White Paper

How to Develop an Effective Security Strategy for Your Organization

A layered approach of solutions and services can help take cybersecurity to a higher level.
March 03, 2020

Cybersecurity is one of the most daunting challenges organizations face. In fact, a poll by Microsoft and Marsh found that 79 percent of business leaders ranked cyber risk among the five most significant concerns for their organization, and many indicated they worried that they lacked the ability to manage such risks. 

That’s bad news. What’s worse? As digital transformation initiatives take root, the number of network endpoints and the amount of data on them is growing exponentially, dramatically increasing the challenge. 

The good news for any organization intent on shoring up its data security posture is that a variety of solutions and services are available in this arena. Many vendors now believe in taking a layered approach to cybersecurity and offer products that protect the network as a whole while also providing security around individual parts. A trusted partner can help an organization take cybersecurity to an even higher level, providing in-depth consultation services to align security initiatives with critical business objectives.

Here is a look at a few of the solutions and services most organizations should have on their radar as they consider their cybersecurity options.

$8.19 million

Average total cost of a data breach in the U.S. in 2019

Source: IBM, “2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report,” July 2019

Cybersecurity Solutions

Next-generation endpoint security: Traditional endpoint protections such as firewalls and anti-virus software were designed to detect and thwart known cyberthreats. Today, however, attackers are more sophisticated, and data-protection tools focused on previously identified threats are too reactive to be effective in preventing unauthorized network access. Next-generation endpoint security solutions, which employ artificial intelligence and machine learning, ensure overall system protection by identifying and eliminating potential threats at every endpoint on a network.

Next-generation firewalls: Much like traditional firewalls, NGFWs provide stateful inspection of an organization’s network traffic, but that’s where the similarities end. Gartner describes NGFWs as “deep-packet inspection firewalls that move beyond port/protocol inspection” to include intrusion prevention and application visibility. Most important, NGFWs use threat intelligence from the cloud to identify and adapt to evolving security threats.

Email security: While strong passwords and employee vigilance are indispensable when it comes to email security, automated virus- and malware-protection tools are critical as well. The best solutions offer organizations comprehensive protection of their email infrastructure by intercepting threats before they can spread.

Cloud security: Cloud security technologies are designed to protect data stored or transmitted beyond the network perimeter. A typical cloud service might provide security solutions that include identity and access management tools (encryption keys, for example), infrastructure protection, threat detection and continuous monitoring, and dedicated data-protection tools such as hardware-based key storage for regulatory compliance.

Cloud access security broker: CASB solutions enforce security policies for users and systems that access cloud-based services via user authentication, device profiling, malware detection and other protective measures.

SaaS: Software as a Service solutions are delivered by a cloud provider on demand. One key advantage associated with SaaS has to do with its versatility: Users can access SaaS applications anywhere there’s an internet connection. And securitywise, because the software is in the cloud, the vendor can apply critical patches and updates instead of relying on users to do the job themselves.

Data loss prevention: Data loss prevention tools and processes are designed to prevent valuable data from being misplaced or misused. Built around an organization’s particular security policies, DLP solutions automatically identify any violations and then enforce protective measures to ensure data safety.

Identity and access management: IAM solutions give organizations a secure and centralized way to manage user identities and access permissions. Through identification and authentication processes (such as passwords, biometrics and tokens), IAM ensures that those who are authorized have the network access they need, while those who are not are kept at bay.

Cybersecurity Assessments

A third-party cybersecurity assessment can help an organization understand its current security posture and identify the threats facing its data. A variety of such services are available and appropriate, depending on the specific needs of an organization:

Vulnerability assessment: An automated evaluation of current IT systems to root out potential weaknesses. Regular vulnerability assessments can help organizations stay on top of evolving threats by classifying and ranking vulnerabilities in order of priority.

Penetration testing and application assessment: Manual “ethical hacking” to identify vulnerabilities such as ineffective passwords and issues with software and hardware that may present risks to an organization.

Configuration review: Testing of systems to ensure they’re configured in accordance with accepted best practices. Results can be used to recommend improvements.

Social engineering: Use of custom phishing scams and other simulated attacks to test an organization’s preparedness for dealing with the real thing.

Framework assessment: An evaluation of an organization’s current security posture compared with the end state of a cybersecurity framework. By conducting a gap analysis of an organization’s current state and its target state, a partner can lay out the steps needed to get the organization into a more effective posture.  

Compliance assessment: Here, the identification of compliance-related data security issues helps an organization meet regulatory requirements.

To learn more about how you can improve your data security, read the CDW white paper “Protecting Data in a Shifting Security Landscape” from CDW.