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Developing a mature security model

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Being confident that your security measures and solutions are effective is crucial for today’s enterprises. As cyber-attacks grow exponentially, in both frequency and sophistication, businesses of every type and size are battling to stay ahead of the threats.
“Picking and choosing which security technology investments will lower your risks depends on many different factors,” says Jayson O’Reilly, director of sales and innovation at DRS.
Success is dependent on having a mature information security plan in place, and a way to make accurate, risk-based decisions. “There is the erroneous perception in the market that effective security means outlaying millions of rands. This results in some businesses throwing more and more money at the problem, without getting the results they hope for, or a good return on their investment. Other companies decide that they can’t afford such sums, and adopt a ‘keep your fingers crossed’ approach. Neither approach is effective,” he adds.
“The fact is, you cannot achieve good security by throwing more and more money at the problem, and you most certainly can’t by ignoring it either.”
He says there are several factors that lead to good security. “Firstly, involving everyone in the company. Security is everyone’s problem, and employees need to accept this. If they understand what is really involved, and what the potential fallout of a breach could be, they are more likely to do their bit.”
Having said that, O’Reilly says that this responsibility needs to start at executive level. “Top executives must understand that security is a business priority and support the technical team all the way. They must be willing to spend the necessary, and they must appoint someone who has ultimate responsibility. The next step is having a separate security budget in place. While, as discussed, security is not bettered by having more and more money thrown at it, the security budget must be kept separate from overall IT expenditure. Should it be lumped in with general IT spend, it will always lose out, to other IT needs that are considered by some to be more important.”
O’Reilly also advises businesses not to fall into the trap of having too many solutions. “Too often, companies jump on the bandwagon of every new tool and solution available. Rather stick to the basics – a good firewall, anti-malware, some netflow monitoring – these are the essentials. Use the tools you have, and automate as much as possible. Keep accurate and up-to-date records about any incidents to make sure they don’t happen again, and have a good incident response plan in place. Test your applications and systems frequently to make sure any issues are uncovered by you, instead of a threat actor.”
At the end of the day, effective security can be measured by how well you handle the basics. “Good tools, employee involvement, and executive buy-in are a good place to start.”