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Updated: Aug 14, 2023   |  

The Urgent Need for a Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity: People, Process, and Technology

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The United States government is reportedly struggling with a shortage of cybersecurity experts. With a whopping 700,000 job openings in the field, it shouldn’t be a surprise they can't find enough talented individuals to protect their critical infrastructure and federal networks from cyber threats.

During a June 22 Homeland Security hearing on cybersecurity and infrastructure, representatives and witnesses painted a picture of the state of cybersecurity talent. They expressed their concerns about not having enough skilled individuals to protect critical infrastructure and federal networks from cyber threats.

We don’t have to look hard to find examples of this:

  • A study conducted by researchers at University of California San Diego Health Center highlights the consequences of cyberattacks on hospitals and argues that such attacks should be considered regional disasters. The researchers examined the impact of a single attack on a broader scale. Attackers took over the entire computer network of nearby Scripps Health, significantly impacting the hospital’s ability to deliver patient care. This caused a spike in patients that overwhelmed the capacity of nearby University of California San Diego Health Center.
  • All industries are potential targets, and things are just going to get worse for some, as evident by Suncor Energy confirming it was hit by a cyberattack but was as yet “unaware of their data being compromised or misused.” Experts predict that the cyber attack will likely ultimately cost the company millions of dollars.

While there is a talent shortage, and agreement that the rise and impact of attacks will continue to grow, throwing more people at a problem is never the best nor the only option. Moreover, this cybersecurity skills gap has been discussed for years, with minimal improvements. Organizations need to take steps today to address this by investing holistically in security, across people, process, and technology rather than wait for the workforce to expand.

The Human Element

Technological advancements play a critical role in cybersecurity, but organizations must also recognize that people are an integral part of the equation. Cybersecurity awareness and education programs are essential for building a strong human defense against cyber threats. By investing in continuous training and awareness initiatives, organizations can empower their employees to identify and respond to potential threats promptly.

Employee training should cover topics such as phishing awareness, password hygiene, social engineering tactics, and safe browsing practices. By fostering a security-conscious culture, organizations can create an environment where everyone takes responsibility for safeguarding sensitive information and adhering to cybersecurity best practices. This increased awareness will reduce, but not eliminate the burden on cybersecurity teams.

Establishing a Framework

Effective and efficient cybersecurity requires well-defined processes and procedures. Establishing a robust framework enables organizations to detect, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents efficiently. Key aspects to consider include incident response, risk management, compliance and regulations, and continuous monitoring.

Which framework an organization chooses to follow is a function of industry, cybersecurity maturity level, business model, and resources. The only wrong choice is no choice, whether NIST, COBIT, PCI-DSS, ISO, CIS or homegrown, each will help establish and define the rules. When organizations are running with lean teams, having an established framework can boost efficiency by eliminating duplication of efforts or gaps and save the time of building something when that work has already been done.

Enabling Security Measures

While people and processes are fundamental, the role of technology in cybersecurity is pivotal, serving as the backbone that provides the tools, systems, and infrastructure necessary to protect digital assets and combat the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. In an era where organizations increasingly rely on digital platforms, technology acts as a critical enabler, empowering businesses to defend against malicious actors and safeguard sensitive information.

Implementing point solutions alone is not enough, they must integrate with the existing security stack and business operations. This integration is crucial to achieve a holistic and efficient security posture. It enables comprehensive threat detection, centralized monitoring and management, enhanced incident response, threat intelligence sharing, workflow efficiency and automation, scalability, flexibility, and cost optimization. By working together, integrated solutions provide stronger defense capabilities and help organizations stay resilient against evolving cyber threats.


Addressing cybersecurity challenges requires a holistic approach that encompasses people, process, and technology. By investing in security talent, employee training, establishing robust processes, and leveraging technology, organizations can enhance their security posture and better mitigate cyber threats. While technology continues to evolve, human vigilance, well-defined processes, and up-to-date security measures remain the foundation of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.


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