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Moving beyond Checkbox Compliance, How to extract the true value of your cybersecurity

With digital technologies evolving almost daily, and new industry standards and regulatory requirements impacting all industries, cybersecurity has become a driving force underlying business success. 

However, under the pressure of complex and ever-evolving regulations, many organizations today rely on an approach to cybersecurity that centers around compliance, rather than a comprehensive risk management strategy. As a result, companies wind up with an arsenal of security technologies that may tick the right boxes on paper but provide inadequate security in practice. 

Why Compliance Checkbox Cybersecurity Falls Short

Under the checkbox compliance mentality, organizations view data protection through the lens of legality only – in essence, just another checklist to mark done so that business can continue as usual. But in reality, effective security and risk management go beyond a checkbox approach to compliance. Here are just a few reasons why: 

  • One size does not fit all. While data protection regulations provide a general baseline for cybersecurity, they cannot account for the widely varied and distinct needs and vulnerabilities of each individual organization. As such, businesses that adhere to a compliance-centric approach leave the door open for cybercriminals looking to exploit specific gaps or weaknesses left by “off-the-shelf” security solutions.  

Instead, organizations need to tailor security solutions to their needs by taking into account key considerations such as the organization’s goals, objectives, existing security frameworks, potential overlap, and identifying areas of vulnerability. 

  • Stuck in the reaction cycle. Within the check-box approach, companies invest tens of millions of dollars into technology solutions that, while delivering compliance, function on an individual basis that can cause problems down the line. When these problems inevitably arise, management teams invest even more money in costly technology they hope will solve the issue, but more isn’t always better. In reality, these additions can actually result in new security gaps, increased complexity, and limited scalability, all while driving up IT expenditures.
  • The creation of cybersecurity silos. When organizations rely on a compliance-centric approach to risk management, they can create cybersecurity silos caused by communications breakdowns, lack of collaboration between internal departments, and lack of interconnectivity between the many products, tools, and services used across different business units to manage risk. As a result, data sharing becomes increasingly more difficult (if not impossible) and leaves the company vulnerable to cyber attack. 
  • Threats are continually evolving. A privacy regulation typically prescribes the minimum set of safeguards to protect against known risks. However, these mandates are often not enough to keep up with the rapidly evolving dangers posed by bad actors who are constantly adapting their methods and developing new weapons. 

In parallel with the evolution of threats, the attack surface also expands as businesses 

hire employees, develop vendor relationships, acquire equipment and software. With this in mind, companies must implement routine monitoring and analysis to avoid unnecessary risks and vulnerabilities. 

Unlock the Value of Security Investments with a Targeted Approach 

To maximize the value of existing IT investments and ensure that future purchases will actually improve the security posture of the company, businesses should create a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy customized to the unique needs, objectives, and associated security risks. Here are 4 steps to get started:

1. Assess Risks

Developing a cybersecurity strategy requires an understanding of your company’s risk of attacks and where your current security may be missing the mark. By assessing current risks and risk owners, and the company’s risk appetite, you’ll be able to identify where you should prioritize security measures within your company.

2. Encourage Cybersecurity Awareness 

Privacy regulations stipulate that organizations deliver security awareness training, but effective security training requires more than an annual “one-size-fits-all” training event. Instead, organizations should focus on creating a culture of security awareness and developing training around the specific data protection procedures and policies in relation to employees’ roles and responsibilities.

3. Conduct Continuous Monitoring 

An ongoing monitoring approach enables companies to see what is happening around regulated data and detect possible breaches before they become a problem. Additionally, continuous visibility allows the business to maintain functional security throughout the entire year – not just during compliance assessments.

4. Develop a Disaster Plan

No matter how strong the cybersecurity controls are, security incidents will still occur, which is why comprehensive security strategies should also include incident response plans. Your plan should involve the creation of a designated response team and communication plan so that all key players know their roles and responsibilities in the event of a breach.  

Empower Your Cyber Journey 

While compliance will always be an essential component of business success, in today’s complex and dynamic digital landscape, it’s clear that simply complying with regulatory standards is not enough to ensure business security. 

At Devoteam, we help businesses move beyond checkbox compliance to implement powerful, proactive cybersecurity strategies that enable our clients to close security gaps, increase operational efficiency, and rapidly accelerate business growth.

If you’re ready to design a cybersecurity strategy that fits your business needs – get in touch today for a demo, expert advice.