The advances in technology seen in the past few decades have led to the widescale adoption of networked devices in both private and public spaces. However, the gap between IT and business leadership has led to a breakdown in communication and lack of understanding of the full scope of defending these assets. This top-level ignorance in turn affects the IT decision-making organization-wide and the common practice in the case of a successful breach is to assign blame, discuss implementing new procedures, and continue as before until the next attack.
The scope of a cyber defense program is what often catches decision-makers off-guard. Increasingly, every machine in the workplace is connected in some shape or form and each is an attack space. Business leadership should remain informed of the steps taken to protect against a breach from each of these devices. To do so, they must ask themselves several questions on the status of their cybersecurity practice, as outlined in this opinion piece by the Forbes Technology Council.
Here are seven cybersecurity questions to ask the C-suite to determine the state of their network defense:
1. Do You Have a Real-Time Inventory of Your Networked Assets?
Since every device expands your attack surface, whether they are for private or company use, each piece represents a digital touchpoint that must be protected. A network security review will include being able to locate and identify each and every potential gateway into your enterprise’s network. This must encompass not only desktop hardware, but mobile devices used for business purposes, and which tools your traveling and remote employees may be exposing your network to.
2. Can You Monitor All of Your Networked Assets Consistently?
Once all possible touchpoints are identified, they then have to be tracked – week-to-week, day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. Many cybercriminals rely on breaches going unnoticed to avoid repercussions, either from silent infiltrations or from their victims preventing news of the attack becoming public knowledge. The most optimal time to achieve the former is when your organization least expects an attempt.
3. What Would be the Chances and Impact of a Breach of One or More of These Assets?
A potentially hard but necessary question to answer is just how well can you measure the vulnerability of each of your networked assets? Some machines are easier to exploit than others, while some provide more direct access to critical systems or data and there will be at least a few that could qualify for both categories.
4. How Long Would It Take for a Breach to be Detected?
As previously stated, often the greatest advantage hackers have is stealth and some attacks can be deterred by vigilance. Regardless of the stage of the breach, any attempt to control the extent of the damage must begin with recognizing where and when it took place.
5. Can You Quantify Your Ability to Limit the Attack?
Cyber resilience, or the extent of an organization’s ability to respond to and sustain the effects of a breach, represents the true measurement of your business’s IT investment. This reflects not just surface level protections against hacking, but the full scope and ultimately the viability of your digital assets when faced with a disruption as significant as a dedicated cyber assault.
6. What Has Been Done for Cyber Resilience?
This is another question that must be answered honestly to truly gauge the state of your cybersecurity practices. In purely practical terms, all other defensive measures are secondary to ensuring your business actually survives a cyber attack in the first place.
7. Can You Estimate ROI on Your IT Security Initiatives?
Taking cyber resilience into account, the final step is to calculate your informational security expenses against the sustainability of your organization in the face of a breach. This will give you a clearer picture on the value of your investment and the return you are receiving on your cybersecurity initiatives.
Knowledge is Key to Protecting Against Cyber Attack
Experience and training are the best tools for identifying cyber threats and defending your network against them. Arming your organization – from decision-makers to individual employees – with the right information allows you to recognize the signs of a breach and respond appropriately.
Download our e-book, “The Essential Cybersecurity Toolkit for SMBs,” to learn how to better protect your business.