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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Make Security a Priority

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Make Security a Priority

This month marks CISA’s 18th Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a joint effort between the government and public to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity. Although the month is coming to a close, security should be a year-round priority for you and your organization. Read on as we share how security is the responsibility of the entire organization.

Building a security company culture 

An organization’s entire workforce must be actively engaged in reducing risk. People are the biggest asset to an organization, but also the weakest link. Every organization is at risk, whether a small non-profit or a Fortune 100. Leaders must embrace cybersecurity education and this “all in” mentality by incorporating security into the company vision and mission. For HR teams, this means making security training a part of onboarding and providing continuing education. And all employees must take ownership of the role they play in protecting the business against attacks: 

  • Think before you click; avoid unknown emails, links, and pop-ups 
  • Maintain good password hygiene and protect your credentials
  • Install security, software, and OS updates as advised by IT
  • Use MFA
  • Keep your devices safe
  • Beware of social engineering
  • Use secure Wi-Fi 

For a more in-depth guide to cyber readiness, take a look at CISA’s Cyber Essentials to develop an actionable plan to implement security best practices.

Implementing security as code 

DevOps is the process by which software code is written and implemented to create or modify an application. A significant challenge of the DevOps process is that security is second to speed and user experience, often added too late in the game or not at all, leading to application vulnerabilities. Enter DevSecOps. The concept of DevSecOps is to build security in as early as possible and at every phase of the software development lifecycle. This process, referred to as “shifting left,” means that the earlier security is involved in the development process, the earlier issues can be resolved, and the faster applications can be deployed. Above all else, DevSecOps allows for organizations to provide customers with increasingly secure applications at an accelerated rate. Due to the vulnerable nature of business-critical applications, building security into an application development lifecycle is essential.

Keeping business-critical applications secure

As stewards of the company's technology portfolio, IT teams are responsible for the business-critical applications. Security is a top priority, and with good reason. Organizations rely on resources such as SAP Business Suite, which contains personal identifiable information, financial records, and other important data, or Salesforce, which holds customer and prospect information. While these applications modernize business practices, streamline processes, and provide increased flexibility to adapt to work-from-anywhere initiatives, they also create a complex web that makes it challenging to understand risk. IT security practitioners must work to protect against internal and external threats. 

Internally, IT teams have to keep an eye on ​​excessive authorizations, segregation of duties, user impersonations, misconfigurations, faulty integrations, and more. Externally, teams should continuously monitor for malicious attack indicators, keep systems and applications patched and updated, and establish a robust vulnerability management program to stay ahead of ransomware groups. Given the complexity of today’s business ecosystems, IT can partner with a security provider to automate this testing and security. As organizations continue to migrate applications to the cloud, IT should understand how applications are integrated and share sensitive data with other applications and third parties to reduce interconnected risk.

Communicating the importance of security initiatives can be challenging for security professionals but is vital to keeping a business healthy. Organizations with a strong security posture live and breathe a culture of security with every employee keeping security at top of mind.

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