Developing a Corporate Culture to Embrace Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity should be a priority in every organization. In many instances cyber vulnerabilities often go unrecognized until major issues or problems occur. The first step in securing a cyber environment is to create a companywide culture for all parts of the business. It requires an awareness of the risks that are present and attention paid to vulnerabilities as a daily routine. Once you know where weaknesses are, you can take the appropriate action to address them.

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A culture of cybersecurity involves all of the organization’s people and its processes across each department and operating area. Creating a culture of cybersecurity does not happen overnight. It takes time and attention to many variables. Just like any corporate culture, it is a culmination of company values, behaviors, and attitudes of the people within the organization from the top on down.

Cyber risk is defined as the vulnerabilities created when you use computer and network technology. Creating a risk management mind set involves designing, implementing, and performing procedures and controls necessary to ensure and protect the safety and security of all information systems assets, including prevention of intentional or inadvertent access, modification, disclosure, or destruction.

All too often, the focus on cybersecurity is solely on the technical issues. Exposures arising from the use of social media or the Internet of Things (IoT) cannot be ignored. Unaware of the dangerous security risks associated with private online activities, such as indiscreet use of social media, use of public clouds for proprietary information, and mixing company data with private data on mobile devices, people do not realize they are an inside agent for a serious threat.

The habits of everyone working in the organization need to be evaluated in a cybersecurity program. In addition to employees, consultants, contract workers, and third-party vendors present cybersecurity risks. Not only do these risks need to be determined, processes and solutions or improvements to protect the company from cybersecurity vulnerabilities and weaknesses must be initiated. Once a program is in place, all parties should also know how to behave and respond when practicing cybersecurity.

Strategic planning to establish a comprehensive security program must go beyond cybersecurity and include physical security. Physical security is one of the most overlooked topics in cybersecurity. An understanding is needed of how security products perform and what information protection is included in a platform or solution. Architecture, design, and development of systems, components, applications, and networks must be scrutinized for weakness in a system.

Certain mechanisms, deployed on multiple levels, create a series of barriers to prevent, delay, or deter an attack. These practices in regard to products involve using strong passwords, updating firmware, disabling anonymous access, implementing authentication protocols, and consistently monitoring system logs and servers. Many surveillance systems are deployed in the field, for example, with default passwords on all equipment, including cameras, switches, recorders, and more. At the very least, all surveillance network devices, including cameras, clients, and servers, should be changed from the defaults with strong passwords to prevent access to the network.

To prevent unauthorized remote access, physical security systems can be connected to multiple virtual networks to improve security. An easy but typically overlooked method of keeping unauthorized devices from accessing a switch is to disable all unused ports. Internet Protocol (IP) -based solutions can incorporate authentication protocols and data encryption standards to help mitigate risks of cyberthreats.

Care must also be taken to guard against actual access to the systems themselves. To avoid attackers gaining physical access to a computer, an obvious strategy as a first line of defense is access control; allowing only authorized individuals into the building.

By tying building access to network access, you can deter unauthorized individuals from accessing an unattended computer if they do gain entry into the building. You can limit access to the network, for example, if the user has not swiped a badge. This method can be further extended to allow access to assets only if individuals are accessing them from a terminal they are registered to use. A multifactor authentication can be required—a security badge as ID and a password or biometric.

Monitoring for potential unauthorized access is also a necessary part of a protection program. Track all users; areas they are allowed access; when they access those areas; which computers and servers they use, and so on. New technology allows for monitoring the network for potential unauthorized access. Video analytics automates an alert of an incident when a possible breach occurs. A video surveillance system used in conjunction can retain the video from the area where an attempt was made.

There is clearly great business value in having a strong cybersecurity culture. Cybersecurity needs to be taught and practiced; and everyone must agree to conform to organizational security-related policies and procedures.


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