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Levelling up your cybersecurity game is no longer a luxury but a necessity

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By Dr. Abhinanda Sarkar, Academic Director, Great Learning 

Data is demanding progressively robust protection. Cyber-attacks have caused singular panic and disruption, and they will become more aggravating without the proper protocols and interventions. Cybersecurity underpins organisations’ digital infrastructure and financial health. Of course, a breach of this delicate ecosystem inflicts crippling losses, reputational tsunamis, and hefty fines.

Cybersecurity specialists in today’s landscape are rightly premium hires. This expensive talent oversees network security through costly tools to mask vulnerabilities—investment in security services could potentially rise to USD 90 billion this year. Protecting data and all its eccentricities will be a unique effort and necessitate a united focus based on constant learning.

Consider that the cybersecurity landscape presents immense opportunities, but they mean battling advanced dangers. Global leaders, highlighting the enormity of the issue, expect their organisations will be particularly exposed to cyber risks in 2024, around the same level as inflation and macroeconomic uncertainty. They also believe generative AI poses a specific concern as the technology becomes widespread.

In response, various segments like network security equipment and infrastructure protection now require higher investment and specialised management. Chief Information Security Officers, IT specialists, and even consultants are all expected to have a general skill set and beyond now that delivery mechanisms are getting harder to see through and ransomware patterns are complex. The severity of these attacks is cause for justified worry—a one- size-fits-all approach is a fool’s errand. These situations need holistic treatment and a
comprehensive cybersecurity plan involving qualified talent.

This defence strategy weaves technology, people, and processes into a robust whole. The first line of defence usually lies in the technological fortifications: firewalls and intrusion detection systems, encryption cloaking sensitive data, and constant software updates. And in light of current events, building an incident response plan ensures a swift and coordinated response to breaches, minimising damage. Additionally, like simulating hostile manoeuvres, ethical hacking unveils vulnerabilities before real adversaries can exploit them. However, the strongest fortresses are built on cultural foundations and by empowering individuals by training them in the domain. Good leadership champions cybersecurity, allocating resources and weaving training into an organisation’s core. Continuous improvement becomes a mantra, fuelled by regular risk assessments and adaptation to the ever-shifting threat landscape. With what’s in the balance and all the support and opportunities available, professionals should take it upon themselves to skill up and address any gaps in their resumes.

The urge for talent to be up-to-date and proficient corresponds with bad actors evolving their methods. For instance, with Microsoft blocking macros, malicious entities resorted to other avenues of intrusion. Over the past few years, system flaws and unpatched systems have been targeted regularly, criminals are turning to destructive malware and impersonating cloud storage services, and more audacious attempts are being launched. Governments and organisations have had to leverage their best expertise in these cases. For instance, Kuwait’s Ministry of Finance was at the receiving end of a phishing ransomware incident last year, prompting swift isolation and a collaborative clean-up effort.

Such examples shine a light on updating cybersecurity plans and skilling personnel with adequate tools. Furthermore, as developments in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud services continue, we’ll need specialists to occupy newer roles—there might soon be overlap between distinct fields. From automated incident response that can comprehensively respond to security incidents to understanding security-as-a-service infrastructure in aiding cloud migration, there is plenty of potential to cover. In this scenario, upskilling and training are a must to keep up with advancements. Cybersecurity is now a business objective just like any other primary requirement, and upskilling personnel is in an organisation’s best interest. For individuals breaking into the industry, certifications (CISSP, etc.) and university courses will lead to higher employability and seamless integration into future-ready cybersecurity teams.

In the cybersecurity space, technical know-how is critical. And with threats becoming more surreptitious and matured, upskilling allows individuals to accurately assess the ecosystem and learn how to adjust to high-stakes, high-pressure situations. Effective training covers textbook knowledge, instilling awareness, and ingraining preparedness that doesn’t come with simply picking up a book.

These facets foster collaboration and communication to build a human firewall against social engineering and cyber attacks. Ultimately, skilling in the domain lets professionals help organisations shift from reactive patching to proactive defence, building a robust security culture that thrives in the face of constant change. As more organisations lean into this culture, the rewards and exclusivity are worth the time and effort.

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