The 2 Sides of Cybersecurity

December 27, 2023 by
Mark Nash

Across the digital landscape, every click and keystroke echoes through cyberspace as the battle for data security rages on. Businesses stand as both guardians and targets, while unseen adversaries seek to steal their digital assets. To navigate this treacherous terrain takes a two-pronged approach with a sophisticated arsenal of cybersecurity strategies. On one side, the vigilant guards of prevention (Left of Boom). On the other, the resilient bulwarks of recovery (Right of Boom). Together, these strategies form a comprehensive defense to help ensure that businesses can repel attacks or rise stronger from the ashes if breached. So, how does one organize their cybersecurity approach into Left and Right of Boom?

What Do "Left of Boom" and "Right of Boom" Mean?

In cybersecurity, "Left of Boom" and "Right of Boom" are strategic terms that delineate the proactive and reactive approaches to dealing with cyber threats. "Left of Boom" refers to preemptive measures and preventative strategies implemented to safeguard against potential security breaches. It encompasses actions aimed at preventing cyber incidents before they occur. "Right of Boom" pertains to the post-breach recovery strategies used after a security incident has taken place. This phase involves activities like incident response planning and data backup. Together, these terms form a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to enhance an organization's resilience against cyber threats.

Left of Boom: Prevention Strategies

User Education and Awareness

One of the foundational elements of Left of Boom is employee cybersecurity education. You can't expect someone to know how to stay cyber-safe if they have never been taught how. Regular training sessions can empower staff by helping them identify phishing emails, recognize social engineering attempts, and adopt secure online behaviors. An informed workforce becomes a strong line of defense against potential threats. Employee training reduces the risk of falling for a phishing attack by 75%.

Robust Access Control and Authentication

Implementing strict access control measures is a Left of Boom strategy that simultaneously reduces the risk of a breach and the potential scope of a breach. It achieves this by increasing the stringency of authentication and limiting accounts to the tools necessary for their roles. Access control tactics include:

  • Least privilege access
  • Multifactor authentication (MFA)
  • Contextual access
  • Single Sign-on (SSO) solutions

Regular Software Updates and Patch Management

One of the most common types of updates software receives is security updates. Outdated software frequently contains vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit. So Left of Boom strategies include ensuring all software is regularly updated with the latest security patches. Automated patch management tools can streamline this process and reduce the window of vulnerability.

Network Security and Firewalls

Firewalls are one of the first lines of defense against external threats and are frequently paired with intrusion detection/prevention systems. Together, they help track network traffic, identify suspicious activities, and block unauthorized access attempts.

Regular Security Audits and Vulnerability Assessments

Conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify potential weaknesses in your systems. By proactively addressing these vulnerabilities, organizations can reduce the risk of exploitation by cybercriminals. Penetration testing can also simulate real-world cyberattacks to allow businesses to test and evaluate their security posture effectively.

Right of Boom: Recovery Strategies

Incident Response Plan

Having a well-defined incident response plan in place is crucial to being able to recover from a cyberattack. An effective incident response plan needs to outline the steps to take in the event of a security breach, including steps such as:

  • Communication protocols
  • Containment procedures
  • Steps for recovery
  • IT contact numbers

Additionally, it should be easy for any employee to understand and easily accessible so that it can be acted upon as swiftly as possible. Regularly test and update your incident response plan to ensure it remains effective and relevant.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery

Regularly backing up data and having a robust disaster recovery plan are components of Right of Boom that go hand-in-hand. Disaster recovery plans are used to help businesses resume operations swiftly after an attack has been resolved. A disaster recovery plan is different from an incident response plan, which is used to deal with an ongoing threat. Since data loss is a common effect of cyberattacks, having backups of your data you can recover from is vital. Automated backup systems can offload the duties of ensuring that critical data is regularly backed up. An important step to remember is to keep a copy of your backup data disconnected from your network so a cyberattack can't compromise it.

Forensic Analysis and Learning

After dealing with the events of a security breach, conduct a thorough forensic analysis of your network. Performing a forensic analysis allows you to understand the nature of the attack, the extent of the damage, and the vulnerabilities that were exploited to enable the attack. Learning from these incidents helps organizations strengthen their security posture further, making it harder for similar attacks to succeed in the future.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

There are many laws and regulations in place to protect people's data privacy, so knowing how to navigate the legal and regulatory landscape after a security breach is also vital. Organizations must follow applicable data breach notification laws and regulations to avoid incurring fines or other legal consequences. Additionally, timely and transparent communication with affected parties is essential to maintaining trust and credibility with customers.