Enterprise Security - it's a Marathon, Not a Sprint.
Tacitus, one of the greatest historians and scholars of Ancient Rome, claimed that “the desire for safety stands against every great enterprise”. And while that is not necessarily true — maintaining a healthy dose of both security and free progress has always been a careful balancing act.
This is particularly true in the contemporary world, where a rising number of cybersecurity threats makes running even a small business increasingly difficult. The days when only large businesses with complex systems had to think about enterprise security are long gone.
Considering that — how should organizations approach enterprise security in a digital age?
The Need for Enterprise Security
Today, cybercrime is undeniably on the rise. Organizations and individuals alike are forced to contend with increasingly active and inventive cyber-attacks. And cybercriminals are focusing on a wide variety of targets — proving to be more adaptable than ever before. While small businesses have been their main targets for the past couple of years; the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the astronomic rise of remote work has shifted their priorities.
Companies of all sizes, as well as government organizations, have been targeted by cybercriminals. The need for quick deployment of a remote work infrastructure has left many companies with cyber security breaches — with cybercriminals waiting to exploit them around the next proverbial corner.
The answer to this issue is an all-encompassing approach to enterprise security. And this isn’t a one-time service that a business can obtain from an entity in the InfoSec industry; instead, we’re talking about the need for constant vigilance and a continuously alert informational security policy. But what does this entail in practice?
What is Enterprise Security?
The “enterprise architecture” has long been considered a set of “best practices” for the organization of businesses; more specifically, the roles and processes by which businesses use and create data.
And within that architecture, enterprise security is, as the name suggests, the modern security solution; one that integrates technology, data, and business practices to ensure the highest possible level of cyber security within an organization.
In practice, this means that enterprise security is not one thing; rather, it’s one of the ongoing processes within every successful business. And this particular process guarantees the safety of the business’ information assets, such as:
A successful enterprise security policy means that none of these company assets are vulnerable from a security standpoint — with an uncompromised availability, integrity, and confidentiality.
Enterprise security is a multi-faceted industry and discipline, which uses many tools and services to achieve this — from cutting-edge technology to detailed company policies. And the latter also serves as guidance on who is supposed to implement security policies within a company — while also spelling out who has what kind of access to which data assets.
The Shifting Tech Frontier of Cyber Crime
When it comes to the tech solutions required for a successful enterprise security process, the list is practically endless — or rather, it’s ever-evolving. At the end of the day, cyber security is a response to cybercrime. And unfortunately, cybercrime is constantly shifting and evolving as well; forcing organizations to seek equally innovative tech solutions to maintain their enterprise security.
Third-party risk management is one of the aspects of enterprise security that has gone over the most rapid changes in recent years — with OSINT-powered vulnerability discovery engines like Rescana turning the tables in the technological arms race against cybercriminals.
Tools like this are essential for the establishment of a trustworthy risk management program. And this is more important than ever, considering the amount of data that even traditionally analog companies are processing these days.
Mitigating risks is only possible through the swift identification of risky assets, the threats posed to those assets, and any measures that can be implemented to resolve them.
We work, live, and exist in a rapidly changing business ecosystem. Enterprises are changing, cyber-attacks are changing, and security paradigms are changing — which is why an effective enterprise security effort must be ready to adapt to new challenges as well.
From all of this, it appears that Tacitus’ views do not hold up today — security is the bedrock of a successful enterprise and not its hindrance. But what kind of continued approach is required to ensure long-term enterprise security?
A Team Effort
Considering all of this, it’s logical to ask — is cybersecurity a technological issue, a human issue, or a legal issue? The answer to that is simply: yes.
In practice, enterprise security stands at the crossroads between law, technology, and the human factor. With that in mind, the proper organizational and individual approach to enterprise security is just as paramount as using the most contemporary security technology.
Any successful company must have long-term and short-term business goals — and its enterprise security policy should be in line with those goals. Both line staff and business managers must have routine input in the security processes and technologies used to protect company data assets.
Every single staff member should be aware of the challenges, duties, and goals of the organization as a whole, and their peers — especially when it comes to security goals. That way, no one will be pulling in the wrong direction and thus waste company time and resources.
In other words, a high-quality enterprise security program is not exclusively top-down or bottom-up; it’s a hybrid, bi-directional model — one where every security stakeholder is involved and able to provide input. Higher executives can focus on strategy, security risks, and their effects on company growth — while middle-management and the lower staff echelons can discuss specific tools, tactics, and ground-level issues.
More Than Words
When stakeholders are not truly invested in enterprise security, it’s easy for a company’s security program to remain nothing more than a filled checkbox on the page of an auditor. However, while enterprise security is not strictly a top-down system — the approach from top brass still trickles down to the tactical and operational levels in the company.
In other words, if top executives invest serious energy and forethought into cybersecurity, other company stakeholders will follow suit. Conversely, if there’s only the minimum needed investment in cybersecurity training, tools, procedures, and policies — that kind of attitude will resonate with others as well, and they will perceive enterprise security as a secondary objective.
A truly effective security program requires a more substantial approach from the entire organizational structure. Cybersecurity has to be a clear overarching goal for the whole company, and a business differentiator on a strategic level. The road for achieving a sufficient level of security needs to be mapped out in the long term, and then clearly communicated to all stakeholders.
Quality Incident Response
While cybersecurity needs to permanently permeate the company culture, having a sufficient level of readiness for incident responses is important as well. Many companies make the mistake of having incident response teams purely consisting of technical staff.
Instead, the incident response should involve senior management, DevOps, R&D, PR, legal, and any other relevant departments.
Everyone involved in the security chain must be taught vigilance, without becoming overzealous — the incident alarm shouldn’t be triggered with false flags frequently. With that in mind, attack and threat simulations are an important part of any incident response initiatives. That way, there won’t be any panicked wrong moves.
Furthermore, any manager trying to improve the security status within an organization will need allies. In most cases, these will be security enthusiasts that are already present in the company; promoting them will go a long way to improving the security culture within the company.
A Positive Outlook
The current growth of the cybersecurity industry is reactionary — mostly triggered by the rise of high-profile cybercrime in the previous decade. However, looking at enterprise security as a mere tool of mitigating risk is not only needlessly negative — it’s also factually wrong.
In an age of rampant cybercrime, resorting to fear-mongering to raise enterprise security is the line of least resistance. However, any long-term security effort needs to be supported by clear data — both from your own company and similar industry examples from competitors.
The vigilance of a strong enterprise security system has a bright side as well — one that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with risk alleviation. Remember those smart third-party risk management (TPRM) solutions we’ve mentioned, for example?
TPRM platforms like Rescana can help with company growth as well. Their smart solutions asset analyses and threat prediction can significantly reduce vendor onboarding times. Plus, a strong enterprise security structure can be a boon when it comes to customer acquisition as well. At the end of the day, no one wants to be associated with an insecure company in the digital age — and being perceived as secure is an attractive trait to have
Security Equals Competitiveness
Also, a methodical approach to enterprise security allows companies to empower mobile employees as well; something that has proven to be more important than ever in the age of COVID-19 and the meteoric rise of remote work.
This is something that’s not going to change back to the way things were after the end of the pandemic; according to most industry analyses, plenty of newly remote jobs are staying remote. And that means companies will need to use new techniques to vet mobile workers properly, develop and deploy new digital certificates, and stay up to date with the relevant technologies; all to remain competitive in a fast-changing world.
The rapid pace of technological development has left the appropriate legislative solutions lagging. However, “smart law” is slowly catching up — with data privacy regulations from different jurisdictions becoming more and more difficult to comply with simultaneously. And the future of data regulation is set to become even more complex; which is going to be a major issue for many companies going forward. On the bright side, however — that’s just one of the many reasons why a long-term enterprise security policy is an asset, rather than a burden.
Having a staff that’s used to dealing with cybersecurity concerns and internally trained experts means being better prepared for the changing landscape of compliance issues tomorrow. Data protection encryptions will evolve, and the companies that are already used to an evolving security landscape will be more competitive than those who become hopelessly outdated.
It Really Is a Marathon
In the end, it all comes down to one overarching theme — enterprise security is a long-term commitment. It’s not a process with a beginning and an end; especially in a digital world. Just like the need for a security guard in an office building — it’s always necessary if you want a stable and thriving company in the age of the Internet, there’s no finish line or final destination for enterprise security.
Even now, security is a firmly embedded part of our business culture. Considering that, it’s not a question of choosing between using enterprise security or not; rather, it’s whether you’ll have good security or bad security. And that’s no choice at all.