The memories of that day are still vivid in my mind like it was yesterday. It was 27 June 2017 when more than 80 companies from Ukraine and other parts of the world came under a cybersecurity attack. When their employees turn on their computers, they are greeted with a message saying, “Your files are encrypted.” The cyber attacker asked for a bitcoin payment to decrypt these files.
Before businesses could even figure out the gravity of the situation and react, the damage has already been done. Malware has reached that server. Everything from communication, file, and customer data, and even the manufacturing systems are all brought to a grinding halt. The result was an economic loss of $10 billion.
Despite the increasing frequency of such incidents, most companies are still unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with such cybersecurity attacks. They don’t have cybersecurity systems or DDoS protection in place. Even though most executives consider cybersecurity as important but what they do not realize is the damage these cybersecurity attacks can do to their business both at a financial and operational level. This happens because business executives do not really see cybersecurity from a strategic perspective.
In this article, you will learn why your business should stop seeing cybersecurity from an operational lens and start seeing it from a strategic perspective.
The first thing you need to do is to create a cybersecurity strategy. This will help you secure your critical assets and business processes. Additionally, it will also allow you to take full advantage of strategic opportunities that come your way. Most importantly, it will give you a better idea about what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can bolster your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. With a well-thought-out cybersecurity strategy, you know exactly what your goals are and what are the steps that you need to take to achieve those goals.
Give you a Competitive Advantage
As mentioned before, most businesses look at cybersecurity from an operational perspective. This means that if you start seeing cybersecurity from a strategic angle, it will automatically make you stand out from the crowd and give you a competitive edge over your competitors. Despite its advantages, most businesses never pay attention to this. Due to this, they not only become the target of cybersecurity attacks every now and then but also miss out on an opportunity to distinguish themselves from other players in the market.
Improve Cybersecurity Resilience
In today’s cybersecurity landscape where hackers are one step ahead of security professionals, it is not about whether your business becomes the target of cyber-attacks or not but about when your organization will become the victim of one of these attacks. That is why it is important to boost the cybersecurity resilience of your organization.
Here are some of the ways you can adopt to improve the cybersecurity resilience of your organization.
- Invest in endpoint security solutions: like identity and access management
- Increase cybersecurity awareness of your employees
- Protect your DNS connection
- Regularly back up your sensitive data
- Evaluate how effective your incident response plan really is
According to Stephane Nappo, Global Chief Information Security Officer at Société Générale, “The five most efficient cyber defenders are Anticipation, Education, Detection, Reaction, and Resilience. Do remember: “Cybersecurity is much more than an IT topic.” He further adds, “Threat is a mirror of security gaps. Cybersecurity threats are usually a reflection of our weaknesses. Businesses need a vision for digital and behavioral gaps in order to ensure consistent cyber-resilience.”
Enhance Organization Capacity to Learn
When a business with a cybersecurity strategy is affected by a cyberattack, they learn from it as the weaknesses are made evident. Numerous studies have shown that executives that have a cybersecurity strategy can enhance organizational learning and offer new opportunities to capitalize on.
Unfortunately, things are a lot different for cybersecurity leaders without a cybersecurity strategy. Moreover, cybersecurity strategy can also pave the way for process improvement, innovation, external collaboration, and partnerships as well as leadership development. When a business adopts a strategic approach to cybersecurity, it will open doors for closer integration and collaboration of IT and business teams, which would benefit the business in the long run.
One of the biggest mistakes business makes is they wait for cybersecurity attacks and then react to it. Instead, they should adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Since most businesses see cybersecurity through their myopic vision, they suffer even more. You should be expecting the best but should be well prepared to handle worst-case scenarios. Having an incident response plan is also critical. There is nothing worse for a business than to see their employees looking at each other with a confusing face with nobody knowing what to do in a crisis. An incident response plan saves you from that kind of situation.
Change Your Mindset
If you want your business owners to look at cybersecurity from a strategic point of view, you will first have to change their mindset from threat-driven to opportunity-driven. They are used to analyzing cybersecurity from an operational standpoint. Yes, it would not be easy and the change won’t happen overnight but if you stay consistent and tell them about the benefits of seeing cybersecurity from a strategic perspective, they will surely think about changing their approach to cybersecurity. After the shift, they will stop seeing cybersecurity as a lose-lose investment that they previously did.
Irrespective of how much you improve the processes and tools, they are still managed by humans who are subjected to different types of biases. Most executives will set different strategic priorities based on the specialty. They tend to divert funds and make investments in areas that they are experts in. This narrows down their vision and limits the possibilities for an organization while leaving vulnerabilities exposed throughout the organization. Executives are better off defining cybersecurity issues based on the potential impact a cybersecurity attack could have on their organization.
How does your business approach cybersecurity? Share your approach with us in the comments section below.