Better IT through Cybersecurity

Information Technology (IT) is a foundational component of modern business infrastructure because it brings functionality, accessibility, and efficiency to employees and customers. The common definition of Cybersecurity, “protecting your electronic data and systems from unauthorized access or attack,” is simple enough to understand. Many of the attributes that make it useful also make it vulnerable. Failing to incorporate Cybersecurity into the IT infrastructure leaves a company at risk to attacks that, at a minimum, undermine the benefits to the workforce and could become a significant financial liability or risk to the continued existence of the company.

Adopting and incorporating a Cybersecurity posture can quickly become complex, especially for legacy systems. The breadth of applications, the complexity of a modern technology stack, and the increasing sophistication of the threats can quickly overwhelm any traditional IT team that is highly skilled but narrowly focused.

One strategy for achieving Cybersecurity in corporate IT is to acknowledge and embrace the complexity of the system and adopt best practices from several domains to fulfill the IT charter. The traditional IT team, with its knowledge of infrastructure and business applications, remains essential. Bringing software engineers onto the team who have domain expertise in scripting and configuration management and deployment introduces a “DevOps” culture where IT becomes an actively managed, evolving product. Incorporating security experts on the team, who have proficiency in Information Systems and knowledge of threat vectors and regulatory requirements, ensures the evolving product is hardened against the threats.

When executed as intended, the team will create a hardened IT infrastructure that is more secure. A key insight is to understand that securing an IT system is not a “one and done” activity. The threat is continually changing. A successful solution is one where the IT infrastructure can change and adapt to new security threats, while remaining hardened through a “defense-in-depth” concept of Cybersecurity. The team will not just configure the existing systems but adopt technologies and processes that allow the infrastructure to change quickly and efficiently. Reconsider the purpose of the IT system; in the face of an evolving, competitive business environment, isn’t this ability to change quickly and efficiently the same desired characteristic of contemporary business operations?

Adopting Cybersecurity to ensure the IT systems deliver their business functions securely is common knowledge. The benefit of this approach is that the technologies and process developed to address security requirements can energize the business functions. This is the duality of a well-executed Cybersecurity initiative; it defends the company against loss and simultaneously creates the foundations for continual improvement to internal operations and customer-facing services.