Not If, When: Prioritizing Cybersecurity in Your IT Strategy

February 12, 2019

It can start with something as simple as a stolen laptop: The ripple that becomes a tsunami.

There are many IT risks a business can and will face. Among them, cybersecurity incidents have the potential to severely diminish customer trust and destroy reputations, and can have profound effects within and outside an organization. While consumer data breaches receive the greatest publicity, other cybersecurity incidents can be just as disruptive to internal operations: Cybersecurity issues–whether data breaches, or phishing solicitations, trojan and botnet infiltrations, spyware and ransomware, IoT hijacking, distributed denial of service (DDoS) disruptions, or other attacks–are frequently cited as one of the top risks within any organization. The level of preparedness of an organization, and how well the organization contains breaches, will dictate how quickly and effectively recovery is achieved.

In the end, it’s not exclusively about avoiding cybersecurity threats–because, in truth, every firm at some point will be subject to some nature of disruption–it’s about lessening their frequency and impact when they ultimately do occur via a variety of defenses, partitioning, and upfront, well-assessed planning. That’s where your IT Cybersecurity Strategy comes in.

Know Your Organization’s Cybersecurity Readiness

Most IT leaders understand the importance of continuously evaluating and shoring up their company’s cybersecurity maturity, fitness, and incident readiness, as a negative incident will impact far more than their functional area. The CIO’s challenge may be convincing the CEO, COO, and other senior members of the management team–who are pulled in many directions with competing priorities–to similarly prioritize cybersecurity assessments and fund the fixes necessary to reducing vulnerability. Or, senior management may be appropriately concerned about the risk but not understand the technical aspects of cybersecurity preparedness that a CIO or CISO is looking to implement.

For both of these challenges, HighPoint Associates and its cybersecurity subject matter experts have found it helpful to partner with management teams on a simplified, top 10 leading indicator approach to cybersecurity maturity, fitness, and incident readiness assessment. Rather than beginning with hundreds of subcategory assessments associated with the more technical NIST CSF universal cybersecurity framework developed by the National Institute for Science and Technology, one can employ these simplified leading indicators to determine overall preparedness, as well as to focus the subsequent deeper dives into certain key portions of NIST in areas of greatest vulnerability. And, CIOs and CISOs will achieve the equally important value of senior management understanding and sponsorship.

These cybersecurity leading indicator assessments are essential to all businesses. For instance, for many firms with cornerstone data or customer relationships, leading indicator assessments are a key component of any due diligence an acquiring company should undertake during the pre-planning phase of an M&A activity. Identifying gaps in cybersecurity readiness and related threat potential can shine a light on the security of a target firm’s customer relationships and IP, in addition to IT synergies and necessary IT security investments.

 So, how does cybersecurity fit into your overall IT strategy? HighPoint Associates has seen cybersecurity assessment as a vital upfront step in any IT strategy roadmap, as it links into other IT deployments and investments.

Transform technology into a powerful solution with HighPoint Associates.

Why complicate what’s already complex? HighPoint solutions are designed to simplify without compromising on effectiveness. Our IT Strategy lineup includes skilled technology strategists, cybersecurity subject matter experts, and tech leaders from an array of verticals to help businesses successfully navigate emerging obstacles. Contact us today to start the conversation.