Cyber attacks are increasingly sophisticated and more frequent. With the average cost of a data breach now exceeding $4.4 million, businesses must prioritize cybersecurity. You need to be proactive about security practices and make strategic investments to protect critical assets.
In the new year, here are some of the key areas where businesses need to reimagine their cybersecurity.
Deploying a Zero Trust Framework
A zero-trust cybersecurity framework requires all users to be authenticated and authorized continuously — whether they come from within or outside your network. This goes beyond traditional security at the perimeter which allows users access once they pass initial authentication measures.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), zero trust architecture requires employing key principles such as:
- Dynamic access controls: Access parameters adapt to the context of requests through policy engines rather than being static. Multi-factor authentication and least privilege mechanisms help tighten access.
- Isolation and microsegmentation: Networks segregate into smaller segments with strictly defined communication channels between them. This limits lateral movement in the event of a breach.
- Inspection and threat intelligence: All user sessions and network traffic undergo scrutiny for anomalies that could indicate malicious activity. Logs feed into analytics and AI for identifying known and emerging threat patterns.
Deployment requires integration of identity and access management, network security, endpoint security, and application security tools.
Improving Endpoint Visibility
An increase in cloud resources, remote connectivity, and IoT devices has caused the number of endpoints in use today to increase exponentially. A study by the Ponemon Institute notes that the average enterprise now has some 135,000 endpoints. Yet, there is limited visibility.
The study uncovered that nearly half of these devices are not actively monitored or detected. That means that for the average enterprise, as many as 65,000 threat vectors are unmanaged and unmonitored. However, every endpoint and IoT device is a potential attack point. This creates significant exposure. In fact, 63% of IT security leaders said this lack of visibility is their biggest barrier to achieving a mature security posture.
Increasing Monitoring and Testing
Visibility is only part of the equation. You need a way to continuously monitor endpoints, software, hardware, and networks. This should include comprehensive monitoring and alerting to detect, isolate, and mitigate threats. Today’s AI-enhanced monitoring solutions are more robust than previous iterations.
The right remote monitoring and management software solution provides real-time monitoring and alert management, IT automation and scripting, patch management, and reporting and analytics. In 2024, such solutions are no longer optional.
New endpoints and network resources are constantly being added. Amid evolving assets and infrastructure, continuous testing for security gaps is imperative.
Training, Upskilling, and Retention
The demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals continues to grow and so does the labor shortage. It’s estimated there are more than 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally. In 2024, CISOs need to focus on training and upskilling security teams. You may not be able to find the talent you need or find candidates with the broad range of skills you want. So, you’re going to need to grow your team and expand their skill set.
You also need to focus on retention. Losing a highly-trained and skilled cybersecurity employee can be devastating. So, putting together a retention plan should be front and center. Documenting processes is another way to help protect your organization. By capturing knowledge, you are more likely to weather turnover.
Shared Threat Intelligence
Every industry is facing cybersecurity challenges. Sharing threat intelligence anonymously can help provide broader protection for partner agencies. The Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity recommends reviewing and revising contractual terms or restrictions that limit the sharing of threat intelligence, especially as it applies to government agencies and contractors.
There’s safety in numbers. When one company sees emerging threats, sharing this information helps keep others secure.
A Strategic Approach to Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity may never become a zero-risk game, but approaching it strategically based on leading practices can help you mitigate and manage risk. Keeping pace with the latest threats, security tools, and skills development is essential in building resilience.