IT

Your IT Department is NOT your Cybersecurity Team

So, you’ve got yourself a head of IT and they can do it all! You hired the best of the best. They can manage your cloud infrastructure, setup and administer all your company laptops, secure your wired and wireless networks, and even figured out a way to get that ancient printer/copier onto the network for everyone to use. The corporate space has long heralded the prodigious “IT Person’ as the crown jewel of all things computer and technology. However, as technology has advanced, companies have started leveraging more and more of these incredible advancements. From fully cloud-based infrastructure and virtualization to advanced digital communications and collaboration tools, the venerable ‘IT Person’ has never had a plate so full. On top of all that, many of these companies have made the frankly naïve and ultimately costly mistake of handing cybersecurity responsibilities to that very same ‘IT Person’. 

Anyone in the cybersecurity space will tell you the same thing: cybersecurity may be IT, but IT is NOT necessarily cybersecurity. Having someone( or better yet a team of people) with specialized knowledge and focus is absolutely vital to survival in the sea of never-ending cyber threats. One of the best places to start is with a Security Engineer. The job of a Security Engineer is to be able to understand the organization as a whole, including its culture, technology, data assets and liabilities, and leverage that understanding to deeply integrate low friction, seamless security controls around information systems within the organization’s existing structure. The key here is the deep integration, and low friction. A proper engineer is able to provide what your ‘IT Person’ just doesn’t have the specialized skills to deliver. Anyone can set astronomically high password requirements, turn off permissions for important systems unless requested, and set up a messy and slow VPN connection that employees are required to use. But all of those things are perfect examples of high friction systems that lead to constant pushback from employees, and constant holes to plug as people find a way around these frustrating restrictions. A Security Engineer has the skills necessary to build systems that work WITH your organization and its structure to make your workflows more secure, while remaining as low friction as possible. This big picture approach will ultimately lead to better buy-in from employees, which in turn leads to dramatically more secure infrastructure. 

While a Security Engineer is a strong and effective role to fill, it is undoubtedly aspirational for most smaller organizations. It would be entirely unrealistic to say every company has a need or the resources to house an expensive employee focused solely on security. So what about everyone else? Enter the IT Security Specialist. You could reasonably think of this role as something along the lines of a Jr. Security Engineer. This is a role that strives to achieve many of the same goals as a Security Engineer, but perhaps with a few years less experience, and a few less certifications under their belt. However, there is one thing the IT Security Specialist has that makes it a fantastic role for most companies to start with: hands-on IT experience. The IT Security Specialist is designed to work side-by-side with your existing IT operations. By bringing specialized, security focused insights and strategies, as well as the ability to implement those strategies, you’re able to alleviate additional burden on the already famously thin-stretched IT department. This should bring a ‘security first’ mindset into the organization.

So we’ve covered the entry points of small and medium organizations, but say you’ve just signed a handful of your biggest clients yet, and have major expansions planned over the next few years. An IT Security Specialist isn’t going to cut it, and a Security Engineer or two seems nice, but some of these big partnerships have some massive security requirements, including high level management focused on protecting their data. What are you supposed to do? This is exactly where a CISO, or a Chief Information Security Officer, is designed to fit in. Most simply described as the head of all things security, you are committing to establishing an entire division of your organization to the quality, strength, and importance of data privacy and security. A CISO can report directly to the CEO, or to a separate CIO (Chief Information Officer); however, comparing the two roles is an entire conversation in and of itself. From developing and managing security programs like company wide training to implementing network monitoring systems and incident response teams, a CISO is the one responsible for making all these things happen without burdening the CEO or other key areas of the organization. This is a great way to show potential clients, partners, or even investors that you are deeply committed to your organization’s security infrastructure. This shows that they can trust you to take every precaution necessary to protect their data, as well as brand reputation from the devastating consequences of a data breach.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cybersecurity infrastructure, one thing is abundantly clear for organizations of all sizes: your magical, wonderful, and altogether impressive ‘IT Person’ should not shoulder the burden of your cybersecurity infrastructure. With the incredible complexity in which modern organizations operate such as remote cloud infrastructure, nested virtualized networking, and fully digital, internet connected communication and data storage systems, IT has enough on their hands as it is. Specialization is what today’s cybersecurity programs demand. With a seemingly endless stream of new threats and the escalating consequences they bring with them, falling behind is not an option.

Is your business looking for a certified partner to assist your “IT Department”? CyberData Pros has many years of experience in IT, data privacy, and cybersecurity to make sure your business is secure. Contact us now for a free consultation and to learn more about our services.

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