Thursday 15 April 2021

Important Strategies for Aligning Security With Business Objectives

What is the objective of implementing cybersecurity in a business? The answer might vary depending on whether you ask a security professional or a business executive.

However, in any cybersecurity implementation, it’s very important to stay focused on the big picture: cybersecurity is there to secure the business and its assets, so the business can concentrate on achieving its business objectives.

For example, if we are a coffee shop, then cybersecurity should be implemented to help the restaurant sell more coffee, and cybersecurity by itself is not an end goal.

To do so, security professionals and executives must align cybersecurity with business objectives, which can be quite challenging in certain cases.

Below, we’ll share important strategies that can help cybersecurity teams move business and cybersecurity alignment in the right direction, starting with the first one.

Know the business objectives inside out
One of the key challenges in aligning security with business objectives is that information security/data security executives (i.e. CISO/Chief Information Security Officer) are often too concerned about security and not the overall business objectives.

Each top stakeholder in the company might have different business and security concerns. For example, the marketing manager might be more worried about the success of the upcoming marketing campaign, while the CFO might be more worried about the cost of security infrastructure and potential losses due to security concerns.

With that being said, explore the following areas to consider how security should align with business objectives:
  • Compliance with local regulations and policies
  • Data assurance, security, and integrity
  • Market trust and brand reputation
  • Availability and performance
  • Culture, policy, and governance
  • Cost efficiency in implementing security controls
Maintaining two-way discussions with management and employees is very important so the security team can prioritize which areas they should focus on to help achieve organizational business objectives.

Upgrade connectivity to improve cybersecurity and productivity
With remote working becoming the norm nowadays, especially due to the COVID-19 restrictions, more employees are now actively accessing cloud resources from home. Even in a traditional office setting, regularly accessing cloud resources in various forms is now also a common practice.

To prevent potential issues, organizations must ensure a more reliable connectivity solution that is also more secure, and SD-WAN (Software Defined-Wide Area Network) can be a viable solution in the following ways:
  • Better security: SD-WAN allows businesses to integrate security directly into the connection, for example by integrating VPNs, encryption, IPS, sandboxing, and firewalls.
  • Reliability: SD-WAN can prioritize critical applications to ensure more reliable connectivity for all employees.
  • Centralized management: security teams can easily integrate essential security functions into a single location, allowing better efficiency.
The implementations of SD-WAN as well as other types of security-focused connectivity solutions, can help businesses in aligning security with business objectives by ensuring fast, reliable, but secure network at all times.

Implement cybersecurity automation to free up time and resources for pursuing organizational objectives
Implementing automation in executing cybersecurity practices has two core benefits:

First, is that while human resources are and should be an organization’s most important security asset, human errors are also often an organization’s biggest security vulnerability. In fact, more than 95% of successful cybersecurity breaches are caused by human errors. Automating the execution of your cybersecurity can help reduce or even eliminate these human errors.

Second, is that automating cybersecurity practices can free up your employees’ valuable time so they don’t deviate from their core competencies, allowing these employees to contribute more in pursuing organizational objectives.

For example, investing in automated bot detection and management solutions like DataDome can help implement advanced, AI-powered bot mitigation. DataDome will stop bot attacks on autopilot and in real-time.

Establish a security-focused company culture
Again, human resources are an organization’s most important security assets and also the most vulnerable security vulnerabilities.

It’s very important to ensure regular training so employees and management can better spot various forms of cybersecurity attacks especially phishing and social engineering attacks.

Creating a security-focused company culture start by building awareness and knowledge of end-users by ensuring:
  • All employees must understand the symptoms of key attack vectors with the highest potential of affecting the organization, so they can recognize these threats in real-world situations
  • Communication is key. Management and employees should maintain clear, two-way communication about security and keep them updated.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress regularly, including updating the employees with new training modules when required
Creating an organization-wide security culture requires commitment both from management and from employees, and improving awareness can be the most important asset an organization should invest in to ensure alignment of security with business objectives.

Recognizing that cybersecurity is a prerequisite, not the end goal
A very common mistake performed by organizations, especially security executives and officers, is treating cybersecurity as the end goal, while in truth cybersecurity is only a means to an end. We need cybersecurity to achieve the end goal and not the other way around.

This is why every cybersecurity initiative should consider the related business objective it’s pursuing, and the cybersecurity team should provide an assessment to explore different options and possible outcomes rather than forcing the idea of security for the sake of security.

We wouldn’t want security teams and executives to get caught up in being like an overprotective parent, hindering the business’s performance by treating security as the end goal.

Thus, cybersecurity should help the business’s goals, and not the ultimate objective by itself.

With various cyber-attacks are continuously growing, both in terms of scale and quality of attack, the negative impacts of these attacks on any business are increasingly becoming more threatening.

This is why aligning cybersecurity to business objectives is now a necessity, ensuring the organization is becoming more capable of mitigating security risks that can hinder the organization’s success while ensuring positive ROI in security investments.

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