7. Adopt a zero-trust framework
A May 2021 presidential executive order called for federal agencies to implement a zero-trust framework, which required all users of federal computer networks to be continuously authenticated when using network resources, and to only have access to the apps, data, and systems they need to do their jobs. This makes it much harder for attackers who have breached the perimeter to move laterally through the network. According to a September 2022 survey by Okta, more than half of enterprises have zero-trust initiatives currently underway, while many more plan to launch initiatives within the next 12 to 18 months.
8. Transition to a DevSecOps approach
Adopting a DevSecOps approach integrates security into the process of software development and deployment. Security personnel can quickly identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities before code is shipped, avoiding expensive and time-consuming rework, as well as preventing insecure code from inadvertently being deployed in production. A key element of this approach is red teaming—looking at code from the point of view of an attacker to isolate its strengths and weaknesses.
9. Implement cybersecurity training for all employees
More than 8 out of 10 security breaches are the result of human error—from employees revealing their log-in credentials by phishing emails, a manager losing a laptop or phone containing sensitive corporate data, or an admin misconfiguring server settings to allow public access to proprietary intellectual property. Top executives in particular are prime targets for “spear phishing,” in which emails impersonate them, and other direct attacks seeking their access credentials.
Educating all employees in cybersecurity fundamentals can minimize an organization’s exposure to social engineering attacks and malware infestations, reducing its overall vulnerability. Simulated phishing attacks can identify which employees are most susceptible and in need of further training. Teaching employees how to recognize and report attacks can reduce response times—a key element in successful mitigation.
10. Develop—and practice—an incident management plan
It’s inevitable that your organization will eventually fall victim to an attack or suffer a data breach. Proactive security posture management requires having an incident management plan in place to identify, analyze, and resolve such critical incidents. The plan needs to outline the appropriate responses for each department head and detail their procedures and roles. Just as important, the plan can’t simply sit on a shelf—it needs to be practiced, via table-top exercises or simulated attacks, and be regularly updated as threats evolve.