Three strategies for cybersecurity in the long term

The last year has presented new and complex challenges for businesses as they shifted their technology infrastructure to support an “everywhere workplace”.

As enterprises continue to invest in digital transformation, more risk is generated inevitably, and therefore, more protection is required to ensure IT infrastructure and networks remain secure.

It is paramount to keep in mind budget is not the only discussion required. Leadership is now tasked with understanding how security impacts the overall health of an organisation. 

Beyond cost, it’s determining unknown variables ahead of time, educating employees and ensuring they understand their role in protecting corporate data — all of which, in turn, will empower tech teams to focus on more critical work. A key driver? Communication, especially with employees working from everywhere. 

Here are three ways for leadership to re-frame their thinking on cybersecurity in the long term.

Cybersecurity is corporate culture

Cybersecurity culture should be focused on changing employee behaviour to influence the entire ecosystem of company stakeholders — through training, policy and perhaps most importantly, organisational values. 

Executives must stop thinking or associating cybersecurity as a software stack initiative or a password policy, and begin to define ways to weave it into the fabric of corporate culture.

Organisations can do so by creating internal campaigns to shift employee perception from reactive to proactive when it comes to security procedures and data protection. 

When leadership places value in security and encourages and strengthens the bond between IT and HR, the result is an educated, knowledgeable employee base and a seamlessly safer business. 

Cyber hygiene is essential

Some of the world’s worst data breaches were actually caused by a lack of basic cyber hygiene — the measures that are put into place to maintain the basic health of software and devices. 

While managing patches and software updates might sound like mundane table stakes, executives are too often disconnected from the everyday, tactical measures that protect the business from phishing attacks, ransomware and malware.

CISOs and CTOs can bridge this gap by implementing technology, procedures and processes that unify operations and security teams to have a holistic, unified view of all devices on the network, regardless of where they are located. 

The perfect system is worthless if it’s not adhered to — checks and balances must be in place to ensure cyber hygiene doesn’t lapse and create unmanageable vulnerabilities. 

Power to the IT department

IT teams were the heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic, from managing large, global teams that experienced technical issues while working remotely to expediting digital transformation initiatives that would normally take years.

It’s time leadership recognises their capabilities and significance moving forward. 

Instead of applying their capabilities to mundane tasks, the IT team’s high-value time should be reprioritised to focus on more significant initiatives that drive impact and contribute to the company’s bottom line. 

This includes evaluating and managing the right security technology across an organisation to drive substantial workplace efficiencies or enhance the employee or customer experience securely. 

These critical business components drive tremendous value, internally and externally, and help position an organisation to deliver stronger quarterly and yearly results.