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Providing Protection from the Perfect Cyber Storm

EXPERT PERSPECTIVE — We’re witnessing the perfect storm. The disruptive pandemic has put pressure on cybersecurity teams, as widescale remote working escalates digital transformation. Waves of regulatory demands, coupled with politically-motivated cyberattacks, are adding to security pressures. And an increasing volume of attacks—our research reveals a 31% increase over 2020 per company—show that successful security threats are without industry or geographic boundaries.

But just as we would ride out any atmospheric storm, being better prepared ahead of time helps protect us from the elements.

There are four main actions that organizations can take right now to help elevate the cybersecurity discussion; define industry-specific security needs; secure technology innovation; and address the talent shortage.

Four Ways to Weather the Storm

Elevate the cybersecurity discussion: Security is not simply a technical issue for the IT team; it should be a business priority. With security as the cornerstone for a digital society and the economy, it’s time to elevate the cybersecurity discussion to business and national security leaders and better align security with the overall business strategy. CEOs and presidents should be far more cyber-savvy. They should get up close and personal with security’s exercises and simulations to feel the drama of real-life attack scenarios and be better informed on what to do if and when, it happens to them. They should be involved in writing the incident response and crisis response playbooks. And they should encourage a mindset shift so that their organizations adopt a culture that respects the value of good cybersecurity practices, rather than compartmentalizing managing risk as something the security team does, typically under the direction of IT.

Define industry-specific cybersecurity needs: In an era of personalization, it makes sense to relate to the differentiated security needs of specific industries, especially when it comes to improving the relatability of security measures with a business and its value chain. In my experience, specific security solutions can vary dramatically for different industries. Consider the complex security issues behind payment terms for the banking industry, the security technologies needed for connected vehicles in the automotive sector, or the privacy complications associated with digital health. There’s an opportunity to develop and define security measures with specific approaches for industry needs—from national critical infrastructure, to manufacturing, energy and transportation.

Secure technology innovation: We’re in the middle of a high-speed technology revolution that is transforming our societies and economies. Businesses should embrace the changes, taking advantage of innovative and emerging technologies to ride the constant waves of change. But this doesn’t mean security leaders should take a back seat. Cybersecurity should be a part of the blueprint from the start for any technology innovation, not an afterthought. It makes sense because sound security is so fundamental to the efficient operation of many of the new technologies today.

Think about the security impact behind cloud security and sovereignty. Think about the implications of the distributed nature of edge computing or extended reality and the metaverse.

While there is so much potential for this new digital world, there should also be assurances that the company or person you are interacting with virtually, is a trusted source. Identity theft and fraud are security risks we need to better understand and address in the metaverse. Establishing principles and building trust should come first.

Address the talent shortage: A shortage of cyber talent is a well-known issue around the world. We’re