Businesses today face a multitude of risks due to the complexities of technology, regulations and system vulnerabilities, as well as other, emerging security threats. According to a recent report by Deloitte, virtually all senior leaders—95 percent of CEOs and 97 percent of board members—believe that their organization’s growth prospects will face serious security threats in the next two to three years.
While organizations realize that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to security, determining the right approach to organizational risk could mean the difference between being an industry disruptor and being disrupted by a competitor, or worse, a security breach.
A robust, effective security program should be strong enough to protect against cyber threats, but flexible enough to allow company information to flow through networks, applications, databases, and servers. It must also remain readily available, free from tampering and accessible only by authorized users.
An intelligent security software solution is the key to managing this complex information environment. Intelligent security software works to transform large amounts of unorganized, unstructured data into valuable, actionable information using data correlations based on factors such as time, location, duration, frequency, and type. An effective enterprise security risk management program should fully integrate into other systems and subsystems, enabling users to focus on managing security situations rather than managing disparate technologies.
When implementing an enterprise security program to benefit an entire organization, it’s important to follow this four-step, holistic approach to IT security.
1. Prepare for Challenges
Network vulnerabilities, current risks, and potential threats can all create complications to security and serve as a source of danger to a company’s information assets. Any weakness or flaw in the system can lead to a security breach. These risks exist not only in the technologies themselves but as a result of people and business processes as well. Unforeseen events, such as loss of network connectivity, can result in devastating outcomes for an unsecure business. To prepare for these challenges, listing out and categorizing potential threats - assessing vulnerabilities based on potential impact to the company - and prioritizing risks based on likelihood and impact is a definite plan for success. Additionally, companies should empower leaders within their organizations who are prepared to explore and tackle the emerging risks that may come along with the advent of innovative future technologies.
2. Manage Third Parties
An enterprise security risk management program often incorporates third parties such as vendors and partners. It is crucial for businesses to select trustworthy third-party companies, as unsecured networks and corner-cutting practices can create vulnerabilities and subsequent security threats. According to the Deloitte report, 62 percent of CEOs feel that the policies of their third-party partners are weaker than their own. A deep understanding of the security measures these companies have set in place is critical to avoiding security issues that may arise from working with them.
While it’s extremely important to hold third-parties accountable to the same risk-prevention standards companies set for themselves, the potential for risk shouldn’t cause companies to shy away from utilizing third-party services. Despite the risks that third parties sometimes create, there are a lot of benefits to working with them. While leaders often plan to primarily manage enterprise risk in-house, this tactic may cause companies to overlook solid talent outside of the organization.
3. Monitor Culture Risks
When employees regularly deal with sensitive information, there are various ways that systems and functions can become compromised, intentional or otherwise. For this reason, monitoring culture risks should be high on CEOs and board members’ list of security concerns. Whether the lack of oversight is caused by business leaders who underestimate the value of company culture or those who are overconfident in the strength of theirs, it is vital that leaders understand the importance of keeping tabs on potential culture-driven risks.
Organizations should regularly conduct reviews of common risky cultural practices such as leaving devices unsecured and tailgating. Given the recent number of negative incidents rooted in company culture and conduct, the importance of this is clear.
4. Enable Security Controls
Effective IT security includes setting in place non-technical controls for management, implementing operational protocols and incorporating technical controls into hardware to safeguard software and firmware. As CIOs begin to establish these security measures and determining which monitoring and filtering technologies to purchase, they must work with other parts of the company to make collaborative business decisions, as the technology will impact employees and business processes.
As an organization’s ecosystem of information grows and becomes more complex, information security becomes an increasingly critical concern for the entire company. In today’s evolving security climate, every area of an organization benefits from the implementation of a strong enterprise security risk management program.
About the Author: Maurice Singleton is president of Vidsys, Inc. and is a founding member of Vidsys and has extensive experience in physical and information technology systems and solutions. Prior to becoming Vidsys president, Maurice served in various leadership roles at Vidsys, including his previous position as Vice President of Product Innovation, and has led business initiatives for the development of innovative product enhancements, customer experience improvement, business growth and expansion into emerging markets, as well as contributions to the shape of the PSIM/CSIM platform architecture.