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Just as your organization is growing and evolving, so, too, is the cyber threat landscape. 

In fact, RiskIQ notes that in just one minute, “a staggering 375 new cybersecurity threats will emerge” and, at the same time, nearly every day, a new zero-day attack is identified. The vast majority of these evolving threats are tied to the exploitation of a known vulnerability—vulnerabilities that cyber criminals are well aware of and working hard to exploit. 

Combine these hurdles with a long-standing cybersecurity skills gap, and it is no surprise that organizations are often caught off guard when it comes to securing their infrastructure.

Fortunately, by focusing on the basics of cybersecurity, providing your security team with the latest tools and resources, and avoiding some of the most common mistakes, your organization can not only lower its chances of being caught in the crosshairs of a cyber threat but also be better prepared if one does occur.

So what are some of the more common cybersecurity mistakes organizations make, and how can your team be better positioned to avoid them?

How do organizations use cyber ranges? What cyber range delivery models are  currently available? How do cyber range simulations work? Find out when you  download The Comprehensive Guide to Cyber Ranges. →


Common Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid

Every organization is unique, but the causes of their cybersecurity mistakes can be generally organized into three categories: unintentional or malicious actions by people, inadequate or missing security processes or policies, and inadequate or misconfigured security tools or enterprise systems.

Here are some of the most common mistakes tied to each of these categories:

1. People-Centric Mistakes

Employees have often been the weakest link in the security chain, but the drastic shift to remote work and a more mobile workforce has made the attack landscape even more acute. In fact, one study found that about 60 percent of data breaches were tied to remote workers.

Fortunately, organizations can drastically mitigate the risk of employee-related data breaches or poorly defended cyber attacks by taking a few steps:

  • Implementing and enforcing a strong password management policy, including length, complexity, age, and reuse criteria
  • Instituting and providing regular refresher security awareness training, covering topics such as proper data handling, device use, and signs of phishing
  • Having a system in place to effectively report, triage, and communicate threat alerts or anomalous event logs

2. Processes-Centric Mistakes

Cyber threats come in all shapes, sizes, and vectors, meaning organizations need to be more than just secure; they also need to be resilient.

There are many aspects that make up cyber resiliency, but one of the foundational elements is the presence and maturity of an enterprise’s security processes. These structured and established processes should enable organizations to approach security threats and respond to them consistently and holistically. Without strong processes, responses can be incomplete, warning signs missed, and security culture lacking.

Here are some of the most common mistakes organizations make when it comes to building and maintaining security processes:

  • Not having established incident management plans that have been tested and practiced in a cyber range to increase readiness, coordination, and responsiveness
  • Failing to include security requirements and testing as part of system implementation and software development methodologies
  • Lacking adequate risk and cybersecurity-related policies—including documents like a risk management plan, data management plan, access management policy, and the institution of separation of duties, among others—and not regularly updating them to reflect new threats or assets 

3. Technology-Centric Mistakes

There are two common ways organizations can make mistakes when it comes to cybersecurity and the technology they have in place: not having, underutilizing, or failing to integrate their security technology, or failing to update, patch, or properly configure their business-related operational systems.

Common technology-centric cybersecurity mistakes often include:

How do organizations use cyber ranges? What cyber range delivery models are  currently available? How do cyber range simulations work? Find out when you  download The Comprehensive Guide to Cyber Ranges. →


Why a Robust Cybersecurity Program Is Important for Your Business

There has never been more of a financial, reputational, and operational incentive to have a strong and comprehensive cybersecurity program in place. In fact, 2021 saw the average cost of a data breach jump to $4.24 million, the highest point ever recorded by IBM. According to the same report, the most common cause of data breaches is one of the most preventable: employee credential compromise (20 percent of all events). 

Fortunately, implementing a cybersecurity program that draws on industry best practices—including one that addresses your personnel, technology, and tools—and evolves with your organization and the threat environment can help to proactively protect your assets today and in the years ahead.

Especially when compared to the average cost of a data breach and its remediation, for example, the business case for a comprehensive cybersecurity program is quite strong. More specifically, a robust cybersecurity program can help to:

  • Identify, prioritize, and mitigate potential threats to your organization
  • Continuously inventory, prioritize, and identify security controls to protect your organizational assets
  • Create better understanding of your organization’s attack surface, including the strengths and weaknesses of its defenses, and develop plans to mature your overall cybersecurity
  • Increase the visibility and awareness of cyber hygiene and participation across the organization to foster a security-focused culture 
  • Allow your organization to scale and evolve as your operations and threats change

Finally, creating a cybersecurity program puts structure around the combined efforts of your organization, defining development programs for your security professionals, identifying dedicated budgets, and providing the executive support needed to continue to mature and invest in its growth. 

Start Improving Your Security Today

The operational and security-related challenges that organizations have faced in the last two years have been unprecedented, accelerating the need to be secure and confident in your defenses. 

Creating a cybersecurity program and dedicating the required resources, leadership support, and attention it needs to mature and grow over time will help your organization avoid these common cybersecurity mistakes—and move your organization toward a proactive security posture.

Fortunately, there are many best practices and established platforms that can help your organization put in place the comprehensive and advanced security tools, processes, and policies it needs to protect its brand. One of the most versatile solutions is a cyber range platform, which offers organizations a realistic virtual environment in which they can test security tools, practice incident response, offer hands-on employee development, and so much more.

Want to learn more about the power of cyber ranges and keep up to date on the latest in cybersecurity? Then make sure to subscribe to the SimSpace blog and check out our many webinars, white papers, and other resources here.

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Blog bySimSpace
SimSpace is the leading innovative cyber security platform for enabling risk reduction through operational quantification, testing and training. No other organization has SimSpace’s depth of experience in creating high fidelity cyber ranges with unique user and adversary emulation techniques.