How to Take A Proactive Approach To Cyber Security

Tuesday January 24 2017

Prevention is the best cure. This holds as true in cyber security as it does in medicine.  Security experts have noted a disturbing trend, however: organisations taking a reactive, rather than proactive, view towards cyber security. 

The ubiquitous internet

One of the reasons experts find this trend so troubling is the fact that internet use has become so ubiquitous in nearly every aspect of our lives. From managing our social lives to communicating and collaborating for business, we have developed an almost unbelievable reliance on connectivity in what has been, relatively, a very short amount of time.

In the past, one of the great fears in regards to cyber security was the idea that there would be a massive security breach—a sort of online-nuke—that would bring the entire system crashing down.  While the fear of this has receded, experts are concerned that companies and individuals aren’t taking the newer threats as seriously as they should—threats that could be equally as devastating.

What are these new threats? Defining them, as a matter of fact, is part of the problem. Rather than one enormous threat, we’re facing a legion of small threats—a barrage of threats, breaches, and attacks that could shake the foundation of trust we’ve built in our online endeavours.

Prevention is still possible

One of the major indicators that this has had a negative impact on our trust in the online ecosystem is the fact that many businesses seem to have given up on the idea of prevention. There’s a pervasive sentiment that if hackers want to cause a breach badly enough, they can.

Of course, this sentiment isn’t necessarily wrong in practice, just as it isn’t wrong in practice in terms of physical security. 100% security is probably impossible to achieve. But in spirit, this idea is extremely damaging, because proactive attempts at prevention can provide better security.

Why you should be proactive, and what steps to take

If 100% security isn’t attainable, why take steps to be proactive? The answer is simple: by practicing good preventative tactics, you can better utilize your resources if an attack does take place. If you’re constantly mopping up after minor incidents, you’ll find yourself stretched too thin in the event of a major breach.

So what should CIOs be doing to take a proactive stance? Comprehensive risk analysis is a good start. Knowing your organisation’s digital assets, inside and out is a must. And fostering good relationships between IT and cyber security—between a philosophy of performance and one of safety—is vital.