GUEST ESSAY: The Top 10 cybersecurity shortfalls that put SMBs, enterprises at elevated risk

By Harman Singh

No organization is immune to cybersecurity threats. Even the most well-protected companies can be susceptible to attacks if they are not careful about a proactive approach towards cyber security.

Related: Why timely training is a must-have

That’s why businesses of all sizes need to understand the biggest cybersecurity weaknesses and take steps to mitigate them. Here are a few of the top security weaknesses that threaten organizations today:

Poor risk management. A lack of a risk management program or support from senior management is a glaring weakness in your cybersecurity strategy.

A robust risk management program should include regular assessments of security controls and audits to ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices.

Tick-in-the-box training. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to educate their employees on the importance of cyber hygiene, leaving them vulnerable to phishing scams, malware infections, data breaches, and other cyber attacks.

By not involving your audience and understanding their context, i.e., organization users are susceptible users being the weakest link that in fact could be your strongest link.

Anemic asset management. Integrating asset management into your organization can help you understand where your vulnerabilities lie so that you can take steps to protect yourself accordingly.

By understanding what data or systems you manage, you can then determine which security measures need to be implemented. This will enable you to better safeguard your organization’s sensitive information against potential threats.

Lackadaisical set up. Getting security right early in the development cycle with well-architected services and systems reduces attack surface significantly.

Singh

When designing new systems or modifying existing ones, think about the principles of least privilege and need to know. By taking a proactive approach towards security in your architecture and configuration, you are better able to protect critical data from potential threats.

Spotty patching. Vulnerability management is another key consideration when it comes to security. It ensures that all systems are regularly updated, vulnerabilities are triaged accordingly, and legacy equipment is managed securely.

To do this effectively, you must have an effective patch management process in place which takes into account the different operating systems you use across your organization as well as their respective patch cycles.

Weak access controls. Identity and Access Management (IAM) plays an important role in reducing attack surface by controlling who has access to what data within your system environment. All access should be granted on a need only basis, meaning that users should only be able to access the data they need for their role or job function within the organization.

Lack of monitoring. Logging events is the first step in understanding which services or systems are used within an organization. Security monitoring, meanwhile, provides us with visibility into what is happening on our systems so that we can identify and respond to potential threats quickly.

No disaster plans. It is also essential to have an effective incident management strategy if a security incident occurs. This involves having a plan for detecting incidents quickly and responding effectively. You should also have procedures to reduce incidents’ impact through recovery planning.

Visibility gaps. A key issue many organizations face is they don’t always know where their data is stored, who has access to it or how it is processed. This lack of clarity leaves organizations vulnerable to threats such as insecure cloud buckets or permissions-based misconfigurations which can lead to data breaches.

Supply chain blindness. Organizations increasingly rely on third-party suppliers for their product components or services. Unfortunately, these third parties may not have the same level of security as your organization; therefore, the lack of risk-based approach adds another layer of vulnerability.

By taking a risk-based approach to supply chain security, organizations can better protect themselves from malicious actors looking to access confidential information or disrupt operations with cyber attacks or data breaches.

Overall, it is clear that there are many different security weaknesses an organization can face. This fundamentally reflects a failure to acknowledge that cybersecurity has moved to risk-based approach, one that offers measurable outcomes, not just investment into tooling.

A starting point should be assessing the gaps fairly, usually utilizing a third-party cyber security services company. This would ensure you are aware of your blind sports, more importantly, help you with analysis and preparing a risk remediation plan.

About the essayist: Harman Singh is a security consultant serving business customers at Cyphere. He has also delivered talks and trainings at Black Hat and regional conferences – on Active Directory, Azure and network security.

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