There’s no doubt that businesses need to invest in strengthening their security posture in 2023. On average, in the past year, businesses increased their cybersecurity budget by 5.2%. However, even with this increase in spending, 39% of UK businesses identified a cyberattack.
When business leaders hear of large-scale cyberattacks, such as the outbreak of Lapsus$ ransomware attacks in 2022, it is common to look for security solutions that protect against similar attacks.
Although investing in a single-serve solution may be effective in protecting against an attack vector, it does not cover the entire cybersecurity landscape. Similarly, even in your business has the best technology available, if your people and processes are not contributing to your overall security posture, you are still at an elevated risk of being attacked.
That’s why businesses are looking towards holistic security solutions.
In this blog, we will define what is a holistic security approach, the elements of such an approach, and how your business can get started.
What is a Holistic Security Approach?
A holistic security approach addresses people, processes and technology. These three elements should be working together to strengthen an organisation’s security posture and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to an attack.
Aligning these three pillars also helps with combatting novel attack vectors, as a holistic security approach includes continuous protection across all attack surfaces.
Having a holistic security solution also helps businesses scale, as it provides protection, even in complex and large technology ecosystems.
Pillars of Holistic Security
The heart of any organisation is its employees, and security is no different.
When taking a holistic approach to security, people need to be at the forefront. This includes security professionals, either in-house or outsourced, but also it is essential that all employees have sufficient cybersecurity knowledge and understand the importance of maintaining security hygiene.
In terms of employee education, employees should have everything they need to work securely, detect a potential cyberattack and know the processes to follow if they do so. Whilst employees are unlikely to detect a complex zero-day exploit, they should be able to detect a potential phishing email, which can have just as devasting consequences.
Employees should also understand the basics of security hygiene, such as best practices for passwords, physical security concerns, and the importance of securing personally identifiable information.
The role of people also extends to cybersecurity professionals working within the business. Due to the ongoing skills shortage, most businesses are unable to hire an employee solely dedicated to security. This is where a trusted third-party managed service provider (MSP) or managed security service provider (MSSP) can help your business, without the expense of a new hire.
Even with the right people working within your business to keep it protected, it is essential there are defined processes that underpin a holistic security strategy.
These processes should cover an organisation’s activities, roles for attack mitigation and response and how businesses manage risk.
In order to effectively manage processes within your organisation, a comprehensive management system is essential. This will ensure that employees understand their responsibilities regarding security posture. A management system will also help employees report any potential data breaches or intrusions by bad actors.
Whilst processes are a necessary component of a holistic security approach, implementing these processes and process documentation in businesses of all sizes will also help with governance and passing audits for accreditations such as ISO 9001 and 27001.
There’s no doubt that technology plays a major role in designing a holistic security solution, but it needs to be supported by people and processes.
When designing a holistic security solution, it should cover a wide variety of attack vectors and attack surfaces. There should also be solutions that mitigate risk, as well as detect and respond if a device or network is compromised.
Below are some of the common technologies included in a holistic security solution:
- Email Security: This is essential as the majority of attacks start with a phishing email. A comprehensive email security solution will stop phishing emails before they reach an employee’s inbox, whilst also scanning for malicious files and URLs, even from trusted senders.
- Endpoint Security: Endpoint security solutions, or endpoint detection and response (EDR), allow security professionals to proactively identify threats and protect organisations. Many EDR solutions can provide automatic responses to stop attacks before it is too late.
- Network Security: Network security will prevent many attacks, and most importantly will keep your sensitive data, including personal information, safe within the confines of your secure network.
- Identity and Access Management: IAM enables businesses to manage access to files and systems, and is an essential technology for zero trust. Some IAM solutions also include single sign-on, which helps with password security.
- Cloud Security: For organisations that have workloads in the cloud, a cloud security solution is required. Most cloud service providers have built-in security features and controls, but these need to be configured correctly to reduce cyber risk.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery: If your business does fall victim to an attack, especially a ransomware attack, a backup and disaster recovery solution will enable you to keep data and limit downtime.
How to Get Started
Designing and implementing a holistic security solution can be a massive undertaking, depending on the size and complexity of your business. This is especially true if you do not have a team dedicated to cybersecurity.
For this reason, many businesses rely on trusted advisors and managed service providers to design, implement and monitor their security posture. This way, you have the benefit of a team of cybersecurity professionals, without the additional cost.
If you want to find out more about how your business could benefit from a holistic security approach, contact us today.