Cybersecurity Dos and Don’ts for SLED

Jul 11, 2024

The cost of cybersecurity is ratcheting up from every angle—leaving State, Local, and Education (SLED) organizations at a loss for how to protect themselves. 

A recent webinar hosted by Splunk, Alchemy Security, and Carahsoft shed light on the unique challenges faced by SLED institutions and proposed innovative solutions to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

 

 

The webinar highlighted a concerning trend: SLED organizations are disproportionately targeted by cyber attackers, yet they often lack the resources to defend themselves effectively. Underfunding, understaffing, and outdated infrastructure contribute to a perfect storm of vulnerability.

Among the top threats identified were:

  1. Human error, particularly in higher education and public administration
  2. Cybercrime, with global costs projected at a staggering $10.5 trillion
  3. Regulatory compliance issues
  4. The increasing difficulty in obtaining cyber insurance

These factors combine to create a complex landscape where the cost of a security breach extends far beyond immediate financial losses, potentially impacting future funding and organizational reputation.

 

Developing a Defender’s Advantage

The experts emphasized the importance of a tailored approach to cybersecurity for SLED organizations. Rather than relying on one-size-fits-all solutions, institutions need to understand their specific needs and allocate their limited resources effectively.

Key recommendations included:

  1. Focusing on relevant data rather than collecting everything
  2. Implementing tools that can be customized to an organization’s unique environment
  3. Prioritizing transparency and flexibility in Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solutions

 

The Benefits of a “Boutique” MDR Experience

The webinar introduced the concept of a “boutique” MDR experience, particularly beneficial for public sector entities. This approach offers:

  1. Greater transparency in threat detection, utilizing frameworks like the MITRE ATT&CK matrix
  2. Flexibility to adapt to the specific needs and constraints of SLED organizations
  3. Cost-effectiveness by focusing on the most critical security aspects

 

Practical Demonstrations

The webinar included live demonstrations of Alchemy Security’s custom tools like Lapis and Atom, showcasing how modern cybersecurity solutions can provide granular insights and tailor protection to an organization’s specific needs. These demonstrations highlighted the importance of understanding not just the tools available, but how they can be optimized for SLED environments.

 

Towards Common Sense Cybersecurity

Perhaps the most valuable takeaway from the webinar was the emphasis on a “common sense” approach to cybersecurity. This involves:

  1. Understanding your organization’s unique threat landscape
  2. Allocating resources based on actual risks rather than perceived threats
  3. Leveraging existing data and tools more effectively
  4. Continuously adapting strategies as threats evolve

 

Conclusion

As cyber threats continue to evolve, SLED organizations must adopt a holistic, cost-efficient approach to cybersecurity. By focusing on relevant data, embracing flexible MDR solutions, and prioritizing transparency, these institutions can significantly enhance their security posture despite resource constraints.

The webinar serves as a valuable resource for SLED cybersecurity professionals, offering practical insights and strategies to navigate the complex threat landscape. As we move forward, the key to success lies in smart, tailored approaches that maximize security impact while minimizing costs.

 

Interested in learning more? Watch the full webinar recording here