2016 really made a name for cyber-security. Now let’s make 2017 the year of executing strong cybersecurity plans.

In order to fight the war online, you first need to understand what it is you are actually fighting. You hear the buzzwords such as “cybersecurity,” “pen-testing” and “IoT” – but do you know the full scope of what they really mean?

Where to Start

As with anything, it starts with education. This could mean reading articles on websites such as DARKReading or Threat Post. It could also mean looking at blogs, advisories, or research from industry leaders. I also suggest that you immerse yourself in the history of cyber-security. Research where it really came from and how it got started. Then, study where it is presently and where it is predicted to go. This is something you should do no matter how long you’ve been in the game as it’s a constantly changing environment—and oftentimes, combatting it starts with how aware you are from the beginning.

Then, look at it in regards to the applications you use. It’s easy to search applications on Google and find the history of security and vulnerability of these systems and if there have been any big breaches that you should know of. For instance, if you use Gmail, personally or professionally, find out what you need to know in order to not fall into the trap of their most recent phishing scam.

The Plan

Next, you should consider what your plans are to keep bad actors out. Not only that, but also what your plans are for remediation if, and when, they do break through. As new attack paths become known, determine whether or not your team is up to date on how to prevent others from breaking in. Are you consistently testing your network and applications to see if they can hold up against bad actors? If not, it’s time to either start testing on your own or with a team that is experienced in this area.

Get the Help You Need

If you don’t have a red-team internally to help test your system, consider looking to the experts. Don’t waste your dollars, or time, as your business’ safety is not something to take lightly. When looking for outside resources there are a few things to look for in terms of finding the right business to help with your security strategy.

First, what’s their experience? How long have they been in the field of cyber-security? What are the big events that they helped combat or provide solutions to? You want someone who has grown in and with this space. Look for case studies on the solutions they’ve provided for their clients as well as what solution’s they’ve found in the space for the most recent cyber-attacks they’ve helped resolve.

Then, consider what you need to start. Is a comprehensive pen-test a good place to start to test the overall wellness of your system?  Or are there internal operations that need to be cleaned up or better managed through access management? A pen-test is a great starting point to see what’s working, what’s not and what should be tackled first. Having a list of known risks as well as the order in which they should be handled allows you to spend your time and resources wisely.

Finally, make sure you can grow with them. Working alongside one team who can cover the gamete in terms of security allows for less confusion and lower expenses. It’s one thing to invest in your security with one company, but to have a different company running each piece of a multi-functional effort is even more expensive and may still leave gaps in your coverage. Get a team that knows the full scope of your business and the security you need.

I recommend getting started with a comprehensive pen-test to see what your risks are, and which ones to tackle first. With a prioritized list of vulnerabilities, you can create a strategy for cleaning up your security risks. If all of this sounds like too much and you don’t know where to begin, get in touch with our team, today and our consultants can help guide you on your way to a comprehensive cyber-security strategy. 

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