Comprehensive Cybersecurity: Balance of Proactive and Reactive Strategies

July 14th, 2021
Cybersecurity Balance

Businesses have been reacting to the effects of many challenges this year. Still, some Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have been able to add value by offering cybersecurity that can protect their clients through uncertainty.

With each new cyberattack making headlines, organizations that rely on an MSP increase the focus on how their data is being protected, including requests for MSPs to prove their cybersecurity knowledge and processes. To meet client needs and protect their own organization, MSPs need to employ proactive and reactive strategies to build a comprehensive cybersecurity program. 

Cybercriminals are using new creative methods to attack organizations every day, so traditional approaches to cybersecurity no longer cut it. Antivirus software that relies on existing signature databases won’t provide enough protection to organizations, especially high-value targets. 

Cybersecurity is a posture, not a project

A comprehensive cybersecurity program must cover all the bases and touch each facet of an organization. Cybersecurity must go beyond IT staff and be embraced as a business function that spans people, process, and technology. Every modern organization needs a cybersecurity program; it isn’t just for big banks and corporate goliaths. Each organization has something to protect, whether financial and employee information, go-to-market strategies, customer data, intellectual property, or more. In the event of a breach, organizations can face financial losses, operational downtime, and irreparable damage to their reputation and customer trust. 

As cybercrime tactics evolve, so too must our methods for protecting and recovering from them. Antivirus and firewalls are baseline cybersecurity tools that most MSPs have and use. Still, they are just the tip of the iceberg in what makes up a robust cybersecurity posture. 

Prepare with proactive strategies

Any comprehensive cybersecurity program needs to begin with a full review of an organization’s cybersecurity posture. For example, conducting a cybersecurity assessment is like taking a test on the overall cyber-hygiene of the organization by identifying weaknesses and scoring it on the strength of its cybersecurity posture. 

Other methods of assessments and testing include vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. Automated vulnerability scanning tools will help quickly identify security weaknesses across systems, networks, devices, websites, and applications. It provides information that organizations can then use to prioritize remediation tasks based on the level of risk. Engaging an ethical hacker for pen testing will also provide proof of potential breaches, including details on how access could be gained by a bad actor and what data could be impacted. 

Beyond assessments and testing, one of the most important foundational elements of a comprehensive cybersecurity program is leveraging the human factor to build an army of cyber defenders. One in every three cybercrime incidents involves tricking someone into engaging with a malicious phishing email, so conducting regular phishing simulations and awareness training helps organizations reward good cyber behavior and increase overall cyber resilience. Organizations can take it a step further by providing precise technology and data use policies that further educate employees on what can be considered confidential, who should have access to what, and how all employees should handle sensitive data.

Reinforce with reactive strategies

Even with proactive measures in place, there is no such thing as 100% secure. Antivirus software scans for “known” threats on computers and servers but may not be updated in real-time to detect and block new threats. Firewalls monitor data that comes in and out of your networks but are far from a comprehensive solution for defense. For example, a firewall will not prevent access from an attacker who has stolen legitimate credentials from one of your users or targets cloud applications that live outside the firewall boundaries. 

Implementing detection and response helps MSPs have a robust, comprehensive cybersecurity program. With managed detection and response (MDR), IT systems can be monitored for abnormal behavior with a security response team that identifies and contains active threats 24/7. But having a dedicated team to monitor endpoints, networks, email systems, and cloud applications can be complex and expensive, especially for organizations without security teams. 

Defendify works with MSPs and other organizations to streamline cybersecurity across people, process, and technology. Download our new guide, "What's the “F” in cybersecurity," to know where your cybersecurity currently stands and to build a holistic cybersecurity program.

More Resources for MSPs:

Blog: How MSPs Can Fill Business Needs for Cybersecurity

Webinar: Cyber Insider: MSP Stories From The Trenches

Webinar: They Didn’t Know, But They Do Now: How These MSPs Got Started in Cybersecurity

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