Cybersecurity and the Future of Assurance in an Ever-Changing Risk Landscape

By Karen Bolton, CEO, Nettitude

Commonly recognized as one of the biggest risks to any organization, cybersecurity is at the top of boardroom agendas.

With digital transformation accelerating across the globe, effective assurance is crucial for entire digital ecosystems. Organizations must protect vital assets from attack and damaging compromise while being effective at responding should an attack occur.

In an interconnected world, people, processes, and technology span organization infrastructures, cloud stacks, and mobile accessibility. It’s why cybersecurity has earned its seat at the boardroom table.

Yet, every organization is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all. You must focus on understanding your own threat landscape, prioritize the biggest risks to your organization, and identify the best assurance frameworks that will support the cybersecurity posture and maturity level you seek to achieve.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do this on your own.

A rapidly changing world

Your threat landscape is never static. New risks continually appear on the horizon, and the situation is getting worse. When there’s so much to consider, it’s easy to chase your tail and achieve little progress towards maturing your cybersecurity capability.

Coupled with emerging threats, organizations continue to widen their exposure as technology evolves. Cloud-use and collaborative platforms are now commonplace for even the smallest business and data storage is increasing across all departments.

In fact, to operate daily, most enterprises are now wholly or partly reliant on IT systems, cloud platforms, and technologies.

Meanwhile, cyber-attacks are on the rise. They’re less targeted and more indiscriminate too. Reported ransomware attacks, for example, have grown 150% during 2021 (Digit) – and there’s no let-up expected.

It’s no longer possible to simply rely on cybersecurity technologies to stay secure. Organizations need confidence and assurance that they are cyber-secure.

Today, you’re trying to protect yourself whilst threats continually evolve and grow around you.

Prioritizing your cyber threats

With so much global cyber activity, you must identify the biggest risks to your organization from your own threat landscape.

Simply waiting to react when an attack happens is dangerous. Far better to create the best defense possible, prioritizing your most significant assets.

Take the “not if but when” approach to cyber-attacks. You should ensure your organization not only spends time in detection but preparing for an incident, rehearsing your response, and knowing what to do to recover information and systems.

You must determine your own strategic story and build fit-for-purpose assurance to defend it.

From there, you can determine how you’d respond in the event of an attack and form a robust plan.

Your cyber risk management approach will be unique, it must also tackle the threats you know about and those you don’t.

Having specialist support to help you achieve this is incredibly valuable. Drawing on in-depth knowledge and wide experience makes a difference to your cybersecurity future.

How can you trust your digital assurance?

Keeping your information and data secure is fundamental to the existence of your organization. You must therefore develop a trusted and certified assurance process to keep it safe.

Frameworks can be key in helping organizations assess their risk landscape. But you must use them for the right reasons and not simply go through the motions. They must reinforce your approach to cybersecurity and the maturity you wish to achieve.

Whether you’re a small or medium-sized business looking for additional levels of assurance, or a large enterprise, there is a range of trusted accredited advisory, audit, certification, and training services against the world’s leading cybersecurity standards.

Why continual assessment is vital

Whilst compliance is important, it only captures a point in time. Given that cyber threats are always changing, it’s crucial you continually assess your own threat landscape.

Today, you might be compliant. Tomorrow, a new threat might emerge.

Internally, you must continually assess your people and processes, in addition to your technology. Data shows that people are your weakest link and the biggest cybersecurity risk.

Organizations and people are continually changing how they engage with technology. Plus, your organization will probably incorporate new team members constantly and since each one poses a new risk, make sure you promote and embed a cyber-aware culture.

Externally, you must continually assess your ecosystem. This includes your supply chain. Any external weaknesses will, in turn, threaten your own operations and cybersecurity.

Digital assurance is never static. As technology advances and changes, and as the pace of innovation increases, your assurance must be dynamic to remain effective.

It’s imperative to continually understand where you are in terms of cybersecurity and where you want to get to.

More about Nettitude & LRQA

Nettitude provides a wide range of threat-led cybersecurity services for organizations around the globe. From penetration testing to incident response and managed security services, we work closely with you to drive effective protection, detection, response, and recovery from cyber threats.

Our accreditations and certifications make us globally trusted world leaders in cybersecurity, with a team that is made up of specialists holding the highest technical qualifications available. We are one of only a handful of companies worldwide that hold all CREST accreditations and the first in the world for SOC services. Nettitude is also a PCI ASV, PCI QSA, P2PE QSA, PA QSA, and ISO 27001 lead auditor, and an approved provider of STAR testing services.

Nettitude is an LRQA company. LRQA brings together unrivaled expertise in certification, customized assurance, cybersecurity, inspection, and training, and has become a leading global assurance provider. By combining strong values, decades of experience in risk management and mitigation, and a keen focus on the future, LRQA supports clients as they build safer, more secure, more sustainable businesses. With an unrelenting focus on our clients, we are shaping a better future together.

Karen Bolton, CEO at Netittude has worked within the IT industry her entire career. Having joined Nettitude in April 2017, she brought with her extensive experience in developing strategies, driving sales, managing clients and business operations, and developing talent. Karen has represented Nettitude at a number of industry forums and overseen the development of new assurance capabilities. Karen’s previous role was as Managing Director (Sales & Relationship Management) of Marsh ClearSight; a cloud-based software platform serving the needs of risk management professionals, leading their global sales, account management, and professional services organization.

Karen received her undergraduate degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, University of NSW, Australia. Her passion centers around helping organizations understand the cyber risks they face while overseeing the effective implementation of strategies to protect against ongoing cyber-threats, reducing risk impacts to organizations globally.

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