Written for ignyteplatform.com by June Rachel
The future is already here. Is it everything we expected? That depends on who you ask, but the nightmare of maintaining cybersecurity has certainly persisted just as many sci-fi stories predicted.
As we move further into the digital era, the stakes in cybersecurity only get higher and higher. So what are some of the main things that organizations should consider in building a solid cybersecurity strategy? Here are a few tips below.
Regular Surveillance and Updates
This should be the bare minimum in cybersecurity policies, but it’s incredible how inadequate and antiquated systems can be in many organizations. There are often understandable reasons for this, such as highly specialized software that’s difficult or expensive to upgrade. But attackers will target these vulnerabilities, which only makes regular surveillance and upgrades even more important.
For example, ransomware lost headline attention after the mid-2010s only to return with a vengeance in 2021 when an attack managed to shut down the US Colonial Pipeline. Now considered a national security threat, ransomware has consistently extorted companies for years, often through a single compromised device on a network. Federal advice is to apply patches (updates) as regularly as possible and utilize antivirus software.
A Broad Perspective on Vulnerabilities
There are few industries where a digital transition isn’t either in progress or inevitable. Even the most stubbornly manual of sectors are taking advantage of modern information systems for things like communications, transactions, and design efficiency. But every moving part that goes digital — however minimal — is also a potential point of failure in an enlarged ‘attack surface’ of connected technologies.
Unlike manual security systems, attacks that can break those potential weak points are highly scalable, so every aspect of the transition needs to include cybersecurity. For example, the healthcare system has seen spikes in attacks in recent years due to its widespread use of outdated software, even as it adopts newer technologies such as blockchain medical records.
The cybersecurity landscape is in constant flux. What is relatively secure today could turn out to be critically vulnerable tomorrow. In order to keep up, companies will need to hire people with training in defensive cybersecurity. Defensive cybersecurity is all about staying on top of current threats, as well as implementing strategies and techniques to minimize them.
As digital security becomes more complex, it’s vital that organizations not only hire dedicated resources but also put their other employees through cybersecurity and data security training regularly to keep up with changes in the industry.
Implement Up-to-Date Technology Solutions
Cyber criminals are utilizing any and all technology available that can enable them to compromise data. Companies and other organizations should do likewise to defend themselves. AI is already being used to identify threats, including malware and more sophisticated phishing. Blockchain has already been mentioned as a way for users to leverage encryption to gain granular control over who has access to what information and the applications of decentralized systems like this go beyond medical records. The key here is to carefully review and select appropriate solutions as time goes on.
There may be no such thing as perfect security, but there are plenty of things we can do to strengthen systems against threats. Most of all, it’s important to stay on top of both the technical and the human aspects of these systems, as both are potential entry points for attacks.