Concerns regarding cyber risks are on the upward trend, with 2019 showing a 33 percent increase in data breaches since prior years. Sources state 2019 as the “worst year on record”, this creates ample opportunity for business to step up in 2020.
These trends have spawned a more cyber-conscious market. Consumers are becoming more aware of malpractice, where in some cases a single breach could destroy a business. The importance of a robust cybersecurity architecture has never been more important.
A well-implemented cybersecurity architecture will help business in adhering to more stringent regulations regarding data privacy, aid in general information management practice, and has serious marketing potential in an ever increasing cyber-conscious market.
Before exploring the benefits of cybersecurity for your business it is important to understand the basics of cyber security architecture.
Essentially cybersecurity architecture is that part of computer network architecture that relates to all aspects of security. This is generally understood as encompassing three main elements or parts: standards and frameworks, security and network elements, and procedural and policy-related elements.
Cybersecurity Standards and Frameworks
An important starting point when trying to understand cybersecurity architecture and its role within an organization is to look at the pre-existing standards and the frameworks that support them. Compliance with industry standards is not only a matter of law, but it is also a straightforward way to improve your organization’s overall cyber health.
The choice of a suitable framework, one which meets the needs of the organization is the logical first step when implementing or updating a cybersecurity architecture project.
Standards and Frameworks
Standards are mandatory aspects outlined in law in the form of regulations and legislation. These set out what must be achieved, that is, the outcome which organizations must show through their active compliance with the law. Examples of relevant Standards are:
- Information Security Standards
Some of the most important Standards require the protection of personal data or sensitive information; both personal and of importance to the state, such as;
- PCI DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
- ASV: Approved Scanning Vendor
- EU GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation
- CCPA: California Consumer Privacy Act
- HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- HITRUST: The Health Information Trust Alliance
Whilst there are many frameworks in use globally, of major importance to the US and one which is recognized by most regulatory bodies internationally is the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF). Briefly outlined, the NIST CSF covers five broad domains, each of which covers many categories and sub-categories.
These domains give an overview of the separate but interlinked areas which need to be addressed when assessing the appropriateness and effectiveness of a given cybersecurity architecture. The domains allow an organization to measure the relative security (and level of compliance) being provided by the existing cybersecurity architecture and are termed as follows:
- Identify: Fundamental to the overall working of the framework. Activities here usually involve developing an understanding of critical infrastructure within the business operation. Effectively determining the management of cybersecurity risk within the organization.
- Protect: What are the organizational measures ensuring adequate safeguards of critical infrastructure. Think of the business’s ability to contain/limit a cybersecurity scenario.
- Detect: Establishing appropriate measures to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event. This done well allows for a timely discovery of cybersecurity events mitigating potential losses of services.
- Respond: The organization’s ability to respond after the detection of a cybersecurity event. Think of the business incident response plan etc.
- Recover: How quickly and efficiently can the organization return to normal business activities after a cybersecurity event.
The framework of NIST is intended to protect the CIA of data; Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. These elements are a function of the overall intended purpose of a robust cybersecurity architecture.
Security and Network Elements
These two areas can be understood as the hardware and software elements of cybersecurity architecture. Cybersecurity involves the use of devices, such as next-gen firewalls or reactive Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), and software, such as encryption software, to protect the network architecture from unwanted disruption; primarily from attacks but also from those scenarios which may disrupt or corrupt information flowing to and from the system.
Security here also involves the physical protection of the network, including those elements ‘outside’ the physical buildings; such as external servers.
Security Policies & Procedures
One overlooked area of security is people; if your employees do not understand the ‘why’ of a particular policy then they might not follow the ‘how’; the procedure created to implement the policy. A well-rounded and effective cybersecurity architectural framework will be one that recognizes the need for clear, concise, and explicit policy documents that make it easy to formulate the necessary procedures.
Similarly, procedures which are implemented through staff training have a higher rate of successful adoption because staff comes to understand the underlying cybersecurity issues facing the business.
Most regulations require proof of compliance, in part, through the production of relevant policies and the implementation throughout the organization of appropriate procedures.
This step should be taken at the beginning of any cybersecurity project as the Policy will help to inform the requirements within the cybersecurity architecture as a whole.
Why is Cybersecurity Architecture Important To My Business
The importance of a robust cybersecurity architecture is evident in three key areas to a business; regulation, bottom line, and overall information management.
Robust cybersecurity architecture, implemented properly, is key in exhibiting compliance to many data regulations across multiple borders. Your business may be contending with various data regulations, such as the GDPR, EI3PA, or PCI DSS especially if you are conducting business internationally.
This does not have to be a headache; although the different regulations may have slightly differentiated information management requirements, a strong cybersecurity architecture transcends those differences and will always be seen as a positive to any regulatory body.
Most of the data protection regulations call for some form of cybersecurity architecture framework, whether it be in the form of simple data encryption of personally identifiable information (PII), or fully integrated within the business process.
The organization does not have to see this as simply a necessity for the business operation but there is an opportunity to add value to the overall organization.
The question on every business owner’s mind at the end of a long day’s work; how can cybersecurity help my bottom line?
The current trends are showing an increase in consumers’ awareness of cybersecurity issues. With data breaches on the rise and individuals’ lives becoming more integrated with web and virtual based activities, the attack vectors for cybercrime are heightened.
This presents an opportunity for businesses to market their superior cybersecurity as a function of their business process to their consumers. This has the potential to act as a boost to consumer confidence resulting in better business to consumer relations.
This, of course, depends on the nature of the business and the reliance the organization has on network-based processes. Imagine a scenario in which access to connectivity is lost, possibly from bad actors employing a DDOS (denial of service) attack or any other form of service loss due to cyber-risks.
How would your business be affected by loss of service? It is an important scenario to contemplate and it’s equally important to evaluate the fallout of this risk. Cybersecurity architecture acts as insurance to such a scenario and fundamentally protects the organization’s bottom line. There is little use in installing a burglar alarm after the fact, it’s best to be proactive!
It can be challenging for businesses today to juggle the various needs of the organization, let alone now having to worry more about their cybersecurity needs. The experts at RSI security contend with the increasing number of cyber-threats so you can keep doing what you do best.
With RSI Security the full implementation of a cybersecurity architecture can be streamlined and this has added benefits for the overall information management process of your business.
Whether big or small, it is in the best interest of the business to have a thorough information management system in place. Dealing with client records, billing information, marketing leads, etc can be the life-blood of an organization and can mean the difference between overall business success or collapse.
Businesses today are more reliant on data processes and management, with data-driven business showing a higher likelihood of acquiring new clients over their competitors. The integration of cybersecurity architecture can assist in streamlining the data management process with the fundamental benefit of protecting the systems’ information network.
A well-implemented cybersecurity architecture framework aligns the risk management processes with the underlying business strategy with minimal to no interruptions to the day to day running of the business.
We can look at this more broadly as the Enterprise Information Security Architecture (EISA). The cybersecurity architecture framework allows for the organization to remain agile in a rapidly changing market whilst maintaining a strong handle on its key asset, their information process.
Fundamentally cybersecurity architecture is implemented to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data within an organization’s business operation, along with protecting the computer and network assets but a well-implemented cybersecurity architecture framework can do more for your business especially in a more cyber conscious market.
RSI Security has a wide range of cybersecurity services. One of the many offerings of RSI Security is the implementation of cybersecurity architecture from cloud architecture to full enterprise architecture.
Get in contact with our cybersecurity architecture experts today!
Download Our Cybersecurity Checklist
Prevent costly and reputation damaging breaches by implementing cybersecurity best practices. Get started with our checklist today. Upon filling out this brief form you will receive the checklist via email.