Hospitals, pipeline operators, universities, social media platforms, credit rating agencies, municipalities, retailers, banks—all kinds of organizations have found themselves paralyzed and at the mercy of hackers who stole sensitive data, remotely shut down operations, and wormed their way into broader networks belonging to customers and suppliers.
No industry or organization is immune.
The problems inherent in cybersecurity are only likely to multiply in the coming years. As more organizations move their IT infrastructure to the cloud in the hybrid work era, hackers are using sophisticated strategies to exploit weak security points that present themselves, such as when employees are signing in from less secure home and remote networks.
As the costs rise with each attack, C-suite executives are right to treat the issue as greater than just an IT department concern.
Today, the threat is existential—each organization survives on the strength of its ability to manage risks and improve resilience.
At TCS, we believe no matter the organization, industry or geography, the C-suite must be involved with cybersecurity. Each organization must take a deliberate, tailored, and comprehensive approach to combat inherent cybersecurity risks and threats.
Fighting cyber threats is not easy, however. It involves significant investment and requires multiple options and decisions.
Here, we lay out some of the core principles and approaches to building a cybersecurity strategy that is efficient, effective, durable, and resilient.
Factors that need to be considered:
Zero trust mindset
In fact, people present the greatest risk to an organization’s cybersecurity. Employees and executives expose vulnerabilities inadvertently or fail to keep networks secure. Many organizations have found too late that their systems are only as secure as their least vigilant vendor or employee.
Our experience suggests that the best solution is built on a zero trust model, which considers all internal and external entities as ‘untrustworthy’ and a potential source for breaches of the organization’s security. Nothing is trusted by default; everything requires verification. This security model is designed to be context-aware, risk-driven, and adaptive enough to meet the fast-changing and rapidly-expanding complex threat landscape.
Delivering against this assumption requires attention and investment at the highest level. We have developed specific tactics, such as regular testing and AI-driven analyses of employee behavior, all of which establish a zero trust model throughout the enterprise, educating employees and third parties on its principles and enforcing it rigorously.
With a culture of awareness and a supporting system, even a successful attack is blunted in its impact, and the attackers are more likely to be discovered before they can do too much damage.
A tailored approach
The effectiveness and efficiency of these technologies depend meaningfully on what problem you’re trying to solve. Some executives may require vulnerability remediation, while others need a greater focus on vendor risk.
Depending on your geography and industry, a focus on consumer privacy may be paramount. Either way, the solution often rests in using the proper tools.
We believe that the right solutions for one organization won’t be the same for another—even in the same industry. The key is to work with a partner who offers a variety of horizontal products, platforms, and services backed by deep intellectual property and use cases.
Ingenuity at scale
Ransomware tools can now be downloaded from marketplaces on the dark web. In other cases, ransomware is sold as a service, much like apps on the cloud. These ransomware-as-a-service options allow less experienced hackers to execute more ambitious attacks and significantly increase cyber risks.
The best response recognizes the invaluable input of teams of security professionals and threat-response centers, along with alliances and partnerships, multinational teams, local intelligence units, and security solutions at scale. Because of the broad scope required, boutique approaches may be insufficient to cope with the breadth of risk and vulnerabilities.
In addition, we have noticed that most organizations find a direct relationship between the effectiveness of cyber measures and the speed of their implementation. The longer it takes to bring cyber measures up to design, the less likely they are to work, and what’s worse, the less return on investment is gained.
The next threats
While enterprises focus on protecting their e-commerce applications, they must also safeguard the related development ecosystems, such as cloud, infrastructure, and platform-as-a-service. Having a tested and assured method for this requires systematic compliance and automation. Setting this up at scale and building in the required repeatable level of capability is an ongoing exercise that often causes concerning gaps.
CISOs can address these gaps by adopting automated platforms that provide enterprise-wide asset visibility with real-time integrated analytics on the risk and security posture of the enterprise.
Today’s CISOs must be equipped to mitigate fast-emerging threats and proactively prepare for tomorrow’s. Cyber threats emanate from networks of advanced cyber criminals plotting new attacks, exploring today’s defenses for weaknesses, and sometimes leaving behind evidence of their work. The C-suite must consider these as signals of future threats and be prepared to detect, defend, and respond.
The only thing more challenging than a cybersecurity attack is making the difficult choice of what technologies and services to use to combat various threats.