Why You May Not Be Able to Recover from a Cybersecurity Breach

Author: Robert Barresi, Enterprise Architect

Would your organization be able to survive a cyberattack? For too many, the answer is no, and for the same reasons: lacking a solid, systemic approach, organizations often make common mistakes in how they treat cybersecurity. Here are the top reasons organizations have not been able to recover from a cybersecurity breach.

The organization treats security like technology.

When security is treated as technology, the organization knows they need cybersecurity and they buy products, but they don’t do anything beyond activating them. Processes are not put in place because the prevailing belief is “that’s something IT takes care of.” With this approach, prevention and response processes are not driven by the executive team, as they should be. Staff is not trained to recognize a potential breach. And staff is not trained on how to respond to a breach once it does occur.

The organization takes basic steps to prevent breaches organization wide, but they don’t follow up.

Though some organizations do the minimum such as educate during onboarding, if policy and procedural changes occur, they aren’t communicated organization wide. Other times, the processes become fixed and aren’t adapted for change. Or necessary changes become secondary in importance when they should be first. Sometimes organizations even shut off security features to prevent service issues, but they don’t turn them back on, leaving the customer vulnerable.

 The organization leaves security holes in their hybrid systems.

While cloud with proper security is the preferred architecture, many organizations do not consider the specialized security required for cloud. The same organizations that use hybrid technologies – cloud and on-premise – are also using multi-cloud systems, mixing and matching cloud solutions from various providers. This means information is being exchanged between myriad networks, making it easy for there to be a hole in security.

 The organization doesn’t ask if they are ready for a breach and how they will respond.

Organizations sometimes don’t realize once they are breached, how they react is paramount. An agency or company can easily get a bad name if the breach isn’t handled correctly or if it’s discovered they didn’t try to prevent the breach as an organization. Reputation management is crucial to any organization, and part of that falls under the umbrella of cyber security.

The organization doesn’t realize until it’s too late that cybersecurity should be a priority.

Many companies and individuals don’t buy into the idea that while there’s a cost associated with cybersecurity, there is a huge return on investment (ROI) through prevention and mitigation. They don’t ask the important question – what will the cost be when you’re breached and you don’t have a recovery plan in place? Or what if you don’t have enough security and the breach becomes serious as a result? Time, resource, and reputation loss can be substantial. If you are breached, nothing else matters – neither budget nor operations – because your entire organization is left vulnerable, along with your customers.

Any cybersecurity plan must be a living, breathing strategy that starts at the top of the organization and is adopted as a social practice at every level. Security must be enterprise-wide, a unified process and practice to effectively defend the operations, image, and livelihood of an organization. Without this approach, your organization may never be able to recover from a threat or a full-blown incident. 

For a review of your cybersecurity plan and tools, contact a member of Team Octo.