There are four primary factors to effective, vCISO-led data breach management:
- Sound cybersecurity governance leads to effective risk prevention
- Leadership facilitates monitoring for swift data breach detection
- Incident response in real-time neutralizes threats as they arise
- Ongoing security advisory mitigates long-term breach impacts
Factor 1: Proactive Breach Prevention
The best breach management services begin far before a breach even occurs, minimizing the frequency and impacts of breaches through threat and vulnerability management. Handling a data breach is easier when fewer happen and those that do are smaller and easier to predict.
Organizations need to account for the risk of a data breach by documenting vulnerabilities along with the threats that could exploit them. These variables should be analyzed thoroughly, ideally by top-level executives, to assign risk ratings and commensurate protective measures.
Chief information security officers (CISOs) are uniquely positioned to optimize all elements of risk prevention, as they oversee the development, implementation, and long-term management of controls. For example, a CISO may install firewalls and content filters to prevent malicious traffic on your servers, along with scanning and logging infrastructure that makes anomalous or suspicious activity much easier to identify. These controls reduce the likelihood of a data breach.
A virtual CISO (vCISO) offers all the same benefits on an as-needed basis while also minimizing the costs associated with recruiting and retaining top cybersecurity talent at the C-suite level.
Factor 2: Immediate Breach Detection
Regardless of how effective an organization’s cyberdefenses are, there is no way to guarantee that a breach will never occur. Instead, mature organizations operate under the assumption that a breach could happen at any time, and they need to be ready to identify it as soon as possible.
That’s why detection is one of the most critical parts of security breach management.
It’s also an area that depends heavily on CISO or vCISO support. Detection requires powerful visibility infrastructure, along with communication channels for swift reporting. Staff need to be trained on warning signs to look out for, what they could possibly mean, who to contact if an attack is suspected, and what they need to do if a potential incident is confirmed as actual.
All of these processes require sound governance, for which CISO or equivalent solution is a prerequisite. Balancing vigilance against overzealousness, which could result in costly false alarms at scale, requires expertise. The depth and breadth of expertise of having a vCISO on the team is hard to match.
Factor 3: Real-time Incident Response
As noted above, cyber attacks and data breaches can happen to any organization. What distinguishes sound cyberdefense is the wherewithal to weather attacks if and when they happen. That process begins and ends with leadership, ideally from the CISO role.
Effective, CISO or vCISO-led data breach incident management has six components:
- Swift and accurate identification of an incident, along with systems impacted
- Logging and cross-referencing, setting remediation in motion immediately
- Investigation into causes and solutions, leading to an accurate diagnosis
- Assignment of remediation tactics, followed by real-time escalation as needed
- Resolution of the incident, including eradication of all but trace amounts for analysis
- Continuity management, including business operations and customer satisfaction
Working with a team of cybersecurity experts will ensure that any incidents that do occur have the smallest reach and impact the fewest stakeholders possible—both short- and long-term.
Factor 4: Long-term Impact Mitigation
Once an attack has happened and data is breached, some level of long-term impacts should be expected no matter how swiftly and completely the immediate threats have been neutralized.
On one level, organizations need to do everything in their power to minimize downtime and ensure smooth continuity across their operations. Failing to do so can lead to losses of both existing and potential customers, along with reputational damage that can be hard to shake.
A vCISO team will help with both the technical and public relations aspects of this process.
On another level, this factor accounts for making sure all security and regulatory needs are maintained to the extent possible in the immediate and longer aftermath of an attack. If any protected resources were compromised, vCISOs need to ensure that required notification is provided. For example, a pillar of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance is the Breach Notification Rule, which stipulates that covered entities must notify victims, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the media about the breach.
Steps also need to be taken to prevent the same data, and all other sensitive information, from being compromised again in a future cyberattack. If the breach itself constitutes a violation, the organization may need to navigate penalties or prove that risk factors leading to the breach have been eliminated to maintain compliance—and regain public trust after an incident.
Optimize Your Data Breach Management Today
Organizations looking to manage breaches should look no further than cybersecurity governance through the CISO role. Whether traditional or virtual, CISOs minimize breach impacts by making them less likely to occur, detecting them, mitigating them in real time, and accounting for longer-term effects. Utilizing a vCISO makes all these processes more efficient.
RSI Security offers vCISO and other cybersecurity services to organizations in all industries. We understand that the right way is the only way to prepare for and mitigate breaches. And we’re dedicated to serving you, alleviating the burden on and protecting all your stakeholders.
To learn more about vCISO and security breach management services, contact us today!