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Defining a Security Operating Model

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for all organisations, regardless of their size or industry. With the increasing frequency and severity of cyber-attacks, it is crucial for organisations to define and implement a comprehensive cyber security operating model. This article aims to provide an overview of what a cyber security operating model is and how organisations can implement it effectively.

A cyber security operating model is a framework that outlines how an organisation will identify, assess, and mitigate cyber security threats and vulnerabilities. It should include people, processes, and technology.

The key components of a cyber security operating model are:

  • Governance: The structure and processes for managing and overseeing your company’s cyber security activities. This includes establishing a cyber security steering committee (or including this within the terms of reference of existing governance activities), assigning roles and responsibilities, and creating policies and procedures.

  • Risk management: The process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating cyber security risks to the business. This includes conducting regular risk assessments, implementing controls to mitigate identified risks, and monitoring the effectiveness of those controls.

  • Training: We are not just talking about general staff awareness and training, but role-based training too, this includes your security team and key roles across the business such as senior leaders, HR, finance and other critical functions.

  • Operations: The day-to-day activities necessary to maintain and improve your cyber security posture. This includes monitoring and analysing security logs, maintaining security systems and infrastructure, and conducting vulnerability assessments.

  • Detection and response: The processes and procedures for detecting and responding to cyber security incidents. This includes implementing incident response plans, training incident response teams, and conducting regular incident response drills and exercises. This should also include crisis management plans to manage significant cyber incidents.

  • Compliance: This includes ensuring that the organisation adheres to relevant regulatory requirements and industry best practices. This also includes how compliance will be achieved on an ongoing basis, and links to internal audit and independent assurance activities.

  • Continuous improvement: The process of continuously evaluating and improving your cyber security posture. This includes regularly assessing the company’s cyber security maturity, tracking progress over time, and incorporating feedback and lessons learned into future efforts.

Implementing a Cybersecurity Operating Model

When Implementing a cyber security operating model, organisations should consider the following steps:

  1. Define the Scope: The first step is to define the scope of the cyber security operating model. This includes identifying the critical assets, systems, and processes that require protection and understanding the key objectives of the operating model.

  2. Conduct a Risk Assessment: A risk assessment involves identifying and analysing potential cyber security risks and vulnerabilities across the organisation. This step helps organisations prioritise their cyber security efforts and allocate resources accordingly.

  3. Develop Policies and Procedures: Based on the risk assessment, organisations should develop policies and procedures that cover various aspects of cyber security, including data protection, access control, incident response, and business continuity.

  4. Implement Security Controls: Organisations should implement appropriate security controls, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software, to mitigate cyber security risks identified.

  5. Monitor and Report: Organisations should continuously monitor their cyber security posture and report to relevant stakeholders. This includes conducting regular security assessments and providing reports to the board of directors and senior management.

  6. Train Employees: Organisations should educate their employees about cyber security risks and how to avoid them. This includes conducting regular awareness training sessions and providing resources, such as guidelines and best practices, to employees. This also extends to specialist training for specific roles within the organisations, such as security analysts, developers, architects etc.

A cyber security operating model should be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of your business and should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in the threat landscape and your company’s overall business objectives and goals.

ICA Consultancy has helped companies of various sizes and industries define and implement security operating models, including helping resource the functions contained within.

Talk to us today. We can help!

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