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Proactive Vs. Reactive Cybersecurity Strategies: Why It Pays To Be Prepared

People who invest in cybersecurity recognise the value of that investment more often. This means that most people only adopt digital safety measures after learning the actual importance of cybersecurity. And chances are they only learn after they’ve been hit with a cyber attack.

Cyber strategists call this a reactive security strategy, and it’s too often a cause of major strife and concern for companies globally. The alternative is to be proactive. It involves preparing safety measures and anti-malware protection to defend against threats online. It’s better to have an anti-malware program taking up storage on your computer than a bloated piece of malware.

Here are a few more insights into the difference between proactive and reactive cybersecurity strategies and why it pays to be prepared for the digital dangers surrounding us.

The risks of a reactive approach

If you like to play it digitally dangerous, you’re banking on two things. First, hackers are disinterested in targeting you. Secondly, you can avoid phishing attacks and malware. Neither of these is a safe bet, especially since cyber attacks are evolving by the second.

Cyber crimes have become so rampant that an enormous $265 billion is expected to be lost to ransomware extortion alone by 2031. Even if you save money by maintaining a reactive approach, the costs of responding to a cyber attack may greatly outweigh these savings.

Here are just some of the risks you face when maintaining a reactive approach to your cybersecurity:

  • Increased expenses – Third-party cybersecurity and PR specialists may need to be called in to rectify the issue. Business insurance premiums may go up.

  • Reputation risk – Customers will need to be informed about cybersecurity risks. This can damage your company’s reputation with both existing and prospective clients.

  • Business interruptions – Employees may be forced to cease work due to ongoing security risks.

  • Identity theft risk – When employee and client information is taken, hackers can use their details to commit cyber fraud or identity theft.

  • Valuable data is ransomed – Intellectual property or sensitive internal documents may leak during ransomware attacks.

But these can only occur if anti-malware measures aren’t employed. There’s time to change.

What are the benefits of a proactive approach?

Setting up a proactive cybersecurity approach is easier (and cheaper) than you may think. There are also valuable benefits to maintaining a proactive cybersecurity approach besides avoiding the negative effects of a cyber attack.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy with a proactive cybersecurity strategy:

  • Better network monitoring – Emerging or potential threats will be flagged by security software. These digital security tools can also identify weak points in your network. Learn about available solutions at Prevalent, a leading provider.

  • Reputation boost – Clients and employees will be buoyed by knowing their work and data are properly secured. 

  • Legal Compliance – You’re more likely to comply with industry regulations and international standards like ISO 27001 with a proactive cybersecurity strategy.

How to create a proactive cybersecurity strategy

Investing in malware protection is the simplest way to create your proactive cybersecurity strategy. Malware protection tools are designed to help device users detect and combat any identified threats. You can invest in malware protection for your browser (i.e., browser guards, VPNs, etc.) or even for your website (i.e., a web application firewall, SSL certification, etc.).

Here are a few practices to help you maintain a proactive approach to your cybersecurity:

  • File Encryption – Files are essentially locked in a safe by encrypting the hard drives they’re stored in. And even if that safe is stolen or lost, the data inside will be inaccessible without your encryption key.

  • Cybersecurity training – Anyone accessing your files, networks, or computers is at risk of causing a data breach. This makes cyber education a crucial investment.  With regular cyber training, you can close ‘backdoors’ for hackers and tighten the screws in your workplace.

  • Multi-factor authentication – Using only one password or passcode puts a single roadblock in a hacker’s path. Contrastingly, using mobile codes or fingerprint scans on top of passwords make systems far harder to access by unauthorised parties.

  • Risk assessment & vulnerability scanning – Third-party risk assessment services can test for vulnerabilities.

  • Installing a cybersecurity centre – Having dedicated staff and systems in place can further minimise the impact of cyber attacks.

Final words and last defences

The toothpaste won't go back into the tube, and the same saying goes when you've had a data spill.All that’s left to do is damage control. This might mean calling security experts to salvage what’s left or upgrading your systems wherever possible.

And while taking a reactive approach to cybersecurity may be cost-effective now, it can generate costly expenses down the line. And even if you pay out for a ransomware attack, you still may not get your data back. With a proactive cybersecurity strategy, you can minimise the risks of your business experiencing a cyber attack.

So long as you stay on top of your cybersecurity awareness and maintain these proactive security practices, you can provide a strong defence in the digital world.


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