All businesses seek profitable growth. The issue is that growth adds complexity. Organizations need new systems and more employees to support this larger footprint, thus expanding the number of potential points of failure. This means more financial and reputation risks going forward – especially as organizations grow their digital presence.
To balance out these unintended consequences of growth, organizations need to have a cybersecurity strategy and the necessary tools to implement it. Many already realize this fact. In fact, most organizations today are in the process of scaling their cybersecurity efforts. In the 2022 Global Digital Trust Insights Survey, for instance, 69% of organizations told PwC that they expect an increase in cybersecurity spending in 2022, with more than a quarter (26%) anticipating a rise of at least 10%.
This finding raises the following question: why is scaling cybersecurity so important that more than half of organizations are pursuing it?
In this article, we’ll examine some of the factors that drive leaders to scale their organization’s security, explore some pain points they might encounter along the way, and look at how they can overcome them.
The benefits of cybersecurity scaling
Sean Atkinson, CISO at CIS, explained that cybersecurity scaling helps organizations prevent profitable growth from spiraling out of control.
“Scaling is the ability for cybersecurity to respond to the risk incurred as an organization grows,” he said. “More people – more responsibility, more customers, more data to protect – adjusting and aligning both the risk and opportunity requires integration with IT and Security to help protect that scaling from ‘tipping’.”
In this understanding, cybersecurity scaling can benefit organizations in the following ways:
Accommodate a growing digital footprint – A larger digital footprint creates changes in capacity that can hinder your ability to respond to security incidents. Cybersecurity scaling remedies this by emphasizing a strategy and toolset that can accommodate these changes as they arise.
Account for an increase in security incidents – In its study, PwC learned that over half of the respondents expected to see an increase in reportable security incidents in 2022 compared to the previous year. More security incidents equate to a greater burden on existing cybersecurity teams and resources, particularly smaller ones that are still in the process of developing their security plans. Through cybersecurity scaling, organizations of all sizes can provide their teams with the necessary resources to quickly address security incidents when they occur.
Dispense with ad hoc responses to security incidents – Many organizations are choosing to scale their cybersecurity in response to trends such as remote work, cloud migration, and/or new data privacy regulations – that is, developments that aren’t going away anytime soon. Taking an ad hoc approach to incident response promises only to waste time in this new business landscape. That’s why organizations need a strategy that they can use to plan ahead and formalize their incident response capabilities, among other cybersecurity processes.
The challenges of scaling your cybersecurity
Every organization’s journey to scale their cybersecurity capabilities is unique. Depending on what they have to work with, however, some might have a bumpier ride than others.
“Time, planning, and resources are some of the biggest obstacles to scaling your cybersecurity,” Sean clarified. “It is also the approach organizations take. To scale means to understand the business, and in some cases, you move between elements of maturity very quickly.”
No development better captures this reality than the cyber skills shortage. In October 2021, (ISC)² revealed that the global cybersecurity workforce shortage was around 2.72 million unfilled positions. Without enough certified cybersecurity professionals, many organizations struggle to fulfill their day-to-day security operations let alone scale those efforts.
This is even more apparent to organizations that don’t have the internal resources to employ/haven’t found someone to serve as an in-house CISO. They don’t have someone thinking about strategically aligning cybersecurity to their business needs, in other words. As a result, even if those organizations do find a way to scale their cybersecurity, it’ll be hard to do so in a way that fully supports their business priorities. Such an approach could leave IT and security teams with less time to do what they need to do, thus costing the organization time and money.
Cybersecurity at scale as the way forward
To overcome the obstacles discussed above, organizations can look to deploy layered security solutions that cost-effectively strengthen their digital security.
Atkinson agrees with this methodology.
“The layered approach allows an organization to identify specific risks and treat them as a small part of a comprehensive program,” he noted. “Looking at the technical components of a business and the business processes themselves, you address risk differently than you would without the layered context and build controls throughout the layers to complement the risk-based approach to addressing what’s important to the ‘business.’”
Organizations can take a layered approach to their cybersecurity scaling efforts by becoming a CIS SecureSuite Member. In doing so, they’ll gain access to resources and tools that they can use to implement security best practices such as the CIS Critical Security Controls and the CIS Benchmarks. CIS SecureSuite Membership comes with tools for automating scan assessments of your systems’ configurations, quickly deploying secure configurations across your environment, tracking implementation of security best practices, as well as accessing and downloading additional resources.
Scaling cybersecurity with CIS SecureSuite
Tony Sager, SVP & Chief Evangelist at CIS, stated that the true value of scaling cybersecurity with CIS SecureSuite boils down to the power of proof.
“Scaling goes beyond technology and local management, and is not just about getting bigger,” he pointed out. “You also have to ‘prove’ to multiple parties that you have ‘done the right thing’ from their perspective, like PCI, ISO, the legal system, regulators, insurance companies, etc. So cross-mapping through CIS SecureSuite enables you to ‘do once, prove to many’.”
Seen this way, CIS SecureSuite helps you maximize your cybersecurity teams’ time and resources so that you can focus on growing the business well into the future. Learn more about CIS SecureSuite.