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Cyber security
strategy: Building
a strategic cyber
security plan

Author: Rose de Fremery

In an increasingly complex threat landscape, your organization needs more than an operational plan for cyber security—you also need a strategic cyber security plan. Here's a look at the cyber security challenges facing organizations today, the role risk appetite plays in defining a strategic cyber security plan and how managed service providers can help you build a cyber security strategy.

Cyber security challenges facing organizations

Threat actor activity has increased in recent years. According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), cyber attackers took advantage of the shift to a remote workforce, scaling up their phishing and ransomware attacks. Supply chain attacks are also becoming more frequent, representing a growing threat. The attack surface has significantly expanded, encompassing assets in cloud, mobile and even rogue services that malicious actors are targeting with greater frequency.

Organizations face multiple challenges in addressing these threats. Businesses often juggle several complex security solutions, and they struggle with vendor orchestration as well. Hiring and retaining properly trained cyber security personnel is difficult given the ongoing IT skills shortage. Organizations also find it tricky to understand what constitutes an acceptable residual risk posture. That can make it hard to define a cyber security strategy.

The role of risk appetite in a cyber security strategy

To craft a cyber security strategy, you must first understand and articulate your organization's cyber risk appetite. This is typically done in a cyber risk appetite statement that clearly explains how much risk your organization feels it can tolerate in order to achieve its business goals. A cyber risk appetite statement should be clear and unambiguous, with specific metrics that you commit to measuring and evaluating as you make progress toward your strategic cyber security goals. Cyber risk appetite statements are most common in the financial sector due to the unique regulatory pressures there, but companies in some other sectors are beginning to adopt them as well.

How managed services solutions can help

Even though you likely consider it a high priority to build a strategic cyber security plan, you may not have all the resources available to craft the right one for your organization's unique needs. Managed services solutions can help in these situations, helping your organization design a cyber security strategy that's commensurate to the level of risk it faces and is willing to accept. From there, you can design and build out the right operational capabilities to match.

Managed services solutions can give you a clear understanding of your organization's current cyber defense shortcomings, informing strategic investments that enable your organization to achieve its business objectives. You can also use managed services solutions to help align your cyber security strategy, designing the policies around people, processes and technologies to marshal a comprehensive response in the face of an attack. Proactive cyber risk management can help reduce a threat actor's ability to operate within your organization's environment, minimizing damage to the business and its reputation.

Build a strategic cyber security plan

In the face of increasing regulatory requirements and ever-heightening customer expectations, businesses that don't build a strategic cyber security plan may now run a risk of criminal or civil liability in the event of a data breach affecting their customers, to say nothing of lasting brand damage. By tapping the right resources to define a cyber security plan and making the investments necessary to carry it out, you can help increase your chances of ensuring secure and lasting growth even in today's uncertain threat landscape.

Learn how Verizon's security and protection services can help keep modern cyber threats at bay.