How to Craft a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy

Cybersecurity and risk management go hand in hand. Yet organizations often develop cybersecurity and risk management strategies independently. This can result in security gaps that endanger businesses, their employees, and their customers.

An organization must plan for cyber attacks and understand the associated risks. A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that accounts for risk management ensures the organization is well prepared for ransomware, malware, and other cyber attacks.

Why does an organization need a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy?

Cyber criminals want business data and will do anything they can to get it. Their attacks are increasingly sophisticated and they show no signs of slowing down.

Cyber criminals often exploit vulnerabilities in business networks and systems to access large volumes of business data. They also target company devices in the hopes that staff have failed to adequately secure them. They even attack online payment systems.

A cybersecurity strategy provides a great starting point to limit cyber crime. It won’t stop cyber attacks from happening, but it can help an organization prepare for them and minimize their impact.

5 tips for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy

Organizations must prioritize cybersecurity strategy development, implementation, and management. A business must create a strategy that accounts for current and emerging cyber risks.

At the same time, it must ensure all stakeholders are kept up to date as the strategy is executed. It must also continue to explore ways to update and optimize this strategy.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity. But there are many things that organizations can do to ensure a cybersecurity strategy delivers immediate and long-lasting results.

Let’s look at five tips to help you develop and maintain a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

1. Establish a budget

Determine how much money is available for cybersecurity. The organization must consider the following factors:

  • Consultants: How much it costs to hire security consultants to provide continuous security monitoring and other cybersecurity services
  • Incident response: The costs of installing and maintaining incident response technologies and tools
  • Insurance: The myriad cyber insurance coverages and the costs associated with them
  • Threat assessment: The costs to assess cyber threats across an IT environment
  • Training: The costs to design and implement cybersecurity training for employees

In addition, the organization should analyze cybersecurity spending across all departments. That way, it can establish a budget that accounts for the cybersecurity requirements of all employees.

2. Educate employees

Learn about common cyber threats and their impact on organizations and teach staff how to guard against them.

A cybersecurity education program should be updated regularly. This enables an organization to teach staff about new cyber attacks and ensures they know how to identify and respond to attacks in their early stages.

3. Identify the right cybersecurity tactics

Incorporate tactics in your cybersecurity strategy. These are the actions that can be taken to respond to a cyber attack. They can support other business strategies as well.

For instance, if the organization falls victim to a ransomware attack, it can use tactics to respond to the incident. The organization can then streamline its cyber attack response and accelerate incident recovery.

4. Track results

Create metrics to monitor cybersecurity strategy performance. These include:

  • Intrusion attempts: The number of times a cyber criminal tries to breach an organization’s networks and systems within a designated time frame
  • MTTD (mean time to detect): The average time it takes an organization to identify a cyber attack
  • MTTR (mean time to resolve): The average time it takes an organization to mitigate a cyber attack
  • Days to patch: The time it takes to implement security patches across an organization

Prepare cybersecurity reports and assess them periodically. These reports give an organization insight into its security posture and identify cybersecurity weak points, allowing the organization to address them accordingly.

5. Remain persistent

Continue to enhance your cybersecurity strategy. Cyber criminals are always searching for new ways to attack organizations of all sizes and across all industries, so an organization should not rest on its laurels.

Instead, it should regularly assess its security posture and ensure it is properly protected against cyber threats.

Penetration tests and other assessments give insight into an organization’s level of security, helping it see how resilient it would be to a cyber attack and allowing it to identify and mitigate any cybersecurity gaps.

Finally, an organization should encourage employees to share any cybersecurity concerns or questions, and provide feedback on the cybersecurity strategy, allowing the company to make changes as needed.

How you can get started

An organization, its employees, and its customers can reap the benefits of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

It will help the organization prepare for cyber attacks, and protect it against financial losses and reputational damage should an incident occur.

You can find more tips on how to get started by reading Cybersecurity 101 – A guide for SMBs.

Small organizations often struggle to know where to begin when developing security defenses due to a lack of expertise and resources.

This free green paper explains that it doesn’t take a team of dedicated professionals and a huge budget to implement effective measures.