If you were going to test the fault-points of a building, you wouldn’t hire the architect, you’d hire a demolitions expert. Similarly, you don’t want the designer of your network testing its security. If the team that configures your network does so incorrectly, they are most likely unaware. The creator of the environment has an inherent bias based on the angle from which they view it. They are blind to vulnerabilities, not necessarily because they are under-qualified, but because they are too close to the project. A security team has a “black box perspective”, which means they have the same outside view of the system that an attacker would. This outsider point of view is just one of the advantages a security expert has over an internal IT team. They also have the training, experience, time, and resources that would be impossible to lump in with a standard IT program.
Segmenting your resources
While your general IT specialists have a broad understanding of your cyber-landscape, security experts provide a depth of knowledge that is constantly updated with the latest malware and vulnerabilities. IT teams are responsible for the in-house, day-to-day tasks that keep your network running and your company connected. They simply don’t have the time to research, monitor, and test your systems while also keeping them functional. Even if your IT personnel has some security training, tasking them with general IT as well as security management will slow down development in both sectors. It is important to segment your resources so the jobs that need to be done are getting the necessary attention.
Value of a security team
A mature security program is made up of a blue team that plays offense on your system and a red team that attacks it. Blue teams monitor your network to identify and stop attacks while red teams pull every trick in the book that could bring that network down. The benefit of the red team is that they have no skin in the game. They can test every possible exploitation without worrying about mending the vulnerabilities. Similarly, the blue team is provided with a list of risks and works solely on finding solutions.
Simply put, security specialists know where to look. They have the experience, certification, and perspective to find vulnerabilities. They are separated from network maintenance and configuration in a way that allows them to find issues that may be hiding in plain sight. Outdated versions of software, permissions creep, and patch management are problems that often go unnoticed and leave dangerous security gaps in an otherwise operative system. Experts can identify these areas of weakness, detail the risks, and break down actionable recommendations for securing your network.
Security programs and small organizations
Larger companies will hire several people and spend tens of thousands of dollars per year on maintaining their cybersecurity, but even a small investment in cybersecurity can drastically reduce the threat of network compromise. Small networks can have major vulnerabilities, so be proactive! Incorporating a security perspective in the initial phases of network configuration will prevent costly vulnerabilities from getting buried in the system. No matter the size, all externally-facing systems are prone to attack. Talk with an expert to decide which risks are worth investment and take action before a vulnerability becomes a breach.
Security engineers come in a variety of specialties, their knowledge is an inch wide and a mile deep. Enlisting the help of a cybersecurity firm is a good way to cover every facet of cybersecurity without staffing a whole internal crew of experts. A full-service firm can also help you get started during the tricky initial phase. An auditor will help you develop a risk registry to identify and prioritize areas of concern. Then you can make an informed decision about moving forward with a vulnerability assessment, penetration test, or full Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) program.
IT staff are invaluable to growing and maintaining connections between your team and your clients, but it is impossible for them to provide both structure and defense of a functioning network. Cybersecurity is a complicated and continuously evolving field. Malicious hackers are determined to exploit vulnerabilities and infiltrate weak environments. Security engineers are experts dedicated to defending against attacks. It is imperative that organizations of any size and maturity level are protected, for the sake of their business, employees, and clients.