We are officially midway through 2023, and it is crucial for businesses to pause and reflect on their cyber security goals and strategies.

By prioritising the security of their digital assets and revising procedures, organisations can fortify their defences, mitigate risks, and ensure the continued protection of their sensitive data. The significance of reviewing cyber security goals and strategies at the start of the new financial year can’t be overstated when cyber crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Staying ahead of evolving threats:

Cyber threats are not stagnant; they are constantly evolving. Threat actors are continuously developing new techniques, malware, and vulnerabilities to exploit. By reviewing cyber security goals and strategies at the start of the financial year, organisations can proactively address emerging threats.

Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment enables businesses to identify potential weaknesses in their existing security measures and implement updated countermeasures to combat the latest cyber risks.  

The best way to begin is to understand what you are protecting – an inventory of your systems, who has access to information and hardware is a good start. Then using a matrix for risk assessment using that list – what is likely? What is high impact?

For example an employees phone being lost might be highly likely but only a moderate impact if it can be remotely deleted.

Aligning with organisational changes:

Make sure you have room to grow, and scale your security posture, your change management or transformation team should be mandatory participants in your cyber response team. Organisations undergo changes as they grow and evolve.  

New departments, employees, technologies, and partnerships may be added, while others may be restructured or phased out. Each change affects the cyber security Incident Response Plan (IRP), requiring adjustments to be made to the overall security strategy and even your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). By conducting a review whenever there is key structural change, organisations can align their cyber security goals and strategies with the current state of the business.  

Adapting to regulatory updates:

Depending on your industry and region, organisations must remain compliant with relevant laws and regulations. The new financial year often brings forth updates and revisions to data privacy and cyber security regulations. In Australia, we use The Privacy Act as the basis of our cyber security posture, but specific laws are coming into effect very soon.

Organisations need to review their security goals and strategies to ensure compliance with any new requirements. This could also include staff training in awareness – which is a great start, but the culture of security should be built in, especially where mandatory reporting of breaches is concerned.  

By staying up-to-date and proactively adapting their cyber security measures, organisations can minimise legal risks, reputational damage, and potential financial penalties associated with non-compliance.

Assessing technological advancements:

Advancing technology is a great opportunity for organisations. However, with each innovation comes new security challenges. Whether it's cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, or artificial intelligence (AI), organisations must understand the potential risks and implications of adopting new technologies. By conducting a thorough evaluation, businesses can implement appropriate security measures to safeguard their digital infrastructure and leverage technology safely and efficiently.

Engaging employees:

Employees play a critical role in maintaining effective cyber security practices. Regular training and awareness programs are essential to cultivate a security-conscious workforce. When did you last review employee training and awareness initiatives?

Assess the effectiveness of the existing programs, identify knowledge gaps, and develop new strategies to foster a cyber security culture within the workplace.

Leadership should reinforce the importance of cyber security awareness and ensure that employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to protect company assets.

In the ever-changing cyber security landscape, reviewing goals and strategies at the start of the new financial year should be top of mind.

Investing time and resources in reviewing and enhancing cyber security measures enables companies to build a robust security framework that safeguards their digital assets, strengthens customer trust, and ensures long-term success in our interconnected world.