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Anne Valaitis & Jamie Bsales

The Insider’s Guide to Cybersecurity: Common Cybersecurity Challenges

Climbing the compliance ladder without breaking a sweat

Dec 18, 2023 7:00:00 PM


Check out Keypoint Intelligence’s Cybersecurity page!


In this series, in conjunction with Agile Cybersecurity Solutions (ACS, our cybersecurity testing and consulting partner), Keypoint Intelligence investigates the many facets of cybersecurity to deliver insight and strategy. Check back here next Tuesday for more free tips and tricks, helpful hints, as well as solutions and tools—all to help you navigate the potentially treacherous waters of cybersecurity.



Many organizations today struggle to interpret and implement the myriad of complex and continuously evolving cybersecurity rules set by governments and industry groups. Small businesses, in particular, become overwhelmed by attempting to make sense of which guidelines apply and determining how to comply with their limited budgets and internal resources. However, maintaining robust IT protections and following security best practices is more crucial than ever for all companies to avoid crippling breaches that put operations and reputations at risk.


One major pain point is trying to decipher which regulations are mandatory versus recommended amongst the sea of standards in circulation today. For small IT teams already stretched thin by keeping operations running, just figuring out where to begin with cyber plans eats up precious time and effort. An extremely useful tool we point clients to first is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. This maps thousands of sub-requirements down to core, actionable controls that organizations should prioritize based on their risk profile and resources at hand. Beginning with just a subset of controls around multi-factor authentication, system hardening, and continuous patching can provide quick, yet impactful security wins.


Another top challenge is budget and resource constraints prohibiting teams from adding more tools or staff time to compliance efforts. Transitioning supplementary services like spam filtering or data backup to cost-efficient cloud platforms helps free up capital to allocate towards security priorities. Bringing in outside managed service providers to offload specialized compliance tasks like audits, policy setting, and automated scans also injects extra personnel bandwidth. This allows existing staffers to elevate defenses over time without spreading themselves too thin.


Additionally, gaining employee buy-in around new security protocols poses a problem for many leaders. When clients simply command workers to create intricate passwords or cease opening suspicious emails, these directives are often ignored without context. Regular cybersecurity awareness training has proven vastly more effective by explaining actual threats and helping positive habits stick. Customized simulated phishing experiments also showcase what types of attacks easily trick users if not prepared. These immersive lessons demonstrably harden human defenses far better than scolding after a breach.


The key takeaway for clients is recognizing they need not tackle every intimidating compliance regulation solo. Beginning with a few foundational protections, such as outsourcing specialized activities and educating employees, constitutes solid early progress. Maintaining an adaptable cybersecurity program allows increasingly enhanced defenses as new risks materialize without setting unrealistic expectations early on.


Another critical mistake is putting off essential security activities until after an incident. While mandatory breach notification laws continue proliferating worldwide, organizations can still fall short on compliance without proper preparation. For example, many smaller businesses lack proper logging and monitoring to even detect intrusions in the first place. They also struggle to assemble a vetted incident response team that includes legal, PR, and forensic experts in the aftermath. The chaotic environment post-breach leaves little time for last-minute planning. We suggest clients to put at least basic logging and an emergency contact list in place upfront. When an inevitable breach does strike, they can then focus on containment and recovery right away.


Finally, leaders need to periodically step back from tactical security fixes to examine the larger risk landscape at a strategic level. New attack techniques, data privacy laws, and insurance requirements constantly enter the mix. Refreshing risk assessments every six months or annually provides visibility into changes that may necessitate controls updates. It also gives evidence for security spend during budget cycles. Keeping visibility high means adding new safeguards at reasonable intervals rather than reacting in a rush later.


Most firms cannot eliminate compliance holes in today's increasing cyber environment. Nonetheless, demonstrating a persistent commitment to identifying and addressing information risks might satisfy regulators. Prioritizing core defenses, bridging specific skill shortages responsibly, and keeping users aware of hazards all lead to long-term security initiatives. Building maturity in these areas makes attaining baseline compliance success entirely possible.


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