The phrase “time is money”, originally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, reprimands the slothful for wasting their working hours. As one of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin clearly never worked a day in cybersecurity. This is an area where fresh blood is hard to find to fill the skill gap in an ever-expanding digital world of proactive threat actors and potential breaches. All departments are busy, resources are stretched, and very few businesses are cash-rich right now, even if they do see the necessity to invest in cybersecurity. While there is constant pressure on every business unit to save time, money, and resources, the cybersecurity team, in particular, must be mindful of achieving this without jeopardizing the digital safety of the enterprise.
A solid monitoring solution
Taking a “risk-based” approach to cybersecurity is an obvious first step. As opposed to being reactive, digital security departments have to assume that cybercrime is inevitable. This is a methodology backed up by current statistics where, at the time of writing, attacks are rising at more than 6% a month. Recent cybersecurity statistics are a call to action for company leaders to take risk management seriously and for them to invest up-front in security teams to prevent exponentially increased expense and potential disaster later.
Treating security like a game of “whack-a-mole” is expensive and time-consuming. Departmental knowledge may be focused on reactive rather than preemptive cybersecurity. Knowledge is power, and creating a posture of risk reduction through awareness means fewer surprises and less responding to trends, headlines, and blind emergencies – which all cost precious resources and unpredicted costs.
Ensure reductions in false positives
Security teams engaged in monitoring can’t be expected to react to every potential threat, as there could be tens of thousands or more of these a day. They need to react to what is real, immediate, and important, to optimize human assets and to prevent alert fatigue (desensitization to what’s perceived to be unmanageable due to unnecessary proliferation).
A system that delivers more accurate actionable data, with fewer false positives, is important for saving time and resources. This means that security teams are reacting with clear guidelines as to what’s important, and clear advice on how to react accordingly, not what could be and might be. This leaves critical capacity for our cybersecurity practitioners to work on the myriad of other things that daily require their attention.
Only pay for the tools you use
When did you last conduct a review of the tools you use? According to the IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute’s 2020 Cyber Resilience Organization Report, the average enterprise has 45 different security solutions and technologies deployed. Reviewing what you actually need, and unifying these tools into one suitable solution and one interface means financial savings and a reduction in maintenance, training, scheduling, and manpower.
Reduce your company threat landscape
By putting less risk in the hands of your colleagues, you naturally limit the threat surface. If they can’t visit unsecured websites then that danger is removed from the equation. Effective global privacy settings across the enterprise can drastically reduce the chances of your staff picking up malware or viruses. A zero-trust policy, granting only those who need it access to specific websites and functionality, can mitigate a lot of potential problems.
Implementing a good spam email blocker to weed out emails containing links to malicious websites that might steal credentials or install malicious code is an excellent preventative strategy that, for a small investment, can save wasted time and expenditure in the future.
The bulk of cybersecurity operations traditionally require human intervention. Many of these tasks can be automated, such as monitoring and detection systems adding machine-based threat intelligence to programmatically detect, investigate and classify cyberthreats (with or without human intervention) by identifying potential issues, assign degrees of urgency to them, then alerting stakeholders to allow response to them in a timely fashion.
Other areas for possible cybersecurity automation might include the detection of threats already existing within your network, extraction and collection of data for reporting, automatic software updates, finding and classifying sensitive data, user permission attribution, and certificate management – to name but a few.
It’s important to analyze your return on investment. How many staff do you have tied up in compliance reporting? How many hours do you spend on security audits a year? What’s the average number of hours a year you spend juggling database logs? This is all easily streamlined, as are many other tasks, with the right cybersecurity automation systems.
Automation affords fewer errors, optimizes decision-making, and is both efficient and cost-effective. It can also work to fill the current industry talent shortage gap within many cybersecurity teams and is inherently 24/7/365.
Educate your staff
Human error is one of the most significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Usually through inadvertent mistakes, humans are the biggest threat to the cyber health of any business. Reducing the chance of human error when handling organizational data makes it inherently more secure. Making your colleagues aware of the practice of phishing scams and good IT security practices, through basic internal training in conjunction with your HR department, can save time and resources later. Half a day of creating a video voice-over to go over a few easy-to-understand slides, showcasing the importance of cybersecurity and your company policy, is priceless compared to the cost of a ransomware breach.
Simple savings in both manpower and budget can make a big difference to your efficiency and security posture. Automation, education, and consolidation can make a big difference in ongoing (and surprise) financial and resources outlay. A small investment now can, and will, reap time-saving, resource-saving, and money-saving rewards further down the line – plus provide a more secure security posture while filling potential skill gaps. Efficiency is the way to save time AND money, thus saving resources. Take that, Ben Franklin.
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