staying cybersafe in a digital age

How many website tabs do you think you have open in a given day? Is it 5? 6? 25? Or more? Among those open tabs, how many do you think are or could be exposed to a form of malware or security threat? How many do you think are at risk of being compromised and your private or company data accessed?

Whether it’s your neighborhood bank, significant other, your home computer, or one of the world’s largest corporations, data breaches can happen to anyone. In a digital-first world, data reigns supreme, and with this data comes the risk of it being compromised.

Cybersecurity is a growing concern that is now interlaced with an organization’s digital transformation strategy, simply because the two can no longer be ignored. If an organization wants to stay competitive, it must adopt a robust hyperautomation strategy. With more robust digital transformation efforts, though, come more opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage of an organization. According to the 2022 Gartner Board of Directors Survey, 88% of board members classified cybersecurity as a business risk while McKinsey & Company reported that the adoption rates of digital or digitally enabled products accelerated by seven years.

Understanding the importance of cybersecurity is one thing but actually safeguarding data as different technologies emerge is another thing entirely, as businesses must account for things like moving to the cloud, employees working remotely, and disparate data sets and systems that only heighten the risk of being compromised.

it can happen to anyone

Consider the latest in the hacking world that occurred to LastPass, the world’s top password manager. How can the world’s leading password manager — a company in the exclusive business of safeguarding 20 million customers’ private and sensitive password information — get hacked?

It’s simple: it can happen to anyone. While no passwords appear to have been revealed during the hack, some portions of source code were compromised — only the latest in a string of LastPass security issues.

This doesn’t mean that LastPass isn’t still one of the most robust password security companies but only stresses how important it is for organizations — large or small — to have cybersecurity measures in place.

considerations for a good cybersecurity strategy

From malware to phishing to password hacking, there is a laundry list of cybersecurity threats. When considering the future of cybersecurity, then, organizations must consider a number of factors and growing trends in their digital transformation strategy.

  1. Remote work is here to stay. For some organizations, this means fully remote; for others, this means hybrid environments. According to Gartner’s Top Security Trends of 2022, 60% of knowledge workers are remote, and at least 18% will not return to the office. Whichever way your employees lean, remote work means that organizations have had to adapt their functionalities to accommodate cloud-based servers and apps, as well as new mediums of communication like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Some organizations might not have been prepared for remote work to become a permanent fixture but that’s precisely the future they must prepare for — and this requires adapting security procedures and policies accordingly.
  2. Automation can help. Cybersecurity criminals are getting savvier, technology is getting more complicated, and IT skills are increasingly harder to come by. When an organization so heavily relies on its IT teams, why not turn to automation to help streamline the more administrative aspects of IT that are harder to maintain and regulate, thereby lessening the burden on existing teams? Examples of where automation can help include:
    1. Incident management by escalating issues as needed and routing and processing
    2. Triaging internal ticket requests like password resets, permissions access, and more
    3. Infrastructure management with large-scale data migration across multiple servers, systems, or apps
  3. Pay close attention to supply chain security. Digital supply risk is Gartner’s third top cybersecurity trend. More broadly speaking, the focus on the supply chain is top-of-mind for many organizations following the heels of a pandemic that highlighted existing and potential vulnerabilities. With the combination of worldwide product shortages and higher customer demand, supply chains are under enormous pressure as it is without considering potential cyber risks. According to the CyberArk 2022 Identity Security Threat Landscape Report, 64% of respondents reported that they could not stop an attack from a compromised software supplier. From vendors and suppliers to customers and third-party companies, organizations need to consider the many different touchpoints that occur throughout the lifecycle of product fulfillment, and proactively plan for the myriad of ways a cybercriminal could infiltrate their organization.
  4. Aligning with employees and stakeholders is critical. An effective cybersecurity plan is no longer just on the shoulders of IT and security departments. Rather, it is the responsibility of all employees and stakeholders to be aware of the cybersecurity risks and the role that each individual plays in deflecting data breach attempts. As such, it is extremely important that individuals at the C-suite level communicate this and are transparent with their staff.

what measures can my organization take?

While getting started can be overwhelming, there are many different measures that an organization can take to combat these growing cybersecurity threats. Some examples include:

  • Taking multi-factor authentication (MFA) measures by providing more than one thing to authenticate to a system. Many of us are already familiar with having to do this (getting prompted to enter a 6-digit code that is sent as an email or SMS message, or filling out those “I am not a robot” visual prompts, for instance), but it’s worth considering adopting if your organization is not already.
  • Offering employees educational training on the different types of cybersecurity threats, as well as resources and tips on how to stay secure or report security concerns, is an incredibly accessible and valuable way to keep all employees informed and aligned on your organization’s cybersecurity strategy.
  • Investing in other services, such as Neostella’s secure development services. These are highly controlled physical and digital safe environments designed to safeguard business data. Benefits to this option include cost savings associated with our utilization of near-shore resources, customizable features, as well as round-the-clock monitoring and support.

in conclusion

Cybersecurity is not a new thing but in recent years, the “cyber pandemic” has created even more vulnerable pockets among organizations. Now, all industries and employees are potential targets, and organizations must take action to create stronger security measures and foster a security-first mindset.