Cybersecurity isn’t a product, or even a collection of products. It’s a practice.
On some level, IT and business leaders know this. And yet, we continue to see organizations purchase powerful security solutions and then fail to maximize the potential of those tools. When organizations implement best-of-breed solutions but then don’t pay close attention to how those tools are actually used, money is wasted, and valuable data and systems are left vulnerable to attack.
Security frameworks are critical for organizations to understand their overall security posture. A framework also can help the IT team establish a plan and set goals to improve the organization’s posture over time. A variety of frameworks from organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Center for Internet Security offer guidance on security. These frameworks take into consideration business processes and policies and enhance the use of tools as part of a broader strategy — rather than as a tactical Band-Aid.
Taking the following considerations into account when evaluating your organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure can help to optimize its effectiveness.
There seems to be a pervasive notion that organizations can buy a vulnerability management tool, use it to scan their environments and then check off that box for compliance. If only it were that simple. While a vulnerability management tool is vital for alerting IT teams to security gaps in their environment, the tool itself will not actually remediate these vulnerabilities. To derive value from these solutions, organizations must also invest in staff or automated processes to close security gaps.
Managed Security Operations
Many organizations look to a third party to help them monitor their networks, provide security information and event management services or manage their security operations center. This makes sense, as some organizations simply can’t afford to employ multiple security analysts on their internal staff. Here again, though, there’s a pervasive set-it-and-forget-it misconception. Typically, when a security management firm identifies a cybersecurity event, the firm hands the incident off to the organization. Very few security management firms actually help with remediation. The common theme here? Do your homework, know what you’re buying and be ready to supplement existing investments when necessary.
IT Inventory Management
When properly configured, IT inventory management tools can help organizations to track, monitor, manage and secure their technology assets. But too often, misconfigurations lead organizations to miss vast swaths of their IT environments. Many of these tools simply scan networks, and if organizations do not set them up with the correct IP ranges, they won’t be able to pick up all of the organization’s assets.
Identity and Access Management
Especially with the recent rise in remote work, identity and access management tools, such as multifactor authentication, are critical for ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive systems and data. But unless these tools are implemented across an organization, they can’t deliver their greatest value. Some companies might adopt MFA tools, for instance, but then fail to enable them on their virtual private network tunnels; that’s a huge problem.
A third party such as CDW can bring a fresh set of eyes, helping organizations assess their security environments against industry standards and best practices, and identifying areas for improvement. Frequently, organizations only truly begin to prioritize cybersecurity after they suffer a costly breach. But by being proactive, they can protect their customer data, intellectual property and reputation from significant harm.