As hackers get smarter than ever, cybersecurity becomes a key concern for businesses. Attackers have ways to break into even the most secure and sophisticated systems, therefore you cannot ignore the threat.

The pandemic-induced remote work has made the situation even worse. Networks are at risk, and employees are likely to compromise corporate data as they work remotely.

Remote workers may open security risks accidentally or unintentionally, but employers have a lot to lose. Undoubtedly, cybersecurity investment is essential for organizations, regardless of their size, scale, and domain.

While you cannot imagine survival without proper security measures and controls in place, implementing them is a challenge. Consider the cost [PDF], time, and complexity involved, and you will find it daunting.

Moreover, you cannot be too sure about your strategies because hackers are always a step ahead. It makes sense to take a new approach that ensures the best protection with minimal investment.

The lean methodology can serve as an ideal solution. Let us explain why businesses need to go lean with cybersecurity.

Devastating attacks are easier to launch

Before highlighting the value of going lean, it is crucial to understand the significance of rethinking cybersecurity.

Devastating attacks are easier to launch. Attacks on big companies and government organizations are rampant. Even unsophisticated attackers can pull off attacks with the availability of ransomware as a service (RaaS).

Ordinary cybercriminals have access to dangerous ransomware, making things challenging for large and small businesses.

The switch to the remote work model has made things only worse, as you cannot keep track of employees working from home. They can put the entire system at risk by clicking suspicious links and opening illegitimate emails without realizing the threat.

Such attacks have emerged as a daunting cyber threat for companies these days and threat actors are already exploiting this weak point. You can expect them to strike out of the blue. Even worse, it is hard to deal with the situation when you are not prepared.

Lean cybersecurity is about being on your toes at all times so that you are always ready to deal with a threat. It is a small investment that can save you from big trouble in the long run.

Enables agile adaptation to unexpected threats

For any business owner, cybersecurity can be an endless race with an unknown enemy. Hackers try to stay a step ahead, so unexpected threats are always around the corner. They come up with new threats from time to time. Even as businesses devise defenses and solutions to these threats, they are seldom enough.

Before you realize it, attackers adopt new tactics and target unknown vulnerabilities. Even worse, it seems that they can penetrate targets just when they want, no matter how tight their controls are.

Hacking is big business today, and you cannot take it casually no matter how robust your defenses are. For instance, ransomware gang REvil demanded a $70 million ransom from Kaseya.

The best way is to prevent breaches in the first place.  At the same time, you cannot believe that you are safe. You must have a plan to address attacks with agility. The lean approach enables you to beat hackers in the race by being quick to respond. It empowers your team to adapt quickly, with novel solutions for unexpected threats.

With this mindset, employees become proactive enough to foresee threats and prevent them in the first place. Even if things go wrong, they can quickly take action to minimize the damage.

Traditional defenses are not good enough

Another reason for embracing lean cybersecurity is that traditional defenses are no longer enough to keep attackers at bay. They have ways to break in, and you cannot protect your business enough.

You cannot rely on even the strongest digital walls and perimeters because criminals can climb them without much work. They can breach the sophisticated defenses you create with expensive products and robust policies. So it is crucial to rethink cybersecurity in the new normal.

Rather than going the traditional way, you need to implement a cultural change within the organization. It is a large-scale initiative that requires you to think outside the box.

Providing Lean Six Sigma training for your staff is the best place to start with a company-wide cultural switch. It helps you facilitate a governance model that focuses on continuous detection and response to cyber threats.

Further, you can pick the problem areas and concentrate security investment where it is needed most. It makes sense to defend vulnerabilities rather than build a wall around the entire infrastructure.

Helps with waste elimination

The lean methodology is about waste elimination and cost savings in the long haul. It entails picking only those tasks that add value and steering clear of the ones that only waste resources.

Further, decision-makers can rely on the mindset to stay within budget while implementing reliable and appropriate security controls. You can start by grabbing the low-hanging fruit, such as patching the systems with security fixes.

Pick the latest patches as they come, and you can close a major route for breaches. Fix responsibilities for the IT team so that no system and application runs without the latest patches and fixes.

Adopt a continuous improvement mindset to create a robust patching regime that covers vulnerabilities whenever a better patch is around. You need to understand that vulnerabilities are an integral part of your ecosystem. There is no way you can sideline them, so learn to live with them.

Both people and systems are constantly at risk, so security becomes a never-ending responsibility for everyone on board. The mindset makes it easier to pick a response plan that eliminates wasteful activities. You must have one that prevents attacks or drives recovery if they still happen.

Ensures optimal security spending

The cost of cybersecurity implementation can be a burden for a business of any size and scale. After all, threats are contingent, and attacks may never happen. But you cannot go slack with the defensive measures because dealing with an attack can be far more expensive.

It makes sense to have reasonable coverage with optimal security spending, and a lean approach shows the way. It helps you create a transparent and flexible governance model that facilitates continuous prevention, detection, recovery, and response.

While you can have a continuous loop covering all four areas, you must consider a few factors before implementing them. Ensure that you do the right things in the right way and evaluate the benefits of the strategy before implementing it.

Go a step further and track the performance of the initiative over time. It changes your mindset as you see security as an integral element of your technology strategy instead of merely an expense for your business.

Creates a long-term perspective

A lean cybersecurity implementation changes the way you perceive security. It is easy to take a long-term perspective and think about an adaptive and evolutionary enterprise architecture to secure your business for the long haul.

This approach leads to in-depth defense where every application and software you deploy and test at every level is secure by default. The process involves secure coding and deployment, penetration testing, and threat modeling throughout the creation and implementation of IT assets.

Security becomes a shared responsibility of everyone within your organization. Your employees take it more seriously, whether they work at home or from the office. Add the training element, and you have a resilient team that can avoid and address all threats effectively.

Drives proactive cybersecurity

Even as cyberattacks become more rampant than ever, enterprises can still mitigate the risk. All you need is a proactive approach, and a lean mindset sets you on the right path. Proper protection goes beyond increasing spending or doubling down on expensive solutions.

Lean cybersecurity entails effective cybersecurity hygiene through simple measures like regularly patching software, endpoint hardening, and multi-factor authentication.

Additionally, it includes security awareness training for employees to ensure that everyone knows their role. Having a stringent defense policy and enforcing it for everyone is equally crucial.

If you follow all these proactive measures to secure your data, software, and networks, nothing can get through and damage your systems. At the same time, ensure that you update your policy often, considering the changing landscape.

Spending money on expensive cybersecurity tools will not make your organization safer. Likewise, investing in a team of IT professionals is not an assurance of secure systems and networks.

You need to go lean with tools and people and focus on getting more with less. Invest in Six Sigma training for your IT team so that they can implement the requisite measures and sideline the ones delivering zero value. Further, stick with a preventive and proactive approach instead of being reactive.

Remediation is always more difficult and costly, so steering clear of attacks is the best defense. Ensure that you have controls at every level, right from the bottom of the team to top-level management.

Remember that it is possible to escape the cybersecurity paradox while keeping expenditure under control. All you need is to take the lean approach, and nothing can prevent your organization from creating and maintaining the strongest defense.

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Posted by Charlie