work in tandem with one another.

A Holistic Approach Works Best

The three pillars of an organization’s cyber security program are people, processes, and technologies. Think of them as pillars, aspects or the core drivers of your cyber security framework.

The Human Factor

The Human Factor

It’s people not technology that more often than not, makes or breaks an organization’s cyber security infrastructure.

Now you might wonder, if the core tenet of cyber security is protecting computers, networks and applications from unauthorized intrusion or compromise, why are people (your employees) such an important part of the cyber security ecosystem. The reality is that people are significant building blocks of your cyber security infrastructure and unfortunately its weakest link. Therefore, it’s imperative that a concerted effort is made to improve the cyber security awareness level amongst employees and ensure they are following the existing security policies and procedures.  You must initiate a policy of continuous learning and training vis-à-vis their roles in bolstering cyber security through cyber security best practices.

Process Driven Security

The cyber security policies and procedures implemented in your organization must be closely aligned with core business processes and meet industry’s security benchmarks. Your compliance and security requirements should complement each other and not compete with one another. Competition can result in conflict, which invariably impacts business process efficiency. While building and deploying cyber security infrastructure make sure the compliance and security frameworks walk in-step, wherein the achievement of one should enhance the other.

The Technology Component

The heart of your cyber security infrastructure is the technology that drives it forward. So the question is – What cyber security technologies should you use in your organization? The fact that you must use next-generation security solutions is a given and not up for debate. You must pick a solution that approaches cyber security in a structured and methodical manner by synchronizing comprehensive database and file security with advanced threat analytics and granular forensics for achieving data breach mitigation.

The key to end-to-end IT security in an enterprise is securing endpoints and the network. You need to deploy next-generation endpoint and network security to protect your organization against advanced malware attacks that can penetrate even the strongest defenses, breaching the network, infecting endpoints devices and causing expensive and continuing business disruption.

Pick security appliances that can prevent, detect and mediate seamlessly, without impacting business performance. But that’s not enough. You need to be able to manage security easily and effectively. It should also offer you all-in-one protection that secures network access, complete web protection, clear visibility into users’ devices and their protection status, wireless protection and more.

Everything Falls Flat in the Absence of a Cohesive Strategy

All your attempts to build failsafe cyber security architecture will go bust in the absence of strategic IT security vision. This is a plan-of-actions whose core purpose is to improve organization’s IT security infrastructure. The contours of this strategy include:

  • Gaining a thorough understanding of the cyber security paradigm in relation to your organizational domain and its critical business operations.
  • Developing, implementing and integrating a cyber security strategy across employees, existing systems and IT security infrastructure; its model must scale to meet the evolving threat landscape and the growing attack surface in your organization.
  • Devise a strategy to not only combat external threats but also ‘insider threats’; employees who advertently and inadvertently put organizational data at risk.
  • Prepare yourself for a data breach. Remember, your defenses need to fend off threats all the time, while cyber attackers need to get lucky just once. You need to plan an effective response in case a breach happens.

Conclusion

Already, cyber security is a growing CIO priority, and there is absolutely no doubt this state of affairs will continue in the future. There is a critical need for deploying all-encompassing cyber security and control to protect confidential corporate data.  What you need is a combination of high-tech security and a cultural shift at the organizational level to ensure your high-value data is safe at all times. People, Processes and Technology need to come together to deliver future ready security.

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