Cybersecurity is a Process, Not a Project

Cybersecurity is a Process, Not a Project

August 15, 2023

You’re finally ready to take a deeper dive into meeting your organization’s IT security goals. There are many reasons for the change – we explored some of them in our article “4 Reasons Businesses (Finally) Invest in Cybersecurity” – but no matter your big-picture security needs, it takes a lot of work for an organization to launch a proactive IT security initiative.

The benefits of proactive IT security

The good news is that, if you can successfully make this switch to a proactive IT security approach, you’ll cut your risk of cyberattack in half. You’ll experience more consistency with your IT spending, and be forced into ad-hoc investments less often. You’ll have a greater peace of mind about your level of security. You’ll be more resilient in emergencies and potential security incidents. And you’ll be more prepared for upcoming changes to industry or cyber insurance standards.

The difficulties of proactive IT security

But “becoming proactive about IT security” is a lot easier said than done, and there’s no single way to get there. Every organization’s needs and priorities are unique, which makes every journey unique. If you’re not a lifelong cybersecurity expert (or even if you are), how can you hope to get to that destination?

The route to "more secure" isn't clear.

Because cybersecurity is such a complex topic, it can be hard to even understand your organization’s IT security needs, let alone invest in the right solutions to fix them. What does “secure” even look like? How do we know we’re not meeting it already? And how would we know when we do reach it – if such a thing is even possible?

The IT security landscape is so uncertain that, for most organizations, identifying a known weakness and setting goals to mitigate it can feel nearly impossible. Instead, many business leaders make IT security investment decisions on loose criteria, basing their decisions on a variety of less important factors – up-front cost, ease of implementation, name recognition, fancy bells & whistles, or even good old “gut feeling.” But with this approach you’re likely to run out of money before you make any tangible security progress, because of how modern cybersecurity evolves so quickly.

There are always more security products.

No IT security tool will ever be able to perfectly meet every security need. Because cybercrime is a constant arms race, new tactics emerge constantly…with bad actors waiting to capitalize on each one. When these vulnerabilities are discovered and addressed by security experts, cybercriminals simply move on to the next exploit, while still keeping all the old vulnerabilities in their back pockets, just in case.

This not only causes a constant flood of security threats…it also causes a flood of security solutions, as experts work to mitigate, circumvent, and pre-empt developing threats while still protecting against older (but still active) ones! If you tried to purchase every modern cybersecurity solution on the market, you’d run out of money long before you ran out of threats.

It’s clear that proactive cybersecurity is fraught with pitfalls and uncertainty. Executed poorly, it can waste valuable leadership time and company resources…while still missing the security mark! So what’s the solution? How can you pick the “best” security products to get you where you need to be?

IT security is entirely different…except, it really isn’t.

Let’s take a break from IT for a second. Imagine that your organization was struggling to meet its goals in another area of operations – say, something wasn’t working with your sales team’s performance. How would you go about solving this problem?

Through one method or another, you’d likely do some variation of the following:

  1. Investigate your current approach
  2. Talk to the team members involved
  3. Identify the area of weakness and the factors affecting it
  4. Establish some milestones for improving that weakness, and
  5. Create a mechanism to track and sustain that progress.

In short – you’d tailor your response to address your organization’s unique needs, and you’d make consistent effort to push that response towards success.

Your IT security is in your hands.

Strangely, many organizations don’t take this same approach with cybersecurity. They see cybersecurity as somehow “different” from other aspects of their business, so it doesn’t get looked at from a leader’s perspective. But modern IT is so integrated with every other aspect of an organization that nobody but leadership can truly make informed IT decisions.

Because most business leaders aren’t “tech people,” their instinct is to delegate IT cybersecurity decisions to someone else at the organization (read more about this dynamic in our article “Proactive IT Budgeting | The Planning Gap Between Executives & IT”). That might work for day-to-day upkeep, but when it comes to managing risk and setting a long-term IT strategy, other members of your team simply don’t know enough about the big picture to make these decisions.

Your security strategy is not the responsibility of your IT director, your managed services provider, or an outside consultant. These experts can give you advice and guidance along the way, but only an organization’s leaders can make – and own – its cyber security decisions.

It’s not really about the products.

Faced with this reality, many leaders might shut down or check out from IT security. They may make ad-hoc security investments for arbitrary reasons, including when they see something in the news, when an industry peer gets hit by ransomware, or when their cyber liability insurance requires it, but a bigger-picture strategy often feels way out of their depth. With security decisions, picking the “wrong” security products is a constant worry…to say nothing about picking the “best” ones!

But, again, let’s jump back to the sales team example: if your sales team was struggling to accomplish its goals, would you expect a single new sales tool to solve that problem entirely? Of course not! You might include a new tool in your approach, but the bulk of your solution would be assessing your team’s specific weaknesses and building a plan to address them.

The same principles are even more important when it comes to your organization’s IT safeguards: every cybersecurity tool does something slightly (or vastly) different. Improving your organization’s cybersecurity isn’t magically different from improving other aspects of a business: in order to get the right solutions, you need to be targeting the right problems.

Ultimately, there are no “best” cybersecurity tools – just the tools that are best for your needs. Instead of chasing individual cybersecurity projects, taking the time to build a process to proactively identify and address your needs is the best bet for maintaining your organization’s cyber security.

Never built a cybersecurity process before? Mytech can help.

A proactive cybersecurity approach can completely change your organization’s security for the better…if you build it properly. Putting that strategy together, and properly assigning a leadership team to drive it, is no easy task, and there are plenty of pitfalls throughout the process.

If you were planning to climb Everest for the first time, you’d need a climbing guide who knows the terrain and can guide your decisions. Likewise, if you’re ready to take control of your IT security approach, and you want to make sure you put your best foot forward, partnering with an experienced cybersecurity advisor can keep you on the right track and mitigate many of the risks of building your strategy blind.

Cybersecurity Leadership and Advisory Services (CLAS)

Mytech Partners has been advising small and medium-sized businesses on their IT security and risk management decisions for decades. By engaging with our Cybersecurity Leadership and Advisory Services (CLAS), you will benefit from our experience and amplify your investments of time, energy, and money. By consulting with us, you will build resilient information security policies capable of achieving your strategic goals.

With our help, you will implement a unified vision for your organization’s security. We’ll advise you monthly as you develop understanding, build inertia, and set accountabilities to sustain momentum on your security improvements. We’ll help you assess risks, establish governance meetings, coach your team, prepare for compliance audits, and ultimately solve your IT security challenges.

Proactive cybersecurity will not “just happen” one day by chance. It takes consistent effort from your organization’s entire team to push forward. But with Mytech’s help, you can get there, and finally take control of your organization’s IT security strategyso you can stop worrying constantly about security, and start planning for your future with confidence.

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