As the frequency of destructive ransomware attacks and data breaches continues to rise, it is becoming increasingly clear that organisations of every size need to make cybersecurity a top priority. Ad hoc security measures and defences, however, are not the solution. Instead, modern businesses must opt for a risk-based strategy that uses a cybersecurity roadmap as its compass.
What Is A Security Roadmap?
Navigating toward a more secure cyber position is much more achievable when you have a clear understanding of where you are now, where you need to go, and how to get there. A security roadmap puts this into action, helping you to identify cybersecurity risks to your business and enabling you to put plans in place to protect yourself and ensure what you are doing is both appropriate and proportionate to the risks you face. Essentially, a security roadmap is a strategic, ongoing plan of action that is specifically tailored to your company.
A well-considered security roadmap will take a broader view than simply tackling the latest security threat. It will also ensure that you take a cohesive approach to cybersecurity, aligning your security priorities and IT capabilities with your overall business goals and adjusting these as they change in the future.
The Importance Of Being Proactive Over Reactive
Particularly in newly formed companies, we see security teams dealing with vulnerabilities on a case-by-case basis. While action is better than inaction, there’s something to be said for fighting cyber threats from a proactive rather than reactive footing.
Without a security roadmap, many teams spend much of their time fire fighting, reacting to whatever is the most urgent threat. By taking this approach, they fail to identify a long-term plan that could improve their defences and lose time that would be better spent enabling the business and supporting sustainable growth.
A Security Roadmap Helps To Prevent Financial Insecurity
Reactive management of risk is inefficient and costly, as we can learn from our neighbours across the Atlantic. In 2021, the average cost of a data breach rose to $4.24 million USD. Unsurprisingly, the financial impact of a security breach like this can have devastating ongoing effects.
While an active cyber insurance policy can help offset expenses associated with security incidents, it offers no comfort to businesses with sub-standard security measures in place. Insurance companies demand cyber-hygiene evaluations before a payout and will generally decline claims that could have been prevented.
There’s simply too much on the line not to make cybersecurity a top priority, which is why a security roadmap is essential for any modern organisation.
Vital Elements Of Any Security Roadmap
Each security roadmap will be completely unique as it is specific to the goals, capabilities and risk posture of the company in question. That being said, there are a few shared features that remain the same in any good security roadmap, regardless of other factors.
1. Regularly re-evaluated
A security roadmap should expand and evolve alongside your business. You should aim to constantly raise your benchmarks, identifying new threats as they present themselves and creating new initiatives each time you’ve actioned the last. By regularly re-evaluating your roadmap, you can ensure you keep momentum, evolving your business strategy in line with changes in priority or focus.
2. Includes stakeholders
Security is only as good as its weakest link, so include all relevant stakeholders within your business in order to gain as much information as possible. Interview your stakeholders when creating or updating your security roadmap, including your IT, HR and department heads. While not all stakeholders will be directly impacted by the roadmap, they may offer valuable insight into threats within their department or ongoing projects that may need to be considered.
3. Measures results
A plan is only as successful as its implementation. Be sure to pull key activities and deliverables out of your finalised security roadmap and create milestone dates that allow you to report and reflect on the progress of each task. It’s also helpful to ascertain what security metrics will be used to benchmark success and improve future delivery of the roadmap, such as benefits realisation and lessons learned.
Outsourcing Your Security Roadmap
The development of a comprehensive roadmap is a major task. As a resource that will evolve alongside your business, it’s important to get the foundations right from the beginning.
For this reason, many businesses rely on a vendor-neutral partner to offer an unbiased assessment of their security, enable communication across various business divisions, and aid in the development of a comprehensive action plan.
If you’d like support in creating a security roadmap for your business, speak to a Loopli consultant today.