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A Cybersecurity Program within the Framework of Whole-of-Government Cooperation and Approaches

Pathlock
April 28, 2016

A Cybersecurity Program within the Framework of Whole-of-Government Cooperation and Approaches

Companies are constantly under the threat of cyber attack, with hackers using increasingly sophisticated strategies to bypass security measures. As reported in a recent article from the MIT Technology Review, we live in an era of “mega-breaches,” Planning workdevastating attacks that can uncover huge volumes of sensitive information, expose company secrets, and bring business operations to a halt. It’s impossible to completely avoid an attack. Along with prevention measures, companies need to develop effective ways to monitor for threats, react to an attack quickly and minimize the damage if an attack is successful. It’s not enough for a company to leave its entire cybersecurity program in the hands of an IT department or outsourced IT personnel. Although IT staff are integral to implementing an effective cybersecurity program, the best approach to security is company-wide, with trained senior leaders collaborating and making informed decisions regarding cyber policies, strategies and planning. Taking a whole-of-government approach With a whole-of-government approach, your company develops a culture dedicated to cybersecurity, with different departments pooling resources and cooperating on decisions, and with all of your employees on board with your policies. A whole-of-government approach takes into account the reality of cybersecurity: that your company has multiple areas of vulnerability, and that you need a comprehensive, coherent plan to address these potential weaknesses and increase your resilience. Key senior leaders will collaborate to make decisions encompassing a number of cybersecurity issues, including the following:
  • Compliance with regulations. Depending on your industry, your security measures need to comply with various regulations primarily aimed at protecting sensitive data.
  • IT infrastructure vulnerabilities. What are the major sources of weakness in the hardware and software you use? What steps can you take to strengthen your IT infrastructure? You’ll need to conduct a comprehensive review involving everything from your company’s website to the servers you use.
  • Employee training. A major source of cybersecurity vulnerability is poor training and awareness among employees. Your employees may be downloading unsafe software or files, using unauthorized devices, and transmitting data through insecure pathways. How can you better educate your employees on cyber security and enforce your company’s policies?
  • Delegation of responsibilities. Who has administrative privileges in your company, including access to key passwords and the ability to significantly alter your IT set-up? In the event of a cyber attack, who is in charge of the initial response, and what steps do they take to counteract the attack and inform other people? It’s important to be specific about roles and responsibilities.
  • Business continuity measures. Business continuity is a critical component of cybersecurity. If hackers strike or your company experiences another cyber disaster, you need to ensure that your business gets up and running again as soon as possible. Resilience is especially important for key programs and operations, which is why you have to identify and prioritize those. Furthermore, you need to establish a policy for backing up and quickly restoring data.
When determining the best strategies for your company, remember that you’re aiming to develop a system for cybersecurity, and not simply coming up with a list of disjointed and disparate measures. Under the guidance of senior leaders, your company can significantly improve its resilience to an attack. In order to develop this kind of cybersecurity program, the key leaders in your company need to undergo training to better understand cybersecurity risks and the threats they face. Once they’re taught about threats and resilience, they can work together to formulate, adopt and enforce company-wide policies. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance on how to develop a comprehensive cyber security program that fosters a culture of awareness, protection and resilience. Cybersecurity is ideally a collaborative enterprise based on well-informed decision-making, creative thinking and up-to-date knowledge.