Security Leaders: Stay Ahead of Cyber Threats with a Proactive Approach to Protecting Digital Assets

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

Staying ahead of cyber threats and safeguarding the digital assets of their organizations, is increasingly challenging for enterprise security leaders today. Digital transformation, expansion of work from anywhere, and evolving global, regional, and industry-specific regulations are significantly increasing security and compliance risks in organizations. In this environment, cybersecurity is a make or break proposition for enterprises, creating an imperative for CIOs and CISOs to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

A proactive approach to managing cybersecurity risks is vital for helping security leaders stay one step ahead of threat actors, mitigating cyber risk to protect business operations, company reputation and financial stability.

Some of the key proactive strategies CIOs and CISOs can implement to safeguard their organization’s sensitive information, data, and systems include:

Building a cybersecure work culture

According to a survey of IT and cybersecurity professionals by TechTarget’s Enterprise Strategy Group and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), more than one-quarter (27%) of respondents rate their organization’s cybersecurity culture as fair or poor. A weak security culture is a significant problem for organizations that can lead to the exposure of sensitive business information.

To build a strong security culture, security leaders must make employees the first line of defense against cyber threats. ‍According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, training employees is the cheapest, easiest way to boost cybersecurity.

Given that 74% of data breaches involved the human element, employee cybersecurity training should vault to the top of the priority list for security leaders. Regular training that educates employees on the latest cyberthreats, social engineering techniques and best practices for avoiding these threats is foundational to building a cybersecure work culture.

Adopting encryption protocols

Encryption plays a pivotal role in safeguarding enterprise data. Encryption protects sensitive data at rest and in transit, changing plain text into cypher text that can’t be read or used without the proper encryption key. Security leaders should implement encryption protocols to protect business communication, files, and databases.

Using encryption, enterprises can protect sensitive business information from unauthorized access or theft. Encryption is one of the best ways to prevent data breaches by making information useless to bad actors if they gain access to it.

Encryption not only protects the confidentiality and integrity of critical information, but it is also a vital security practice for helping organizations adhere to data protection and privacy regulatory requirements such as GDPR and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Staying ahead of data privacy regulations

A growing landscape of international, national, and state laws are regulating the way companies collect, use, and share data. Compliance with industry-specific and general data privacy regulations is now more than ever a critical part of reducing business risk. Companies that don’t prioritize compliance run the risk of hefty fines, lawsuits, loss of revenue, reputational damage, and loss of consumer trust

Security leaders must proactively stay ahead of evolving data privacy laws and industry-specific regulations by adopting a holistic approach that combines employee training, organizational policies and a secure and private by design ecosystem of technology solutions.

Ensuring vendors align with company security and compliance standards

According to a report by SecurityScorecard, at least 29% of breaches have third-party attack vectors. In recent years, third-party data breaches have made headlines, highlighting the risks associated with solution providers. To mitigate this risk, CIOs and CISOs must implement effective vendor risk management practices. This involves a comprehensive third-party risk assessments that ensure vendors are aligned with the strong security, privacy, and compliance standards of the enterprise.

As organizations increasingly rely on third-party solution providers, a proactive approach to vendor risk management is essential for mitigating the risk of data breaches, operational disruptions, and compliance violations.

Using secure by design mobile messaging technology

Enterprise collaboration tools that support remote and hybrid working models are widening the attack surface in enterprises. The proliferation of these tools creates security gaps and blind spots that leave enterprises vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.

CIOs and CISOs must take a security centric approach to deploying communication and collaboration technology. That means adopting secure mobile messaging technology built from the ground up to maintain data security, integrity, and privacy. Mobile messaging platforms designed for the enterprise feature end-to-end encryption (E2EE), protecting data at rest and in transit, ensuring that only the sender and receiver can read messages.

Mobile messaging and collaboration platforms like NetSfere feature E2EE and robust administrative controls that embed data security and compliance into business communication across every channel. That reduces the attack surface, providing no point of entry for malicious hackers intent on accessing sensitive enterprise data.

Taking a secure approach to deploying generative AI

Generative AI is transforming enterprises. Organizations are racing to adopt this technology to reduce operational costs, boost productivity and enhance customer experience. While generative AI holds much promise, the technology, like many new technologies, is not without risk. From output inaccuracies to concerns about data privacy and security, organizations must understand the risks before taking the leap into generative AI.

Today, enterprises are exploring a wide range of generative AI use cases. As companies integrate AI technology into operational areas, they should take a secure approach, evaluating the risks of generative AI and deploying strategies to mitigate these risks. That includes controlling data input, creating AI usage policies, educating employees on safe and unsafe AI usage practices, and vetting generative AI tools to understand how data is collected, stored, and used.

Security leaders today are tasked with securing an ever widening digital landscape in the face of cyber threats that are increasing in frequency and sophistication. To reduce the risks posed by these threats before they become a nightmarish reality, CIOs and CISOs must take a proactive approach to protecting enterprise digital assets. The preemptive steps outlined above can help eliminate security threats and vulnerabilities, creating a cyber resilient organization that is best positioned to grow and innovate.

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