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Building a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Plan

In the realm of cybersecurity, the development of a comprehensive plan or roadmap is crucial. This plan should encompass technical solutions, incident response protocols, and the human element. Prior to initiating the plan, one must be aware of the various solutions, software, processes, activities, and risks present in their environment.

To build a cybersecurity roadmap from scratch, the first step is to gather information about the environment. This can be done in several ways, depending on the organization's size, structure, and IT capabilities. Typically, organizations obtain the necessary information by communicating with different departments, utilizing Windows Event Log/Syslog, running scripts, and generating reports. Another option is to leverage an Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) solution, such as Crowdstrike, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, or Sentinel One, which has to be deployed on most endpoint devices in order to collect viable information. This approach ensures the devices are secure while also providing a list of all installed software, along with versions and vulnerabilities. Smaller and mid-sized organizations that are not widely dispersed and have simple and fast communication between sites typically use the first approach. In contrast, larger organizations that have already deployed an EDR solution may opt for the latter since they have to collect information from different regions, which can be challenging due to bandwidth restrictions, satellite links, and time zone differences. The information collected by an EDR solution is sent directly to the cloud instead of being forwarded to a central location, and the data upload is optimized to minimize congestion, especially in satellite links. Once the required information is collected using an EDR solution, the information only needs to be confirmed by the sites.

The development of a cybersecurity plan that ensures security and visibility across all areas of IT, including communication (email, MS Teams, Cisco Webex, Slack, etc.), servers and workstations, identities, cloud resources, and SaaS applications, must be developed as a single, symbiotic solution for the next three years. CISOs and IT security teams must consider the usability of the proposed solutions, their integration into the environment and with each other, their impact on current operational processes and employees, the knowledge required to deploy and manage the solutions, and who will monitor the environment. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the deployment of suboptimal solutions that do not work together symbiotically, leading to additional expenses.

Another critical aspect of cybersecurity that must be addressed simultaneously is the preparation of an incident response plan and team. Organizations must have a well-defined process for incident detection and response, including regular reviews of incidents generated by security tools or reported by an external Security Operation Center (SOC), threat hunting, and tabletop exercises to test the plan's effectiveness. The incident response team must have clear roles and responsibilities and be trained to handle incidents effectively.

The third area of cybersecurity that is often overlooked is the human element and management. Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue; it is a business issue. The importance of cybersecurity needs to be communicated to management and all employees. Security awareness training should be provided to all employees to help them understand their role in maintaining the organization's security. Management plays a critical role in ensuring that cybersecurity is taken seriously within the organization by providing the necessary resources and support to the IT department to deploy the right security solutions and ensure that processes are in place to detect and respond to incidents. They must also ensure that cybersecurity is part of the overall business strategy.

In conclusion, cybersecurity comprises several pillars: IT solutions, people, and leadership that must work together to create a well-secured environment. IT departments must develop a cybersecurity roadmap and incident response plan through a combination of tools, processes, and people. Management plays a crucial role in ensuring that cybersecurity is taken seriously within the organization, and everyone within the organization has a role to play in maintaining the organization's security.


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