You see it in the news almost every day: a story about a ransomware attack, network breach or vulnerability exploit followed by the name of a business that wasn’t prepared to handle the cyberattack. And being prepared is especially important for SMBs because cybercriminals have recently increased their sights on smaller organizations: Between 2021 and 2022, there was nearly a 200% increase in incidents targeting organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees.1
Businesses that don’t adapt and scale their cybersecurity program as they grow are often the ones that get hit by a costly and debilitating cyberattack. Let’s have a look at some of the essential tips and tools that’ll help your organization scale its cybersecurity program.
Why should you plan for scale?
As organizations innovate and expand their digital footprint, it increases the complexity of the environment and, in turn, potential for cyberattacks. When organizations take steps to mature and scale their cybersecurity program, they’re better poised to move quickly to address business needs without introducing security risk.
Many business leaders already realize this. According to a Gartner study, 66% of CIOs say they are planning to increase investment in cybersecurity, making it a top priority item in 2023.2 For companies large and small, there are always competing priorities, so what are the advantages of scaling your organization’s cybersecurity program? There are many. Here are a few benefits:
- Improves your organization’s security posture and the ability to readily safeguard your systems and data as the digital environment changes and grows
- Aligns cybersecurity as a business enabler that’s nimble and able to support new initiatives as your company strives to address market opportunities
- Equips your team with the resources to rapidly respond to security issues as they arise
- Increases operational efficiency throughout with better KPIs for uptime, end user experience and support helpdesk issues
6 Tips to Scale your Cybersecurity
1. Be proactive to prevent breaches
As organizations grow, the digital environment expands — all those mobile devices, laptops, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and cloud infrastructure investments. While those digital investments are invaluable in supporting your business, they also expand its attack surface, which represents all the possible points, or attack vectors, where a cybercriminal can attempt to gain a foothold into your system and extract data.
Taking a proactive approach with your organization’s security requires that you stay hyperaware of your organization’s changing attack surface — new third-party vendors, endpoints added to the network, employees joining, leaving and working remote, etc. — and continually test it for weaknesses.
2. Understand and evaluate your technology landscape
In the world of nonstop cyberattacks, organizations can’t protect or patch something if they don’t know it exists. In the case of Log4j, this quickly became an issue after the vulnerability exploit was discovered. The sheer size and scale, along with thousands of software products listed as vulnerable to Log4j made it challenging for security teams to identify their impacted systems.
Asset discovery is a foundational element of every company’s security program. A lack of full visibility into your technology landscape — devices, cloud, network — introduces critical security gaps that will allow attackers to find a way in.
3. Build or outsource the right security team
As your company’s IT operations grow, it’s an important practice to have cybersecurity experts on your team. They play a key role in securing your organization’s information systems by monitoring, detecting, investigating and responding to security threats.
The great news is that in today’s mature cybersecurity market, organizations have the flexibility to choose how they want to retain their cybersecurity resources — either by building an in-house team or by outsourcing to a security services partner. And, of course, there’s always the option of taking a hybrid approach where you might find it’s a good fit to in-source some of the tier 1 security activity and outsource the tier 2 and tier 3 skills that require deeper knowledge and specialties.
4. Embrace continuous security
While businesses operate effectively within a workday schedule, that’s not the case when it comes to securing the organization. Cybercrime never sleeps and attackers especially like to strike after hours or on the weekends. Case in point: 76% of all ransomware infections occur outside working hours.3
As you scale your cybersecurity program, investing in automation tools and monitoring resources — like vulnerability scanners, real-time IT asset intelligence and automated network penetration testing — will give you that essential 24/7 coverage, enabling you to proactively respond as soon as a security risk is detected.
5. Plan for assurance and compliance
The end game for cybercriminals is to gain access to your high value data. From credit cards to intellectual property and personally identifiable information (PII), it all sells at a good price in the dark web marketplaces. That’s why so many compliance requirements like GDPR, HIPAA, PCI and SOX have been enacted through the years — to safeguard your customers and their personal information.
Besides making sure your security program is adhering to good governance and compliance practices, complying with regulations is also just good business practice. It gives your customers greater confidence and builds trust when you can demonstrate the steps that you’re taking to protect their data. In fact, for many organizations this becomes a key differentiator during customer negotiations that helps close new business and drive greater revenue growth.
6. Brace for challenges
Depending on your organization’s unique needs, your path to scale your cybersecurity program might hit some speed bumps along the way. As with most things in life, time and resources can be in short supply, and this is certainly a factor in the cybersecurity market. In fact, there’s a worldwide gap of 3.4 million cybersecurity workers and 49% of organizations report having a significant shortage of cybersecurity staff to prevent and troubleshoot security issues.4
Being aware of these challenges will go a long way in moving your scaling effort forward. For example, when companies bump up against the staffing challenge, they look to the other options. This is in large part why 53% of organizations rely heavily on managed security services.5
3 Tools to Scale Your Cybersecurity
As you scale your cybersecurity program, investing in security technologies will give you the defenses you need to protect against the many attack vectors that threat actors use. While the right tools can become highly customized depending on your specific environment, there are some essential items to include on your checklist:
1. Endpoint protection
Protecting your desktops, laptops and users’ mobile devices (all known as endpoints) from malware, ransomware and other threats has always been an important security practice. With today’s large remote and hybrid workforce, adopting antivirus software, often referred to as endpoint protection, is now even more critical than ever. That’s because your endpoints can serve as doorways for cybercriminals to gain access to a company’s network.
2. Cloud security
The introduction of cloud computing has been significant in re-imagining the corporate network. Today, most organizations are leveraging cloud infrastructure for agility, flexibility and scalability advantages. With data in the cloud, it now also represents a vector in the attack chain that must be protected. Adopting cloud security, also referred to as cloud computing security, will keep your applications secure and proactively monitor and protect your cloud-based data from cyber threats.
3. Identity protection
Business identity (and by extension, business user identity) is a growing problem: cybercriminals’ fraud attack volumes increased by more than 150% in 2021 alone.6 In this world of remote and hybrid work, organizations need identity protection that ensures all users, whether inside or outside an organization’s network, to be authenticated, authorized and continuously validated for security configuration and posture before being granted access or keeping access to applications and data.
Next Steps with CrowdStrike
Don’t let the size of your business or your budget stand in the way of developing a strong security defense. CrowdStrike Falcon® Go is an easy-to-manage and affordable solution that prevents ransomware, malware and the latest cyber threats.
- Protect your business with the industry-leading, next-generation antivirus solution proven to stop advanced attacks.
- Leverage device control to help you monitor and govern USB devices that could put your network at risk.
- Deploy one lightweight sensor and start protecting your business instantly, no matter where your devices are.
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Start a free, 15-day trial of Falcon Pro and protect your business from ransomware, malware and sophisticated cyberattacks.
1 Verizon. Data Breach Investigations Report. 2022.
2 Gartner. Press Release: Gartner Survey of Over 2,000 CIOs Reveals the Need for Enterprises to Embrace Business Composability in 2022. October 2021.
3 ZDNET. Most ransomware attacks take place during the night or over the weekend. 2020.
4 (ISC)2. Cybersecurity Workforce Study. 2021.
5 Otorio. 2022 OT Cybersecurity Survey Report. 2022.
6 World Economic Forum. Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022. 2022.