Prior planning prevents poor performance, this is the methodology of any successful business, and cybersecurity is no different. If it could be summed up in one phrase this would be the main reason your organization needs a cybersecurity development program.
With the two leading causes of data loss being attributed to human and hardware failure; it would be diligent to employ a robust cybersecurity development program. That is not even factoring in the possibility of cyberattacks.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of a cybersecurity development program and why your organization should implement one.
What is a Cybersecurity Development Program?
A cybersecurity development program is a “living document” that the organization can refer to when implementing cybersecurity practice into the business activities. In the best of cases the plan lays out:
- A road map, with time frames, on stages of cybersecurity integration.
- An inventory of hardware and software assets within the organizational network.
- Identification of what sensitive information is stored.
- Documentation of the storage and location of sensitive information.
- A staff awareness and training program.
These are a few of the things that a good development program can identify. With this information, it is possible to begin the implementation process following the guidelines and documentation of the development program.
Keep in mind that it is a “living document” and that you should expect some changes along the way.
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Plan Plan Plan
As stated at the beginning of the article, the number one reason you would want to implement a cybersecurity development program is because a goal without a plan is just a wish. Without establishing some road map or guiding principles, implementing any form of cybersecurity architecture can be a severe challenge.
This also goes for any initiative within the organization.
With the program also being a living document, it should be dynamic and allow a wide berth for any changes along the way. But without the plan itself, changes might become very cumbersome.
Good Data Management Practice
The second reason you need a cybersecurity development program is that it embeds good data management practices. Knowing where and how your sensitive data is being processed and located is critical in developing a robust cybersecurity architecture, and a cybersecurity development program will do just that.
As mentioned above, a well thought out cybersecurity development program will have you identify, locate, and store the sensitive information in your organization’s process. Involving the whole organization in the program will diffuse the practice into the business’ everyday activities, teaching good practices through osmosis.
This practice will also have the organization map out all software and hardware assets. The program embeds the documentation and strategy for best inventory practice that will serve the organization long after the program’s completion.
Identifying Needs and Gaps
Inventories of software and hardware assets, coupled with identifying sensitive information and their internal supply chain, can help the organization identify gaps in security.
The cybersecurity program effectively lays out a plan for architecture implementation. Within the process listed above, the organization has a better understanding of their shortcomings. With this new information, it is easier to identify gaps. The program will then dictate how best to address the gaps, hence identifying the organization’s cybersecurity needs.
The program will also keep you on track to achieve the cybersecurity needs of the organization. This may come in the form of:
- Compliance to various regulations and frameworks
- Implementing security configurations for software and hardware assets
- Addressing the gap in staff and personnel security awareness
Assessing Cyber Maturity Levels
The program should have targets that assess the cybersecurity maturity level along the program’s development. There are a few cybersecurity frameworks out there that determine the cyber maturity level of your organization, namely the cybersecurity maturity model. You can use this as a reference to decide the maturity level or gauge yourself using in-house knowledge or of that of a specialist.
Mainly the cybersecurity development program will help define the cybersecurity maturity target. Once your organization understands the maturity level better, it should then utilize the development program by setting specific goals to achieve the desired maturity.
Risk Management Regime
A well-defined cybersecurity development program will incorporate a cyber risk management strategy within the organization’s risk management framework.
Why is this important? A cybersecurity development program should outline the overall cyber risk management strategy this could include, depending on the organization:
- Identifying third-party or vendor risk management strategies
- Identifying potential attack vectors and the likelihood of event occurrence
- Developing cybersecurity continuity in the event of a natural disaster or other related events
- Protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of sensitive and business-critical information.
The program should be able to theorize the risk strategy and then develop a roadmap for integration into the overall risk management framework of the organization.
Identifying a Suitable Cybersecurity Partner
The final, and arguably the most critical reason your organization needs a cybersecurity development program is to find the best match for a partner. The organization can either develop a program in-house or outsource the planning and implementation responsibilities to a suitable third-party.
In both cases finding a reputable partner should form part of the planning process. The only instances in which this should not be necessary is if the organization has the required resources to execute the plan and the subsequent implementation of the requirements laid out by the program.
More often than not, organizations simply lack the resources and time to develop or even implement a cybersecurity program. The development of the program, if done in-house, should include a shortlist of potential cybersecurity partners that can help realize the plan.
For example, your organization may be more focused on complying with specific regulations or frameworks; in this case the partners that could be suitable are those that might specialize in compliance services. Or the organization may have dealt with compliance and is looking to assess and improve the organization’s overall cyber health; then, an appropriate partner should be evaluated on this basis.
In essence, the cybersecurity development program summarizes the organization’s cybersecurity needs, which can then be used to assess a suitable cybersecurity specialist that can realize the organizational needs.
A cybersecurity development program is a “living document” that the organization should use and refer to when identifying, developing, and implementing its cybersecurity strategy. A well-designed program can outline the cybersecurity needs of the organization and can help the organization is various way including:
- Planning: a goal without a plan is just a wish.
- Data management: the program can embed a culture of good data management practice within the organization.
- Identifying gaps: the program can identify the security gaps within the information system.
- Cyber maturity level: the program can help achieve the desired cybersecurity maturity level of the organization
- Risk management: the program can identify and integrate a cyber risk program into the overall risk management framework of the organization.
Lastly, the program can help your organization identify a suitable cybersecurity partner by matching the needs of the organization with a cybersecurity specialist that can deliver on those needs.
Consider employing the skills of RSI Security for all your cybersecurity needs. With years of experience in the industry, RSI Security can realize the goals of your cybersecurity development program, or help you develop one from the ground up, book your free consultation today!