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People, Process, Technology, Change and Culture: Five Critical Elements for Security

By Chris Harris, Support Analyst & Tester, Marval


Do you remember all the fuss with a ransomware attack last year? Nope, me neither.


Last May, a large number of systems was hit by WannaCry, a widely spread and disastrous ransomware attack. It is estimated that more than 300K machines were affected in the UK only (many more globally), leaving some of the country’s biggest organisations without access to critical operations.


Back then, the matter was thoroughly discussed in the news and was labelled as a much-needed wake-up call for organisations worldwide. A few months later, though, we seem to have forgotten about the size and impact of the attack, as we carry on with our work in a relaxed pace. It’s almost like it never happened.


But it did, and it may happen again. None of us can really ignore the possibility (or indeed the probability, ¼ of people in the UK has experienced it already!) of being the victim of cybercrime. Nobody has immunity. So, let’s get serious about it and see what we can do to minimise the chances of such attacks – or the impact, should they happen:


-          It all starts with People. In most cases, the cyber-attack is the result of human error. Perhaps someone opened a link they shouldn’t have, or downloaded the wrong application on their business computer. Some of these incidents could have been prevented if the users were properly trained - and frequently reminded of the organisation’s policy towards cybersecurity. Training should be part of any plan for security, risk management, business continuity and compliance. Don’t underestimate the importance of informal learning, too: knowledge articles are a great way of sharing and distributing on-the-job tips.


-          Processes can help. If things are always done in a specific, pre-defined way, there should be no much space for mistakes. By establishing and reinforcing processes for cybersecurity, we can ensure that things are done properly, following approved, proven and safe steps.


-          Technology can help, too. By automating tasks and software updates, not only do we save time, but we also make sure that no critical task is forgotten or ignored, therefore compromising safety. Feature-rich tools, like Marval MSM, help identify potential risks, recognise security alerts, prioritise tasks and escalate incidents to the team experts easily and timely; helping us keep an eye on our infrastructure and manage any relevant incidents the moment they occur.


-          Change is important. Getting rid of dated stuff (hardware, software or even processes that don’t seem to serve a purpose any more) helps decrease complexity and increase visibility over our environment, while eliminating blind spots and potential risks.


-          It all gets down to culture. Maintaining a safe business environment is everyone’s responsibility, from senior management, to the IT team, to the end user. We all have a role to play - and we all need to realise and accept that security should be our number one priority. This message has to be clear and loud, and instiled across the organisation through a solid culture.



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