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The 3 Pillars of Cybersecurity: People, Process, and Technology

Some organizations build their cyber defenses by acquiring best-in-class technology, but their security team lacks the staffing or knowledge to fully implement it.

Other companies hire the brightest minds in the security industry. But without strategic processes in place, they fail to fully leverage the team.

In other cases, teams are laser-focused on superb policies and processes, but are missing the advanced technology to carry them out.

In each of these scenarios, cyber defenses are like a two-legged stool, unable to bear the full weight of an organization’s security requirements. For this reason, many organizations look to managed services partners to provide a more stable and balanced cybersecurity platform to protect their operations.

“People, process, and technology” have long been cited as the three pillars of IT, and the same principle applies to cybersecurity.

People as a Cybersecurity Pillar

The people part of the three pillars includes the following:

  • Security awareness and training for all users
  • Adequately skilled members of the security team
  • Sufficient staffing for 24x7x365 cybersecurity coverage

Process as a Cybersecurity Pillar

The process part of the three pillars includes:

  • Appropriate policies and management systems
  • The use of proven frameworks like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • Planning, performing audits, and reporting on audit findings

Technology as a Cybersecurity Pillar

Maximizing the technology pillar within cybersecurity involves having the right people and processes and integrating those two pillars with items such as:

  • Systems in place to mirror your security policies and risk appetite
  • Mature AI-powered solutions that can stop attacks before they start 
  • Appropriate mix of in-house security — and outsourced managed services — based on staff size and skillsets

Graphic: People, Process and Technology in Cybersecurity.
 

While it’s easy to say that a program is well-balanced between these three pillars, it is not so easily achieved. Too often, organizations lack a strong foundation in all three, and the resulting imbalance makes them an easier target for threat actors.

And these imbalances can appear within security teams of all scopes and sizes.

Cybersecurity Challenges for Organizations With Big Security Budgets

Some enterprise organizations have adequate budgets to maintain their own security operations center (SOC) or SecOps, and choose to deploy and maintain multiple point solutions, each designed to address a specific threat.

The challenges for these security teams include mounting labor costs, multiplatform complexity, and “alert fatigue” from triaging endless security alerts from so many solutions. Recent research reveals that 83% of security professionals suffer from alert fatigue, and struggle with managing alerts alongside their other priorities. If left unaddressed, this increases employee burnout and turnover. The burden of training also grows in this scenario.

Cybersecurity Challenges for Organizations with Small Security Budgets

On the other hand, smaller organizations often cannot afford to hire or retain highly skilled talent, and many are also unable to maintain their own SOC, as the cybersecurity skills gap leaves them without the necessary internal expertise. As a result, we often discover that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) —and mid-market firms — underutilize the security tools they have because small teams lack the bandwidth to take advantage of all these solutions offer. This is part of why experts say SMBs represent “soft targets,” potentially attracting the attention of criminal and nation-state actors, and placing their organizations at risk of damaging and potentially business-ending data breaches. 

Cybersecurity Challenges for Teams of All Sizes

There are additional challenges security teams face regardless of organizational size or budget. Many have incomplete or poorly defined cybersecurity strategies, and may lack cohesive processes for investigating, detecting, and mitigating threats. They might believe that their deployed technology will protect them, but if the people and process pillars are out of balance, it limits their ability to correlate and act on the telemetry from their existing tools and technology.

Balancing the Three Pillars of Cybersecurity

What can organizations do to overcome these challenges, in the face of a continually evolving threat landscape, and with limited resources corresponding to any of these pillars? How can security teams ensure that they have full visibility into their ecosystem, and the capacity to respond to any threats they encounter? Many organizations find that security services provide the bridge — the critical link from where they are today, to where they need to be.

Let’s look at one example where this approach can successfully bring people, process, and technology together, to deliver on all three pillars of cybersecurity and produce the desired business outcomes.

Security Services Case Study: Managed XDR

A growing number of organizations are seeking to adopt an XDR (extended detection and response) security model to reduce risk and prevent attacks, and when necessary, respond to and remediate advanced cyberattacks.

XDR is a unified cybersecurity approach that collects and analyzes data from multiple sources to improve visibility and security controls across the enterprise. Think of it as an expansion of existing endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities. 

A growing number of organizations are adopting XDR to improve their security posture. However, companies seeking to deploy XDR technologies and processes often discover that maximizing the benefits of this approach — balancing and solidifying all three pillars of cybersecurity — remains out of reach. This is because XDR currently takes significant resources — including people and money — to fully implement as a stand-alone business.

Detailed analysis from the BlackBerry Managed XDR Buyer's Guide.
 
In addition to significant cost savings, a recent Foundry MarketPulse survey conducted for BlackBerry found that managed services — such as managed XDR — deliver a wide scope of experienced benefits. See the chart below for how IT and cybersecurity decision-makers say they benefitted from implementing managed services.
 
Foundry MarketPulse report example on Managed Security Services Expectations and Experience.
 

People, Process, Technology in Cybersecurity

Weakness in any of the three pillars — people, process, or technology — can jeopardize your cybersecurity capabilities and increase risk to the organization. An increasing number of organizations of all sizes are turning to managed XDR solutions to strengthen all three cybersecurity pillars, thus reducing the risk of a successful cyberattack affecting or interfering with the organization’s operations and business goals.

Learn more about choosing a managed XDR solution in the Managed XDR Buyer’s Guide.

BlackBerry Managed XDR Services

BlackBerry offers CylanceGUARD®, a subscription-based 24x7x365 managed XDR service that brings people, processes, and technology together into a single, consolidated solution. It combines cutting-edge artificial intelligence with expert analysis to proactively hunt down and eradicate threats wherever they appear, extending your team and security stack. And it achieves all of this at a fraction of what it costs to build similar capabilities in-house.

Tamarian Del Conte

About Tamarian Del Conte

Tamarian Del Conte is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at BlackBerry.