Some of the silliest cybersecurity strategies

We all make mistakes but some cybersecurity decisions and/or strategies are just downright silly. They are of course dangerous as well. Here are some of the silliest ones I have encountered.

Cloud security – relying on some automagical security posture simply because you have digitally transformed to a specific cloud provider is just ___ (you fill in the blank). I have actually been told, with a straight face, “we are protected because we are hosting on cloud provider X”. Silly strategy.

Lack of incident means we are safe – some executives take the lack of incidents as the impetus to not have to invest in cybersecurity. So the strategy is purely reactive, their goal is to save money until there is an incident (material or otherwise). Then of course they will be mortified when something bad happens. Silliness.

Cyber-Insurance – having insurance in no way makes an organization secure, not even close. Not worrying about some negatively impacting event because one has insurance coverage is just ___ (again, you fill in the blank). So the notion of transferring risk (as if that is even a real possibility) rather than addressing it is ….. silly.

Reliance on tools – deploying even the best tools, does not mean a “set it and forget it” approach will make them successful. Assuming security is easy because products and/or tools will handle everything is a silly strategy.

Reliance on THE tool – there is of course security by obscurity, but this is security by marketing. Some sales people are very good and of course their one product can solve all of your security issues. Actually believing that one specific tool can solve even a large portion of security issues within a mature/developed ecosystem is silly.

Obscurity – security by obscurity has been a “thing” for a long time. History has proven that this approach hardly ever works. But it is inexpensive and easier to pursue than building proper security controls. And some people out there underestimate the intelligence of the attackers we face on a regular basis. And no, the fact that you may be a small company means nothing to a cyber criminal. Trying to fly under the attackers radar, or assuming your obscure methods will outsmart them, are both silly strategies.

Ignoring it – one just can’t ignore security problems and hope they don’t become real. Hope is not a strategy, or at least it’s a silly one.

We will come back to that – this just never seems to happen. The notion of coming back to something problematic, at some future time, and “tightening things up” is just ___ (once again, you fill in the blank). Ignoring something you are aware of is downright irresponsible and of course, silly.

Assuming the vendor has you covered – assuming that a vendor does security right is off the mark on many levels. Products often get delivered and/or deployed with horrible security configurations (and plenty of easily guessed default credentials) all the time. This is yet another silly strategy.

Compliance equals secure – regulatory compliance does not equate to being secure or protected. Having a ISO-27001 certificate, and a SOC-2 Type 2 report, and a host of any other related compliance credentials, is not going to stop an attacker from being successful. Relying on looking good on some piece of paper is …. silly.

As a cybersecurity leader you must steer things towards a long term, sensible strategy. The foundation of this strategy should take into account all of the silliness I just wrote about. Otherwise, failure is inevitable.