Cybersecurity is a necessity in the ever-evolving technology space. As you use technology to lead a more secure and convenient life, you have to protect your systems against cyber attacks.
An attacker can go to any lengths to execute a cyberattack, leaving you with severe damages.
You need to have a security strategy on the ground to protect your systems from people with malicious intentions. Reactive and proactive security are the two major strategies in cybersecurity; in this article, you’ll find out which of these is more effective for your needs.
What Is Reactive Security?
Reactive security is the process of checking and responding to threats that arise within your system. Considered a basic security measure, it focuses on building defenses against known cybersecurity risks and taking measures to resist these.
Reactive security takes a traditional approach: you don’t fix what isn’t broken. There is no cause for alarm until something is detected to be amiss.
Adopting reactive security makes sense in some areas, especially when you are dealing with low-hanging fruits. The time it takes attackers to break into your system and destroy things is longer than the time required to detect an intrusion. If you are fast enough, you can stop them before they succeed.
But the same can’t be said about other areas of cybersecurity. And this questions the effectiveness of a reactive security approach, especially with various kinds of hackers that you must be aware of.
To get the best results, reactive security should be a part of your security efforts—but not the only one.
Effective Reactive Security Measures to Implement
Despite the shortcomings of reactive security, it has proven to be effective in certain situations. The onus is on you to identify when to make the call.
Let’s take a look at some effective reactive security measures that you can implement.
1. Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability assessment is an in-depth evaluation of a system to detect its weaknesses and proffer a solution. The systematic approach involves four steps namely security testing or vulnerability identification, vulnerability analysis, risk assessment, and remediation.
Vulnerability assessments are considered both a reactive and proactive security strategy but leans more toward the reactive due to its focus on existing vulnerabilities.
2. Disaster Recovery Plan
The disaster recovery plan explains itself. It involves a series of measures and policies that you can implement after a cyberattack to mitigate damages.
An effective disaster recovery plan includes the identification of critical digital assets, information on the cybercrime insurance or general insurance coverage, a comprehensive list of the organization’s resources, a strategy for handling media and legal issues, emergency response actions, and so on.
3. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
Endpoint detection and response (EDR) evaluates the entire IT environment and life circle of an organization. It brings vital information about the threat to the fore, such as how the threat was able to bypass existing protective measures, its behavior in the system, and how to stop the threat.
The key elements of EDR include alert triage, security incident investigation, suspicious activity detection, and restricting any malicious activity detected.
4. Incident Response
The incident response aims to contain the aftermath of a security breach to prevent it from escalating into more damaging consequences. You have to create procedures and policies to help you manage the attack and stop it completely.
An incident response plan involves six stages:
- Detection of malicious activity.
- Containing the threat.
- Identification of the attack vector.
- Lessons learned.
What Is Proactive Security?
Proactive security prevents attacks from happening. Unlike reactive security that focuses on threats that have already found their way into your network, proactive security corrects any vulnerability that makes your network susceptible to attacks before cybercriminals exploit them to get into your network.
The proactive security approach foresees possible attacks before they happen. As a result of this, you can prevent data breaches and other cybersecurity attacks beforehand.
Proactive security focuses on indicators of attack (IoA) and keeps watch on the entire network and its processes. Instead of waiting for an attack to occur first, it puts up a resistance against it.
Effective Proactive Security Measures to Implement
The commotion in the event of a cybersecurity attack sometimes makes it difficult to handle the situation effectively. Adopting proactive security helps you to prevent such a difficult situation. You have ample time to plan and execute your security approach.
Let’s take a look a look at some effective proactive security measures you can implement.
1. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Unauthorized data access is a common activity in cyberattacks. If you can prevent hackers from accessing your data, you are halfway secure.
data loss prevention (DLP) offers several processes, procedures, and tools that help you to prevent data loss caused by unauthorized access. The system classifies sensitive data and monitors how they are used and transferred from one party to another.
Once a strange activity such as the transfer of data to an external device is detected, it swings into action to prevent any threats.
2. Penetration Testing
Also known as penetesting, penetration testing is an ethical hacking practice where you act like a hacker to gain unauthorized access into your system to find loopholes or vulnerabilities that may exist. On that note, it’s worth remembering that ethical hacking is legal.
Penetration testing is done in a controlled environment. As an attacker, you thoroughly check the targeted system, looking for the smallest opportunity to gain access. If any loophole exists, you get them fixed. That way, there would be no room for an actual attacker to gain unauthorized access to your network.
3. Nurturing Cybersecurity Culture
Investing in cybersecurity tools to secure your network is a step in the right direction. But a gap exists if your employees don’t have good cybersecurity culture.
The majority of security breaches are triggered by human error. You have to create awareness about cybersecurity practices among your team members so they know what to do.
For instance, employees should be educated to have different passwords for different accounts, protect their passwords, and not click on suspicious links. When everyone on your team doesn’t drop the ball regarding your network security, you are one step ahead of preventing attacks.
4. Attack Surface Management
Your organization’s attack surface consists of vital digital assets including domains, subdomains, open databases, open ports, servers, SSL certificates, third-party vendors, etc. Having these assets clustered limits how you control and manage them.
An attack surface management helps you keep all your digital assets in one fold so you can continuously identify, classify, prioritize and manage them effectively. It gives you a view of their attack vector, attack surface components, and cyber exposure. With this knowledge, you can protect your system against any attacks.
Adopting a Complete Security Approach
Securing your network is a continuous process as attackers are constantly seeking new methods of cyberattacks. Give them a rude shock by adopting both reactive and proactive security methods where needed in your organization.
With both approaches in place, there’ll be no room for attackers to break into your network.
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