The cyber risk landscape is evolving. Novel attack types are appearing at an unprecedented rate. Cyber criminals are constantly seeking new ways to infiltrate networks, paralyze systems, steal data and drive their own financial gains.

As organizations race to keep up with emerging threats, it’s all-too-common for security leaders to ignore the growing technical debt within cyber security infrastructure.

Technical debt refers to the implied cost of not holding software and technological devices to certain standards. Failure to address cyber security technical debt can result in vulnerabilities and operational inefficiencies.

The longer that the debt remains unaddressed, the greater the risks to organizations. Check out these seven actionable ways in which you can reduce cyber security technical debt. Proactively addressing the issue will improve your overall cyber security posture.

7 tips for tackling cyber security technical debt

1. Conduct regular security assessments. Regular security assessments can assist organizations in identifying and remediating technical debt issues before they become a problem.

2. Prioritize technical debt remediation. Create a prioritized list of technical debt items that need to be addressed. Prioritization should be based on risk and impact.

3. Establish a technical debt reduction plan. Develop a way to reduce technical debt. Include timelines, budgets and required resources within the plan. The plan should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant.

4. Implement automated security tools. Automated security tools can help organizations identify, prioritize and streamline remediation efforts for technical debt issues.

5. Monitor and update third-party software. Using outdated and unsupported third-party software can increase the risk of security vulnerabilities, which can lead to technical debt issues.

6. Implement secure coding practices. Hold developers to established coding standards, conduct code reviews, and test code for security vulnerabilities. By implementing secure coding practices, businesses can reduce the number of security issues introduced into software during the development process.

7. Collaborate with other departments. Work with the IT and software development teams to manage technical debt in a holistic way. Technical debt can accumulate due to poor software design, architecture or development practices. By working together, cyber security professionals can address technical debt issues at their source, rather than merely addressing symptoms.

Other steps to take

Foster a culture of security. A security-conscious culture helps reduce the probability that technical debt issues will arise in the first place.

In addition, ensure that you and your team are informed about the latest threats and vulnerabilities, enabling your staff to address new technical debt issues as they arise.

Further thoughts

As noted previously, the longer the duration of time for which technical debt goes unaddressed, the greater the risks to an organization. However, by implementing the strategies outlined above, cyber security leaders can proactively manage security technical debt and limit its impact on the organization as a whole.

For more actionable cyber security insights, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverageWant to stay up-to-date with trends in technology? Check out the CyberTalk.org newsletter. Sign up today to receive top-notch news articles, best practices and expert analyses; delivered straight to your inbox.