According to stats released in 2022, cybercrime costs the world $6 trillion annually, which is equivalent to 1% of the global GDP. And with cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and frequent, this number will only rise. In fact, cyber threats reached an all time high during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased by over 600%. This means that companies, including small businesses, must take a proactive approach against cyber attacks and think about how to develop a cybersecurity strategy to protect themselves.
What is a cyber security strategy?
The European Union Agency for Cyber Security (ENISA) defines cyber security strategy as a plan of action that organizations use to protect their networks and data from cyberattacks. These attacks can come in many forms, such as viruses, malware, phishing scams, ransomware, data breach and denial-of-service attacks.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), on the other hand, defines cyber security strategy as "the high-level plans, policies, and processes that guide an organization's cyber security program."
An effective cyber security strategy should be comprehensive and tailored to the specific needs of the organization. Therefore, a good cybersecurity strategy should consider the organization's size, type of business, and the types of data it stores and processes. The cyber security roadmap should also be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it remains effective in the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats.
Key elements of a cybersecurity strategic plan
For a cybersecurity strategic plan to be effective, it needs to address the following key elements:
- Application security. This refers to the security of the applications used within the organization, such as email, customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
- Information security. This refers to the security of the organization's data, both in terms of confidentiality (keeping it private) and integrity (ensuring it is accurate and complete).
- Network security. This refers to the security of the organization's computer network, which includes both hardware (routers, switches, etc.) and software (firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, etc.).
- Disaster Recovery Planning. This refers to the organization's plan for how it will recover from a cyberattack. This plan should identify the critical systems and data that need to be recovered and establish the procedures and capabilities for doing so.
- End-user security training. This refers to the training that the organization's employees need to identify and avoid cyberattacks.
That being said, if your organization does not have any cyber security strategies, here is how to build a cybersecurity strategy from the ground up:
1. Conduct a cyber security risk assessment
This is the most important step in developing a cyber security strategy. The goal of the risk assessment is to identify the organization's cyber threat landscape, its critical assets and vulnerabilities, and to assess the potential impact of cyber threats.
Organizations can do this by conducting interviews with key stakeholders, reviewing existing documentation, and looking at cyber security incident data. Once the risks have been identified, they can be prioritized and addressed in the cyber security roadmap.
2. Identify cyber security goals and objectives
Based on the results of the risk assessment, the organization should identify cyber security goals and objectives. The cyber security goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and align with the business goals. Objectives, on the other hand, are the actions or steps that need to be taken to achieve the goals.
The cyber security goals and objectives an organization sets depend on the specific needs and concerns of the organization. However, some common goals and objectives include:
- Improving cyber security awareness among employees
- Implementing stronger cyber security policies and procedures
- Enhancing cyber security defenses
- Detecting security incidents and having an incident response plan in place for such incidents
3. Select the appropriate cyber security controls
After the goals and objectives have been identified, the next step involved in the process of how to build a cybersecurity strategy is to select the appropriate cyber security controls. Cyber security controls are the measures or actions that will be taken to achieve the cyber security goals and objectives.
There are many cyber security controls available, and which ones an organization chooses to implement will depend on the specific goals and objectives that have been set. However, some common cyber security measures include:
- Access control: This involves limiting access to computer systems and sensitive information, such as intellectual property, only to authorized users.
- Data encryption: This involves transforming sensitive data into a form that cannot be read or understood by unauthorized individuals.
- Firewalls: This involves using a hardware or software device to prevent unauthorized access to computer networks, thereby improving network security.
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems: These are cyber security systems that detect and prevent attempts to gain unauthorized access to computer networks.
- Virus protection: This involves using antivirus software to identify, remove, and protect against viruses and other malicious software.
4. Implement the cyber security roadmaps
Developing a cyber security implementation plan is the next step in building a cyber security plan. This plan should detail how and when the selected cyber security controls will be implemented.
The cyber security implementation plan will vary depending on the cyber security controls that have been selected. However, there are three cyber security strategies frameworks that organizations can consider implementing to develop their implementation plan. These are the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, CIS Controls and the ISO/IEC 27001 standard.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a cyber security framework that provides guidance on how to implement cyber security controls.
CIS Controls is a cyber security framework that provides guidance on the 20 critical cyber security controls that are most effective at mitigating cyber threats. By implementing this framework, Venture Beat estimates that CIS Controls can reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack in a company by over 85%.
The ISO/IEC 27001 standard, on the other hand, is an international cyber security standard that provides requirements for an information security management system.
5. Monitor and test the cyber security controls
After the implementation of cyber security controls, it is important to monitor and test them regularly. This will help ensure that the controls are effective and remain effective over time.
There are many ways to monitor and test cyber security strategies. Some common methods include:
- Vulnerability scanning: This involves using automated tools to scan for weaknesses or vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks.
- Penetration testing: This involves using ethical hackers with the right certifications to test cyber security defenses by attempting to gain unauthorized access to computer systems and data.
- Security audits: This involves assessing the effectiveness of cyber security controls and procedures.
- Employee training: This involves providing cyber security awareness training to employees on a regular basis.
6. Update the cyber security strategy as needed
Once your cybersecurity strategy has been implemented, it is important to review and update it regularly. This will ensure that the strategy remains relevant and effective over time.
According to Bitdefebder, there are many factors that can affect the cyber security landscape, such as new technologies, changes in the business environment, and new cyber threats. As such, it is important to keep the cyber security strategy up-to-date so as to ensure that the organization is prepared to deal with any new cyber security risks that may arise.
Organizations can review and update their cyber security strategy by regularly conducting a risk assessment. This will help to identify any new cyber security risks that may have arisen and determine what changes need to be made to the strategy to mitigate these risks.
Developing cyber security strategies is an important part of protecting an organization from cyber attacks. By taking the time to develop a cyber security strategy, organizations can ensure that they have the right controls in place to mitigate cyber security risks. Additionally, by regularly reviewing and updating the cyber security strategy, organizations can ensure that their strategy remains relevant and effective over time.
Nevertheless, cyber security is an ever-evolving field, and no organization is immune from cyber attacks. As such, it is important for organizations to remain vigilant and continuously take initiatives to monitor their cyber security posture in order to ensure that they are prepared to deal with any new cyber security threats that may arise.
ne Digital's role in cybersecurity
ne Digital can help your organizations with how to develop a cybersecurity strategy and its implementation. We have a team of experienced cyber security professionals who can help organizations develop, implement, and monitor their cyber security solutions.
We have a proven track record of helping organizations to implement effective cyber security controls that meet industry standards. Additionally, we can help organizations monitor and test their cyber security controls regularly. This will help ensure that the controls remain effective and continue to meet the organization's needs over time.
Is your company looking to develop a cyber security strategy? Talk to our experts in Cybersecurity Managed Services today to learn more about how we can help you protect your organization from cyberattacks.