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Cybersecurity is a proactive journey, not a destination

Cybersecurity continues to grab spotlight and mindshare as it pertains to computing and social trends.

The topic itself is broad and expansive, and the true impact of this segment of computing will be around for generations to come. For strong perspective on where the industry stands in its current state, ISACA’s State of Cybersecurity 2018 research is a must-read. This report provides a great assessment of what needs to happen in the cybersecurity field to move from reactive to proactive.

Challenges around cybersecurity are not new and have actually been around since the dawn of computing. However, it is now a topic that everyone talks about. It is a board topic, it is a public safety and livelihood topic, and it is a personal topic. Hitting this trifecta of impact has finally created the sense of urgency and the attention that is needed. Now, the key is that as an industry, as a country, and as a world of over 7 billion people, we need to effectively address these industry challenges to preserve the computing environment for the future.

Today, most cybersecurity efforts are focused on what is referred to as the “EMR” model of educate, monitor, and remediate. This approach is effective but is essentially like the game of “whack-a-mole,” where the core underlying risks and issues are never solved and keep popping up.

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So, how does the governing of cybersecurity become proactive?

While EMR is essential, the core foundation of a more secure and trustworthy computing experience requires being more proactive. Proactive means ongoing, real-time, continuous self-testing and self-assessment, and a laser focus on education as it pertains to best practices. This, combined with a continued evolution on the new SaaS (security-as-a-service), will help mitigate and ensure more trust in the future. Still, it will be very difficult to solve all cybersecurity challenges due to the technical debt that exists and will exist for the immediate future.

Safe and secure computing can occur with a connected, comprehensive approach to security embedded in each of the leading digital disruption levers, from the Internet of Things, to conversational artificial intelligence, to blockchain and distributed ledger technology, to wearables and mobility. Industry focus, industry standards, close adherence to best practices, and the constant ability to randomize to protect digital identities is on the horizon and needs to continue to gain acceleration.

However, first and foremost, security best practices begin at the code level. As software engineers and as an innovation industry, we must make sure this is well-executed in each and every opportunity we have.

(This post originally appeared on the ISACA blog, which can be viewed here).

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