In the wake of major attacks like SolarWinds and Codecov, it is clear that prioritizing security across your entire organization has never been more critical and that all eyes are on security teams to ramp up measures to protect sensitive data. Without a doubt, we are living in a data-driven society of globalizing economies, constant data transfer and ubiquitous access to everything from everywhere.
Data is like water — it is rising all around us and flows not only through our organizations, but between both companies and vendors, as well as consumers and their devices. In today’s hybrid work environment, data is continuously flowing and widely shared, causing supply chain weaknesses to become an increasing liability to organizations.
To bolster the success of your organization’s security strategy, devising a detailed communications plan will improve the way information is shared internally and externally, foster trust with your customers, and help your team stay ahead of evolving threats. With this, I’ve outlined considerations to keep in mind when devising a successful communications strategy that underpins your organization’s security practices and reaches key stakeholders where they are.
Start from the Inside Out — Assess Your Current Systems from Top to Bottom
First, it is essential to take stock of current systems and security measures. Because an organization is made up of people, you need to start by ensuring that collaboration and shared data is secured. For employees working from home, and with bring your own device (BYOD) policies, identity is the new perimeter. You must remove assumptions and remember that employees and the people we know may be our weakest links, even if unintentionally.
For example, implementing a zero trust architecture provides an opportunity to mitigate some of the risk of lateral movements and cross-supply chain issues. When you gain deeper insight into current security measures and where vulnerabilities may lie, your team can better define external messaging to stay one step ahead of potential threats.
Ignorance is not Bliss in Security
Next, it’s critical to establish a clear vulnerability reporting policy for your customers, to communicate associated risks and protocols in case of an exploitable vulnerability that must be addressed. Providing proactive communications that assess and report your platform’s vulnerabilities creates transparency with your customer community and helps establish a higher level of information security. Giving customers straightforward guidelines to report security vulnerabilities not only helps identify and track areas of risk, but also furthers your organization’s commitment to security for customers.
Outside of content that communicates policies or responds to threats, it’s important to weave in content that touches on best practices and relevant security topics. Whether this comes in the form of blog posts, podcasts, or whitepapers — producing original content to have your organization’s message heard is key to supporting your overarching communications strategy.
Establish Trust with Public Sector Customers
When designing a communications strategy, it’s critical to consider both customer and external stakeholder needs. To inspire trust and confidence, make sure your organization is meeting contractual, regulatory and statutory obligations. As a software vendor, prioritizing certifications like FedRAMP, ISO, CSA, and SOC II provide third-party reviews that demonstrate commitment to your security practice. Although they are rigorous processes, these authorizations establish confidence in your solutions and ensure that they are up-to-speed when it comes to meeting more stringent federal standards.
Additionally, in the wake of President Biden’s executive order, your organization should consider developing a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). Including this as part of your communications strategy not only helps prevent the destructive consequences of undetected vulnerabilities, supply chain and data loss, but also goes one step further in ensuring that your solutions are secure and compliant for the public sector.
With cyber threats and intelligent hackers evolving every day, now is the time to improve how your organization interacts with your customer community and stakeholders surrounding these issues. With the average data breach costing an organization around $4.35 Million in 2022, these threats are not only detrimental to customers’ sensitive data but can cost your organization its reputation.
Moving forward, shaping up your security communications strategy not only helps control how key information is shared, but establishes critical trust with customers amidst a challenging security landscape. Not sure where to begin when it comes to building an external communication strategy? Your team can start by ensuring that content and messaging abides by the “three C’s” of communications — clear, concise and consistent. Proactively establishing digestible and cohesive messaging that is carried throughout your content ensures that key ideas are heard loud and clear.
As external stakeholders demand more information and insight into your organization’s security practices and protocols, a comprehensive security communications strategy must be implemented. Devising a detailed communications plan will improve how information is shared, foster trust with your customers, and help your team stay ahead of evolving threats.