Enterprise cybersecurity strategies: Devising resolutions for 2017

Companies can expect data threats to proliferate in 2017. To help, security experts outline resolutions organizations should make to bolster their cybersecurity strategies.

Cybersecurity continues to be a major concern for companies: Research firm MarketsandMarkets foresees the cybersecurity market growing from $122.45 billion in 2016 to $202.36 billion in 2021. The cost of data breaches is estimated to rise to more than $2 trillion by 2019 and the onslaught of IoT devices is expected to muddle the threat landscape. By 2020, a quarter of identified enterprise attacks will involve internet-connected devices, according to Gartner.

To help enterprises plan, SearchCompliance asked three security experts to outline the top three cybersecurity resolutions that that they think organizations should weave into their cybersecurity strategies.

Diana Kelley, executive security advisor, IBM Security

  1. Manage and control risks. In 2017, many organizations will continue to grapple with driving their digital transformation, while managing and controlling risk. Planning and preparedness will be key to success, and particularly concerning when you consider that unprotected IoT devices can be turned into digital weapons. Organizations should resolve to take a three-pronged approach to secure IoT devices: They should adopt device and data protection that takes into account the context in which device will be deployed, leverage proactive threat intelligence to uncover issues in real time or near-real time, and explore into cognitive risk management as an aid to IoT security.
    Diana KelleyDiana Kelley
  2. Take a practiced and proactive approach to incident response. With increasingly sophisticated hackers and the cost of data breaches soaring, cybersecurity strategies in 2017 will require more focus on swift and efficient response to incidents, in addition to detection. To improve incident response, organizations must assemble a team with the right incident response skills and engage in proactive incident response planning. They should also identify the "crown jewels" of data within their organization that needs to be protected, identify steps needed to notify or communicate with customers in the event of a threat, and practice incident response by simulating attacks to ensure preparedness.
  3. Address the cybersecurity workforce shortage with more diversified talent. Security teams today require individuals with a broad set of technical, research and even business skills. Organizations need to think outside the box and bring on "nontraditional" security hires with different skills and aptitudes that can further develop a more complete and agile team. Bringing more diverse talent into the cybersecurity workforce can provide teams with immediate support and the opportunity to cultivate individual talent within the ever-changing security industry.

Bryce Austin, CEO, TCE Strategy

Bryce AustinBryce Austin
  1. Have a robust data backup plan. Ransomware threats are real. The business models for these criminals is to try to encrypt your data and then blackmail you into getting it back, and it is working very well. The way to prevent it is to have a strong data backup plan: A backup plan where organizations test their restores, and with backups that are preferably air gapped, meaning they are not part of their domain. They can either go old school and use something that can be disconnect from their network, or use a cloud solution and have that cloud solution be impossible to access directly from their domain.
  2. Have a disaster recovery plan in place. The internet of things threats are very real. Things like the DDoS attack in October last year are going to keep happening. What I am advising to my clients is that they need to have a genuine disaster recovery plan that is being tested, and one that assumes that we are going to lose large pieces of functionality like the internet.
  3. The need for a cybersecurity awareness training program. Cybersecurity used to be a problem for banks, healthcare organizations and big companies. Now it's everyone's problem. I am recommending to my clients that their cybersecurity strategies include a cybersecurity awareness training program and that they have an automated patching program so that their computers aren't open targets to the bad guys.

John Girard, VP and analyst, Gartner Inc.

John GirardJohn Girard
  1. Improve standards and communication. Define and communicate a common taxonomy for your cybersecurity strategies; Gartner recommends that companies adopt information security taxonomies for standard use of industry terms. Benefits include improved consistency, understanding and communication on the topic of information security, and better opportunities to communicate the extent and reach of the information security discipline to executive management.
  2. Put your basic security maintenance practices in order. The vast majority of vulnerabilities that lead to malware attacks are already known to vendors, and already solved. If a company is not patching and updating their systems, then they are at high risk of avoidable attacks. Make sure you are keeping all systems up to date by means of patch, and update management products and services. Wherever possible, limit administrative privileges on these systems. Follow a no-jailbreak rule on mobile devices, and don't allow apps from unauthorized app stores. 
  3. Put risk-appropriate authentication methods in place. Compromised user accounts leading to data breaches are one of the most critical, expensive and visible issues facing organizations today. Prioritize security controls to manage appropriate user access to each of your data assets at the endpoint device, on premises and in the cloud. Manage identity permissions and authentication to provide appropriate access to applications and data, and monitor user behavior to detect potential malicious activity.

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