To tackle cyber security effectively, we need to find new ways to meet the cyber challenges facing all of us. As CTO for Telefónica Tech UK&I, I regularly speak to organisations that find it hard to know what they need in today’s fast-evolving threat landscape. Many others, despite using ‘a proliferation of’ cybersecurity tools, are simply overwhelmed.
To maintain cyber resilience and keep employees, data, and systems safe, it is important to consider the following 3 points when assessing your cyber security strategy.
1. Can you move fast enough?
Business leaders must evaluate the capacity of IT teams and stress-test for when things go wrong. How long would it take your IT team to spot a breach, for example? Would this time put many of the team offline and affect business operations? Downtime is highly costly for businesses, with estimates of loss of income at more than $5,600 per minute*, depending on company size and outage time. That’s why the speed of detection is what many customers are now focussing on; however, few companies have 24×7, always-on security professionals at hand that can swiftly detect and remediate. And this slow response time can cost businesses crippling amounts, especially when it comes to large-scale attacks.
Many IT teams are unsustainably stretched – which the numbers only back up. According to Government figures, half (50%) of all businesses have just one person managing or running cyber security in-house; even among large businesses, the average cyber team comprises just two to three people.** Defending businesses against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats is an incredibly demanding task; as a result, teams struggle to stay on top of important security practices such as vulnerability management and 24/7 network monitoring.
2. Do you have sufficient resources?
Identifying, deploying, and updating several best-of-breed technologies into one comprehensive security position takes time, effort, and continuous resources. This is why many under-staffed CISOs, CTOs, and technical managers opt for smarter, security-as-a-service alternatives. Security consulting and managed services aim to take a proactive approach, learning from threat intelligence and the customer base, to help customers stay in step with the changing threat landscape.
To ensure applications and data held within cloud and data centre solutions are better protected, implementing a zero-trust approach will be high on all business agendas for the next 12 months. Similarly, the Gartner-coined Cyber Security Mesh approach is becoming a business priority, and one of the principals for ensuring your Cyber Security ecosystem can work harmoniously together to protect against threats. This approach further underlines how our thinking needs to evolve beyond point solutions to consider how security tools need to work together to provide the ultimate protection.
However, with the greater adoption of cloud technologies, continued hybrid working, and the increasing cost of preventing cyber threats, only organisations who can access specialist expertise and advanced cyber security solutions will be able to successfully adopt these new security principles.
3. Do you have the right expertise?
Governments and cyber security bodies across the world have flagged the growing cyber security skills gap and the pressing need for more cyber skills training across the board. For example, ENISA, the EU’s transnational cybersecurity agency, says despite the number of cyber security graduates doubling in the next two years, cyber skills will remain in short supply.***
The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, meaning that managing cyber security requires specialist knowledge and skills that must be continuously refined and updated to reflect the complex threat landscape.
To compound the skills shortage further, companies are also being challenged to think differently about how they protect their assets. For example, concepts like Zero Trust requires a cultural shift in order for design and architecture solutions to be successful.
This further emphasises the need to seek external expertise to carry out dedicated security training, especially if already-stretched IT teams are expected to take this on as an additional task.
A Way Forward
To limit the risks posed to both businesses and the well-being of IT staff, effective cyber security and risk management requires dedicated professionals that are specifically trained, able to continuously identify new threats and maintain digital resilience across your entire organisation – from your infrastructure, your apps, and data, to your network and endpoints.
By outsourcing security, businesses can gain access to a breadth of specialised expert knowledge, as well as an external viewpoint and fresh perspectives, which are essential when making any changes in or additions to IT infrastructure as businesses grow.