Last Updated on May 3, 2019
When it comes to cybersecurity, every business has blind spots. Network vulnerabilities it doesn’t notice. Security flaws it fails to address. Insider threats it’s unaware of. Ensuring you’re cognizant of these blind spots is the first step towards eliminating them, making your business that much more secure in the process.
Everyone has blind spots, especially where cybersecurity is concerned. It doesn’t matter how thorough you think you’ve been with your risk assessment, nor how much visibility you have into your infrastructure. The moment you assume you have every base covered, you might as well invite a breach to happen.
The best approach to cybersecurity is to operate on the belief that you’re always just one step away from being breached.
Because that’s not actually so far from the truth. The number of significant data breaches soared in 2018. And though cybercrime as a whole has grown inarguably more sophisticated, the vast majority of successful attacks exploit ancient vulnerabilities and use simple tactics.
That’s because the businesses targeted by these attacks generally fall into one of two camps. Either they know their security is subpar and aren’t taking measures to address it, or they’re treating security as a race with a clear endpoint rather than a marathon. If you’re reading this, it doesn’t really matter which of those camps you’re part of – you’re taking the first step towards making it out.
So, to the topic at hand. How can you identify the unseen weaknesses in your organization’s security?
Talk To Your Staff
We’ll start with what may well be one of the most widespread blind spots in cybersecurity – people. Even if all your systems are up to date and you’re equipped with the best firewall and threat mitigation tools money can buy, everything can come crashing down through the actions of a single employee, whether malicious or well-meaning. In any system, humans are the weakest link.
If you haven’t taken measures to address that, it’s time you started.
If it helps, look at it this way. Let’s say your house is in a fairly bad neighborhood, and you’ve purchased the best home security system money can buy. We’re talking bars on the windows, floodlights, alarms on every entrance, the whole nine yards.
One day, however, a criminal manages to gain entry to your home and rob you. How’d they do it? By posing as a delivery person and fooling your roommate into opening the door.
Sure, there are some oddball hackers out there who get off on cracking sophisticated, high-security infrastructure. But most of them are just after a quick buck. They will always go right after the weakest link in a system – and nine times out of ten, it’s an organization’s employees.
You can’t prevent this altogether – but you can mitigate it.
- Promote open communication and collaboration between departments and individuals at all levels of your organization. Security isn’t just a technical problem – it’s a cultural one.
- Create an awareness program that notifies and educates staff about the current threats facing your industry, and emphasizes why they should care.
- Ensure everyone has a stake in cybersecurity. Give everyone ownership of their role in protecting your organization’s data.
- Provide incentives for people who follow protocols and procedures or excel at training drills.
Look At Your Supply Chain
We live in an era of unprecedented connectivity. Even a mid-sized enterprise probably works with tens or dozens of partners and vendors. Bad news – every single one of those vendors is a potential security threat.
Criminals don’t need to break into your systems if they can just get your data from a vendor. They don’t need to compromise your security if they can implant a backdoor in a partner with trusted access. They don’t need to target your business if they can just go after your business partners.
The best way to protect yourself against supply chain attacks is to practice due diligence. Work only with vendors who have passed security assessments, and make sure you’ve solutions in place that allow you to remain in control of any sensitive data you entrust to a vendor.
Make A Foray Into Endpoint Management
We stand on the verge of the corporate Internet of Things. A vast, hyperconnected network of endpoints, devices, and systems that represents the largest threat surface enterprise has ever faced. And plenty of businesses still haven’t even gotten smartphones sorted out.
As technical blind spots go, this one’s probably your biggest concern. You need to understand how to provision keys to and maintain visibility over more devices than you’ve probably ever dealt with and deal with vulnerabilities that are likely totally foreign to you. Endpoint management software that’s capable of handling both smartphones and smart devices is probably a good starting point here, but there are a few other steps you can take, as well.
- For consumer IoT devices, establish a guest network within your office that is completely air-gapped from business systems and data.
- Practice due diligence before agreeing to work with an IoT vendor. Do they have a history in cybersecurity, or were they formerly just a manufacturer?
- Look into having your IT department enroll in an IoT security certification program.
Have A Professional Cybersecurity Assessment Done
I’ve saved the most important advice for last. At the end of the day, no one is entirely capable of overcoming their blind spots on their own – not without significant difficulty. The best way to ensure your business is secure is to bring in a neutral third party.
A cybersecurity assessment firm will be able to notice details you’ve missed – and be able to assure you that where protecting your data is concerned, your eyes really are in the right place.