In the first of these two articles, we covered the first five steps public sector organizations should take to change how they think about their cybersecurity to overcome this challenge. So far, we’ve explored: considering risk, tech environment knowledge, effective cyberhygiene, security at every level, and security as a trust-builder. We’ll continue by looking at the final five steps on this journey to build a stronger security strategy.
6. Get to Know Regulations Inside Out
Regulations present new opportunities for IT teams to stay ahead of the curve (and present strong benefits for the public, whose data must be protected).
Regulations drive security, as organizations have been forced to incorporate better security. Meeting the regulations gets senior teams to take security seriously and provides guidelines to reduce potential data breaches in the future.
Working in sync with legal, audit, and compliance teams may incur auditing, monitoring, and other reporting responsibilities needing to be implemented. The scope of privacy regulations has greatly expanded. Now, organizations operating both inside and outside of the EU must comply with the regulation if they come into contact with the personal data of EU citizens. And, along with legislation like the California Consumer Privacy Act, we’ll continue to see an expanded scope and greater emphasis on data privacy.
7. Security Knowledge Is Security Power
The key is to consistently update your organization’s knowledge about security—both for internal users and for the wider industry in general. Here are a few key tips:
Build a knowledge base to ensure your organization has the information and skills it needs to properly serve the public. As teams learn how to be good security stewards, they’ll learn to make good decisions (e.g., spotting and avoiding social engineering scams) and be part of the solution when problems arise.
Staying ahead of the curve requires much research and reading, and all employees in an organization should keep on top of this.
Certifications can help your employees stay on top of the latest trends and provide frameworks to tackle cybercriminals. Consider joining ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) and gaining certifications through this organization.
8. Prepare Employees for the Worst
As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, the systems organizations put in place cannot be expected to match this at a consistent speed, so employees are the next line of defense. It’s important to offer regular security training for your employees. Teaching them good security habits—like changing passwords frequently, using different credentials for each service, and turning on device encryption on any mobile devices—will protect both your organization and them as individuals.
It’s also important to send regular security updates to your employees.
9. See Security as the Gateway to More Services
IT teams should be aware their efforts to improve security can also lead them to useful contacts for other services and will benefit the organization. For example, you could strike up conversations with external experts about layered security, or you could discuss other possibilities like how to improve network performance or back up key documents.
10. Don’t Tackle Cybercriminals Alone
It’s important for organizations to find their own allies in this fight. Whether by connecting with other local organizations, joining professional organizations, going to meetups or conferences, or reading articles online and sharing them—staying in touch with a larger community of security experts will help everyone stay on the cutting edge in the fight against cyberthreats.
Across this two-part series, we’ve discussed the ten best steps U.K. public sector organizations can take to achieve a level of security to keep themselves, their employees, and the general public safe from cyberattacks. For an IT team yet to embark on any of these, it can seem like a daunting amount of processes and activities to complete, but even taking one step on this journey can make a huge difference.
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