In today's digital landscape, the prevalence of cybersecurity threats is ever-present and the frequency of cyber attacks continues to rise steadily each year. Concurrently, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the risks posed by cybersecurity breaches and are demanding higher performance standards from the companies they engage with. Regulators are also standing up and taking notice of concerns expressed by consumers and responding by imposing harsher regulations to safeguard data privacy.
Given these circumstances and others, the significance of a robust cybersecurity architecture has never been more acute. Cybersecurity architecture, in a nutshell, centers around designing systems that guarantee the confidentiality and integrity of a company’s data. In essence, it forms the foundation of an entity’s defence against cyber threats.
As an integral part of a business’s overall security architecture, cybersecurity architecture is typically crafted using a cybersecurity architectural framework. This framework establishes the structure, standards, policies, and functional behaviour of a computer network, encompassing both security measures and network features.
A well-defined framework enables companies to identify security risks and strategically position security controls to mitigate them. It also illustrates the interplay between security controls and the overall business objectives. Ideally, a cybersecurity architecture framework should enable business’s to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data within the context of their business operations.
To effectively address the continuously evolving cyber threat landscape, a cybersecurity architecture framework should be both flexible and adaptable, and should encompass three key elements, namely procedural and policy-related elements; standards and frameworks; and security and network elements.
The vast majority of businesses have at least some cybersecurity measures in place, such as firewalls, antivirus programs, and intrusion detection systems, and a comprehensive cybersecurity architecture will integrate these components to optimise their effectiveness alongside established policies and procedures. However, it's important to note that firewalls, antivirus programs, and intrusion detection systems primarily focus on external threats, and are inadequate in today's threat environment, where the traditional perimeter has dissolved, thanks to distributed workforces.
Importantly, while businesses can and should independently enhance their network security systems, many lack the requisite technologies to do so effectively, which is why many forward-thinking businesses are thinking about hiring a cybersecurity architect. A cybersecurity architect is a skilled professional who assists in anticipating potential cyber threats, as well as devising and implementing the structures and systems needed to prevent them.
Alina Tan, associate principal enterprise security architect at a global manufacturing company, believes there are several problematic areas in cybersecurity that businesses face. “As cyber threats grow increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect, bad actors are consistently developing new, innovative techniques to slip through the security nets and steal sensitive data.”
Moreover, she says many businesses today, also have complex environments such as a convergence of IT and OT networks, complex interconnected systems, applications, and devices. The complexity that arises from these environments makes it challenging to identify stakeholders and system owners to address vulnerabilities, as well as resolve potential security gaps. “Stakeholders in the business may also face difficulties in fully comprehending the nature of cybersecurity threats and their associated risks, which could hamper their ability to understand the potential impact of these threats on the business.”
Alina adds that certain industries are subjected to strict cybersecurity regulations and compliance requirements and will require an architect with extensive knowledge of the regulations to design and implement effective cybersecurity measures and controls. “Therefore businesses need cybersecurity architects who have the necessary expertise when it comes to identifying and assessing potential cybersecurity risks, threats, and vulnerabilities, and who can design and implement security solutions to mitigate those risks.”
She says cybersecurity architects also play a crucial role in developing security blueprints to ensure that businesses have robust and effective cybersecurity measures in place to protect against attacks, data breaches, and other cybersecurity events. “By taking a holistic approach to cybersecurity, these professionals can help businesses reduce their exposure to cybersecurity risks and improve their overall security posture.”
For business across the board, hiring a cybersecurity architect is an optimal approach to identifying system vulnerabilities and promptly remediating them.