You always wanted to become a cybersecurity professional and you succeeded in achieving your goal after years of hard work and dedication. Now, you are promoted to the hot seat of cybersecurity leader in your organization. The first thing you will notice after being promoted to the leadership role is that it is a different ball game altogether.
With hackers always looking for an opening in your security systems, securing all your business infrastructure whether it is your network, applications, databases, cloud infrastructure etc is a daunting task. If you are new to this role and don’t know how to keep everything secure from hackers and cyber-attacks, then you are at the right place.
In this article, you will learn about seven critical things new cybersecurity leaders should focus on early in their careers.
- Build a Team
First thing is first. Build a team. Focus on talent, skills and experience when hiring team members. Build long term relationships with your team. Surround yourself with cybersecurity experts. This will help you to fill in the skills gap. For instance, you don’t have a cybersecurity analyst at your company so you can fill in the skill gap by hiring a cybersecurity analyst. You never know a member of your network can also recommend a resource. That is why it is important to build a strong network.
- Find a Mentor
Irrespective of how good you are at cybersecurity; you need someone to guide you and settle into the cybersecurity leadership role. That is why it is important to find a mentor who has the led their organization to success in the field of cybersecurity. You can also meet with your predecessor and benefit from his experience and knowledge. You can also follow some of the top cybersecurity professionals. Once you have a mentor, they can guide you on how to overcome challenges you face in the first few months of your job.
- Create a Cybersecurity Plan and Strategy
If you want to implement a foolproof cybersecurity system in place, then it won’t happen without creating a cybersecurity plan and strategy. Invest time in creating a cybersecurity plan for your company that outlines how you will secure your critical infrastructure from cybersecurity attacks. Create a cybersecurity strategy that clearly highlight the small steps you will take to achieve this goal.
Here is how you can create a winning cybersecurity strategy.
- Create an incident response plan
- Create and implement an information security policy
- Involve key internal stakeholders
- Regularly test your recovery plans
- Containing the incident
- Involve external stakeholders
- Investigate and document every incident
- Develop a damage assessment and recovery mechanism
- Assess Your Risk
In order to assess the magnitude of the cybersecurity risk that threaten your business, it is important to take the following steps:
- Characterize all the function, processes and applications
- Identify the threats
- Determine the impact of risk
- Analyze the control environment
- Likelihood rating
- Calculate your risk rating
Divide all the processes, functions and applications into different categories. This will help you in identifying the threats associated with any of these elements. Next, assess what impact risk could have on your business. Ask yourself, how likely are your business of getting affected by a cybersecurity attack. Do you have risk management and administration controls in place? Do you have controls such as authentication controls, infrastructure data controls when you buy VPS servers? Calculate the risk after taking all these factors into account.
- Test Your Incident Response
Start off by conducting some tabletop exercises. It is a great way to test your incident response plan without putting more pressure on it. It shows you how a cross functional team would perform during a cyberattack. Although, it is not as effective as simulating an incident on your network, it serves as a great dress rehearsal.
If you want to check how strong your incident response plan really is then, try to replicate a cyberattack. It will show you how strong your security plans are against such cyber threats. If it fails to save your critical infrastructure then, you need a new incident response plan. It is better to test it and fix it before hackers do. There is nothing worse for a business than having an incident response system in place which does not work when you need it the most.
- Increase Security Awareness
Most new cybersecurity leaders focus more on securing critical infrastructure which is why you will find them investing money on buying the best hardware and software. Although, there is nothing wrong with that but unfortunately, they do it by ignoring the most important thing, people. People are the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain and hackers know that.
They launch frequent social engineering attacks to trick users in giving out critical business information and sensitive personal information. If you want to prevent your employees from becoming a victim of social engineering attacks then, you should also invest in cyber security training and awareness programs. The more aware your employees are of latest threats, the less likely they are to fall prey to such attacks. Test the knowledge of your employees with exams to see what employees have learned from these training and awareness programs.
- Think Beyond Compliance
Another common mistake most new cybersecurity leaders tend to make is they see cybersecurity and compliance as one entity. The fact is that they are two different things and you should treat them separately. Compliance requirements might change gradually while the cybersecurity landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. This means that if you are relying on compliance to save you from cyberattack then, you are behind the eight ball. Complying with a handful of standards does not guarantee your security. You will have to think beyond compliance and beef up your cybersecurity to protect your systems from emerging threats.
What critical things should a new cybersecurity leader focus on? What did you do when you were a new cybersecurity leader? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.