Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cyber Security: Build a Culture of Prevention in Your Organisation

Cyber Security:  Build a Culture of Prevention in Your Organisation
Prashant Mali, 
Cyber Security Policy & Law Expert - India

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” 
Ursula K. Le GuinThe Dispossessed

Today all organization’s need “Cyber Security Revolution”  i.e they need to bring in culture of cyber security within their organization. A strong cyber security culture is both a mindset and mode of operation. One that’s integrated into day-to-day thinking and decision-making can make for a near-impenetrable operation. Conversely, a security culture that’s absent will facilitate uncertainty and, ultimately, lead to security incidents that you likely can’t afford to take on. This is also brings us to have Cyber Insurance as part of the organisations culture.

What is a organizations cyber security culture?
An organisation's cyber security culture is the styles, approaches and values that it wishes to adopt towards cyber security.

The lack of robust security protocols and standards for data exchange between enterprise systems, devices and personal/home devices can put organizations at increased risk and exposure. However, by employing a comprehensive threat intelligence strategy, organizations can more effectively, proactively and sustainably defend against threat adversaries. The development of policies, procedures and training can further prevent attacks and raise user awareness to be mindful of clicking links, executing files or sharing account information. “When building cyber security capabilities, a Chief Security Officer must be able to identify data in an organizational environment, know the systems, devices and networks on which they are located, and build a security profile around them that addresses potential vulnerabilities,”
A strong cyber defense strategy should address how to prepare and monitor attacks, respond and ultimately recover from breaches. At a minimum, security architecture should be able to stall adversarial efforts, thwart attacks at each phase and facilitate a rapid response. Today, there are several cyber security frameworks that organizations may use as guidelines - such as ISO, COBIT and NIST - to develop security architecture. By overlaying these with counter-responses to the tactics, techniques and procedures that a threat adversary may employ, CISO’s can develop a robust defensive infrastructure. 
Many of these defensive strategies can be broadly characterised into the following three classifications:
1. Mitigate threats before they enter a network by having the basic controls in place -such as ensuring that operating systems and anti-malware, web filtering and antivirus software on servers and endpoints are updated and patched to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and infections. At a primary level, preventive measures can be employed by implementing layers of firewall technology to stop known attacks. At a secondary level, the potential damage of a breach can be mitigated through automated alerts and notifications that quickly activate appropriate response measures according to security protocols. By training employees and building a culture of cyber security from top management to workers on ground, many breaches can be prevented upstream through user awareness of potentially malicious links, emails, websites, advertisements and files. As Kevin Mitnick notes in his book, The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security, these technological methods of protecting information may be effective in their respective ways; however, many losses are not caused by a lack of technology or faulty technology but rather by users of technology and faulty human behavior. It stands to reason then that people not only can be part of the problem, but also they can and should be part of the solution.
2. Discover threats that have entered or tried to enter systems. No organization can prevent every cyberattack, but it is important to build a response system that can alert your security staff, rapidly identify a breach and its scope, and notify other enforcement points so that a breach can be contained without extensive collateral damage. Depending on the adversary, an organization may be better served by disrupting and throttling an attack rather than responding with a knee-jerk reaction that tips off an adversary to engage in additional attacks.
3. Respond to any threats that have breached the network. In addition to deploying sandbox appliances which can test and detect novel threats, it may be recommended for some organizations to deploy internal network firewalls and mitigate an attack once a network has already been breached. Depending on the extent to which data is stored on internal or external servers, organizations may need to develop coordinated responses to a breach with other entities.
The risk of cyber attacks is no longer limited to the IT desk, it is a key business issue that must be addressed by the Board. No organization can be completely immune from cyber attacks and adversaries. However, they can take appropriate measures to erect defenses and integrate cyber security into the business environment and culture. Management buy-in, establishing policies and updating them regularly, identifying and communicating the security awareness goals and message clearly and often, and performing assessments are crucial to a successful cyber security awareness program. By implementing some of these changes, organizations can achieve higher levels of cyber security awareness maturity and benefit from a stronger cyber security culture. 

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