A proactive cybersecurity program involves an excellent offense. It prepares your company for a potential breach while continually monitoring and repelling would-be offenders.
Indeed, IBM Security and Ponemon Institute found that the average breach costs companies $4.35 million and 60% of those surveyed increased customer prices thereafter. Yet, implementing zero-trust architecture and artificial intelligence automation tools saved organizations millions.
Having proactive security measures reduces the probability of incidents. But it also complements your reactive cyber response. When combined, the proactive model and reactive systems strengthen your corporate security posture. Learn how your business can reduce vulnerabilities by developing the right techniques and processes.
Proactive Cybersecurity Program: Definition and Examples
By definition, a proactive cybersecurity program anticipates threats and uncovers vulnerabilities as part of an ongoing process. It focuses on prevention and readiness. This approach predicts the likelihood of security events and prepares organizations to respond. Companies use various methods and tools depending on their industry, business size and capabilities.
An effective cybersecurity program includes taking proactive measures, such as:
- Deploying network firewalls, antivirus tools and malware detection software
- Educating employees on security protocols and alerting them to emerging threats
- Implementing identity and access management (IAM) systems
- Securing privileged credentials (PAM / Password Vaults)
- Scanning networks for outdated software versions
- Completing risk assessments continually
- Using spam filters for online activities, including email
- Leveraging endpoint monitoring for on-site and remote hardware
- Developing incident response (IR) and disaster recovery (DR) plans
- Backing up systems and applications regularly
Reactive vs. Proactive Cybersecurity
Traditionally, companies took a more passive and reactive approach to cybersecurity. When antivirus tools identified a threat, they isolated and eradicated them. Organizations would ask employees to change passwords while IT teams patched outdated services. In some cases, they hired cybersecurity firms to handle the problem. In short, reactive programs do damage control after an incident.
The move toward proactive measures encouraged businesses to continually monitor systems and behaviors. Before an incident happens, these methods may alert leaders to risky actions, like weak passwords or app downloads.
The best cybersecurity programs combine proactive efforts with reactive systems. This approach allows companies to monitor, defend, respond to and analyze incidents.
Benefits of Implementing a Proactive Model
Cyber incidents wreak havoc on businesses, and a proactive approach mitigates these outcomes. Executives responding to World Economic Forum and Accenture’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022 said their top concern was an “infrastructure breakdown due to a cyberattack.” Altering your company’s strategy and embracing a proactive security culture have many positive impacts.
The advantages of creating a proactive cybersecurity program include:
- Increased Visibility: An anticipatory approach pulls back the curtain on your systems, processes and cyber risks. It provides insights that allow you to improve operations and training across the board.
- Decreased Disruptions: Instead of waiting for a problem, proactive security tracks activities and prevents an incident from occurring.
- Ensured Regulatory Compliance: Protect your customers and business by complying with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Reduced Financial Loss: Addressing vulnerabilities as they occur and having response strategies protects data and systems while enabling your IR teams to react faster and more effectively.
How To Choose Cybersecurity Program Processes and Systems
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cybersecurity strategy, the most effective plans layer proactive and reactive measures. Your cybersecurity plan begins with a risk assessment, allowing you to identify internal and external threats. You can prioritize the tools and tactics by determining the likelihood of different threats.
The effectiveness of your efforts also depends on your ability to implement and adjust them to the ever-changing online threat environment. Consulting with professionals like The Migus Group helps you understand your risks, select the best techniques and deploy cybersecurity solutions. Reach out to The Migus Group to revise your approach to reflect today’s high-level threats.
Jessica Elliott is a business technology writer specializing in cloud-hosted and cybersecurity services. Her work appears in U.S. News, Business.com and Investopedia.
- IBM Security and Ponemon Institute — Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022
- World Economic Forum and Accenture — Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022