Alongside the development of the world, organizations have started to interface more of their processes to the cyberspace. A company’s reputation, intellectual property (IP), staff, and customers are at risk of being compromised. To properly protect their assets, enterprise businesses need a solid cybersecurity strategy installed.
New threats are emerging regularly; estimations show 300,000 new types of malware being identified daily. The cost of carrying out a cyberattack is decreasing, and the number of incidents is building up. The average cost of just one of these attacks is over $380,000. Small-and-medium-sized businesses spend an average of $1.2 million following cybersecurity incidents. 60% of these small businesses were forced to close within six months of the attack because of the huge financial toll as well as the damages.
The good news is, these attacks can be relatively predictable. With a strong security posture installed, enterprises can address security threats reliably.
Proactive vs reactive cybersecurity
Proactive cybersecurity involves preemptively identifying and addressing security weaknesses and threats before an attack occurs. On the other hand, reactive cybersecurity involves responding to incidents that have already happened.
While there is no replacement for a solid, reactive, cyber-security defense strategy that focuses on the core best practices of patch management, SIEM, log monitoring, SOC, and so on, such an approach on its own is insufficient to mitigate threats. Once a security incident has occurred, the damage is already done. The data loss and the cost and time to fix the impacts and the potential downtime of any system have already caused financial, reputational, or other losses to the client and business.
The majority of today’s cybersecurity practices are reactive. Most organizations are not adequately prepared against cybersecurity incidents until it is too late; they wait for a cybersecurity incident to happen before they take action. However, having a proactive approach to security rather than reacting to every new threat can be time-saving and cost-effective. A proactive approach to cybersecurity defensive measures is the best approach to make sure there is little to no room for attackers to exploit the network.
Necessity of a proactive approach to cyber security
Even though businesses have been taking a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, they are still far behind in cybersecurity preparedness. An IBM study revealed that 48 percent of surveyed IT security practitioners reported a data breach that resulted in the loss or theft of more than 1,000 records that contained sensitive or confidential information.
The reactive approach may save costs for clients initially, but eventually, it will increase costs and will ultimately result in a damaged reputation. The cost of responding to a single public vulnerability is almost always more than being originally prepared for one. Furthermore, harsher regulatory penalties are being doled out for not properly securing third-party data and digital information.
On the other hand, a proactive approach will help organizations define a baseline level of cybersecurity; this will engage your security team with threats and notify them to take action in real-time.
Proactive cyber security tactics include:
- Threat hunting
- Ethical hacking
- Proactive network and endpoint monitoring
- Dark web monitoring solutions and managed security packages
Proactive cybersecurity is a continuous process. This means that business operations and ongoing product development should be conducted with cybersecurity in mind early in development. Organizations need to begin by anticipating attacks by implementing zero-trust strategies, leveraging real-time threat intelligence, deploying behavioral analytics tools, and implementing a cohesive security fabric; hence, tie information back into a unified system that can preempt criminal intent and disrupt criminal behavior before it can gain access to the network.
Proactive Security Model
The Proactive Security Model follow (Fink, Spencer, & Wells, 2006), shows the necessity of having a proactive approach to cyber security by describing the main components of one:
- Map Architecture: to understand the network and its technologies, how they are connected, and what communication paths they lead.
- Conduct a Risk Assessment: understand what vulnerabilities exist, what impact they have, and having a plan in case of a breach.
- Digital Asset Identification: understanding the location of the digital assets and whether or not they are secured.
- Profile Model: identify critical assets to provide the needed protection.
- Identify and Remove Vulnerabilities: complete patching and removal of the existing vulnerabilities
- Standardize Policies: establishing a standardized policy for the protection of all assets
- Incident Response: monitoring the network logs on a regular basis to track possible breaches/security incidents.
- Training: training of the users and employees for following the policies as well as knowledge on what to do in case of an attack.
Thee proactive security model can easily adjust to a small business’ architecture.
Cyberattacks are evolving making the old security measures inadequate; organizations of all sizes are targeted more than ever. This calls for a solid and strong cyber security solution to protect a company’s data and information.
Although reactive cybersecurity methods are excellent at preventing known malware from entering a network and corrupting a business’ databases, these methods are not sufficient on their own to prevent an attack. In reality, reactive cybersecurity methods should be a component of your defense against hackers. Even so, many businesses still use these reactive strategies as their only cybersecurity measures.
The faster an organization addresses a security issue, the cheaper and easier it is to fix. With the integration of reactive and proactive security, organizations can make sure all their digital assets are safe and secure.
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