The final week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is all about making security a priority, not an afterthought. But how do we define a "cybersecurity first" mentality?
Webster defines first as “preceding all others in time, order, or importance.” For an organization to put cybersecurity first they need to make it a high priority, which means the cybersecurity strategy needs to be driven from the CEO down to the newest hire. Putting cybersecurity first may seem aggressive for some organizations, but when you consider the implications, they might reconsider how high of a priority it is.
Prioritizing cybersecurity as an organization is valuable for employees because it helps them understand what they can do in their day-to-day roles to help the company avoid a cyber-attack. Buy-in from leadership and, in turn, all company employees, is critical since all cyber incidents involve people. People are an organization’s biggest vulnerability; people like to click on things, they like to be "helpful" and send money or gift cards when requested to do so by colleagues, and various other activities that cyber criminals convince them to do. Building a culture of cybersecurity, and establishing a regular and thorough security awareness program, can help employees successfully combat cyber threats.
Prioritizing cybersecurity also helps protect an organization's financial well-being. Cyber attacks aren't just disruptive; they can be very costly for an organization. These costs can affect a multitude of areas such as: data destruction or theft, productivity, theft of intellectual property, embezzlement, and brand damage. Any or all of these could cause an organization to lose money or integrity, which is why making cybersecurity a priority can have a direct impact on the company's overall success and help secure its bottom line.We are also seeing regulatory bodies and governments looking to implement more controls and consequences for businesses that are neglecting their fiduciary duty by not implementing cybersecurity guardrails. If cybersecurity is part of an organization's culture and business plan, they can easily meet compliance requirements. And, by following a cybersecurity framework that aligns to their business objectives and goals, they can prioritize the people, processes, and technologies in a way that's not overwhelming.
Putting cybersecurity first does not mean having all the latest technologies, running one-off scans or tests, or checking a compliance box every year. Rather, by having cybersecurity strategy as part of your business and on the mind of every leader and employee in the organization, it will become part of the culture and remain a priority.
Partnering with cybersecurity professionals, like the team at IGI, can provide the strategic guidance and support an organization needs to put cybersecurity first. IGI takes a holistic approach to align cybersecurity strategy to business needs.