What is Proactive Cybersecurity and why you Need It
Syndicated by: Iain Fraser Cybersecurity Journalist
via IainFraser.net/CyberInsights

Yesterday, I found myself on the ThreatIntelligence Blog and was reminded of this excellent post addressing Proactive Cybersecurity and examining how to create a proactive cybersecurity strategy that will keep you one step ahead of cyber-threats at all times, so I decided to Syndicate this post again, valuable information.

Cybercrime is now an industry that is worth billions of dollars. Hackers are using advanced techniques and tools involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to get around security controls and expedite the cyber attack lifecycle. In such a turbulent threat landscape, businesses can no longer afford to sit and wait around for an attack to hit them. Instead, the only way for businesses to remain secure is to strengthen their defences by anticipating emerging cyber-threats of the future. 

What is Proactive Cybersecurity?

Being proactive means to anticipate future problems, needs, or changes, and take action appropriately. In the context of cybersecurity, proactive implies just the same. Proactive cybersecurity is everything you do before an attack takes place. Most of the time, companies don’t properly prepare themselves for potential cyber incidents until it’s too late. In contrast to responding to an attack after it has already occurred, these security measures focus on preventing attacks in the first place. 

Essentially, proactive cybersecurity entails all the processes and activities that are carried out on a regular basis within an organisation to prevent risks. Examples of proactive cybersecurity measures can include identifying and patching vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure, preventing data and security breaches, and regularly evaluating the strength of your security posture. Continue reading to learn more about proactive security strategies you can implement to improve your overall security.

Proactive vs Reactive Cybersecurity

Most businesses will likely have in place security controls such as firewalls, antivirus software, and threat monitoring software. If and when an attack occurs, they will have a plan to systematically deal with its consequences. Each team member has a designated role to play during an attack and well-documented guidelines help them identify what went wrong and how to avoid such incidents in the future. 

This is what a typical reactive approach to security looks like. The security team reacts or responds to the breach, and attempts to repair the damage the attacker has caused.

Reactive cybersecurity is the exact opposite of proactive security. It is everything you do after an attack occurs. Sure, if your goal is only to prevent known threats, this approach might suffice. However, acting responsively can leave you vulnerable to a host of other threats such as zero-day vulnerabilities, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and many more complex cyber attack vectors that can damage your business.

Reactive Cybersecurity Tactics

Reactive cyber security methods are focused on preventing 'known' malware from infiltrating your network and compromising your business databases. When a virus manages to slip through the cracks, these measures help you to track down the perpetrators. Following are a few examples of such reactive security measures:


Firewalls secure your network and information by managing network traffic, blocking unsolicited incoming network traffic, and verifying access by scanning network traffic for malicious elements such as hackers and malware. However, firewalls are ineffective at protecting against viruses, trojan horses, spyware, and malware. There are too many ways to encode binary files for network transfer, as well as too many different architectures and viruses, and it is not possible for a firewall to try to find them all. Generally, firewalls cannot prevent data-driven attacks, which involve sending or copying something to an internal host, where it is then downloaded and executed.

Anti-Malware Software

Just like firewalls, the anti-virus software will protect against most known threats. But with such a significant percentage of unknown malware variants being discovered every day, it is unlikely that an antivirus will protect devices from all of them. Moreover, attacks such as social media malware are almost always undetectable. Anti-malware software cannot protect against these hidden threats, as well as a variety of other threats such as browser-based attacks, phishing, and spam.

Password Protection

‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘password’ happen to be some of the most common passwords used in 2022. Cybercriminals leverage people’s lax attitude towards passwords to launch attacks, steal credentials, and for credential stuffing. Furthermore, password protection without Multi-Factor Authentication does not provide sufficient protection because attackers will still be able to access user accounts. Passwords are also not enough to prevent account takeovers and phishing attacks. 

Spam Filters

While spam filters are necessary and do a great job at keeping spam emails out of your inbox, spammers understand what is flagged when emails are filtered and how to adapt to better fool the system and get past your spam detection.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Cybersecurity disaster recovery is specifically concerned with disasters caused by cyber threats such as DDoS attacks or data breaches. A typical recovery plan will outline the steps your company must take to stop losses, eliminate the threat, and move forward without endangering the company's future. However, it is advisable to invest in prevention at least as much as, if not more, in recovery.

Proactive Cybersecurity Tactics

Now that we’ve understood the phases in SDLC, let’s take a look at the SDLC methodologies. Here are some models to consider:

Threat Hunting

The goal of threat hunting is to identify unknown threats that may be lurking within an organisation's systems. Threat hunting utilises threat indicators and Threat Intelligence  as a starting point or hypothesis for a hunt. Threat hunting, as opposed to reactive methods, is a proactive approach to identifying previously unknown or existing, unpatched threats within an organisation's network. An effective threat hunt can also identify threats that have not yet been discovered in the wild.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing   is a great preventative security measure. This method involves hiring skilled and experienced hackers to intentionally try to breach your company's defences. This process identifies holes and security gaps in the network and helps to build a stronger overall security posture.

Proactive Network and Endpoint Monitoring

Proactive monitoring implies that your company is constantly looking for impending threats. This method enables IT teams to identify and resolve issues that could have a significant impact on their business, if left unchecked.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Recent statistics show that 95% of all data breaches were caused due to employee negligence. This implies that your employees can be your biggest strength or your biggest liability when it comes to the security of your business. For a truly proactive approach, create and implement effective Cybersecurity training for your employees to ensure that your teams operate in line with the appropriate security standards.

Benefits of Proactive Cybersecurity

Proactive cybersecurity actually works. The proactive security market was worth USD 20.81 million in 2020, and it is expected to grow to USD 45.67 million by 2026. Reports have shown that aggressive security policies and a proactive approach have helped companies confidently navigate through and prevent cyber-attacks such as phishing attempts. Some more benefits of proactive cybersecurity include: 

Prevent Threats and Disruptions from the Get-Go

By taking a more proactive, forward-thinking approach from the start, companies can address and mitigate future disruptions and cyber-threats. Working actively to prevent threats helps you gain complete control over your cybersecurity strategy. This helps you prioritise your risks and address them accordingly.

  • Simplify Reactive Security
By identifying vulnerabilities early on, and preparing for the worst-case scenarios ahead of time, you’re able to take action rapidly and decisively during a cyber incident. While proactive measures help to actively prevent breaches, reactive measures strike if and when a breach occurs. 

  • Reduces Clean-Up Costs
Some data breaches have resulted in billions of dollars in losses. Without aggressive security policies in place, businesses can expect exorbitant clean-up costs including fines, settlement, and business loss, in the event of a data breach. Strategic planning helps spot and patch vulnerabilities before attackers strike, as well as significantly lowers the additional costs incurred during and after a breach. 

  • Stay on Top of Emerging Threats
A highly adaptable cyber security strategy can help you keep up with the latest developments in the threat landscape. When you don't have to devote all of your resources and time to responding to attacks, you have the opportunity to learn about cybercriminals' attack tactics.

  • Maintain Compliance
A proactive security strategy helps you understand your organisation's risk thoroughly. When you address these risks appropriately, you can rest assured that you will pass compliance checks any time. 

  • Build Customer Trust
Proactively securing your business shows that you take security seriously. Going above and beyond to protect your customers’ data enables you to gain their trust and build a safe and transparent relationship with them.

The Final Word: Reactive or Proactive Cybersecurity?
A common misconception in cybersecurity is that if you've never encountered a threat, you're unlikely to encounter it in the future. Or that you only need to prepare for the threats that seem most probable. Unfortunately, that is not how breaches and cyber-attacks work. 

While handling the aftermath of a cyber incident is important, that cannot be the focus of your cybersecurity strategy. Creating a proactive cybersecurity strategy ensures that the organisation does not depend only on reactive security measures. A proactive defense strategy, when combined with reactive security, supplements the reactive security measures to reduce overall risk to the organisation. This integrated approach is the most effective when it comes to securing your data and networks. Learn More /...  

How ThreatIntelligence can help 

In a constantly evolving risk landscape, cybercriminals know that you’ve got the tools to protect yourself from common attack methods. They know that in order to infiltrate your network, they need to launch attacks you’ve never seen before. 

If you’re looking to secure your organisation from the relentless cyber-threats of today, we’ve got you covered. Threat Intelligence’s Evolve suite has a range of innovative products and services that are designed to enhance your security posture at scale. The Evolve platform goes beyond just security automation and gives you a 360-degree view of your security posture and risk landscape, enabling you to better protect your business and customers. Our comprehensive set of proactive cybersecurity tools and services range from threat hunting and threat intelligence, supply chain monitoring, leaked password monitoring, DNS sinkholing, external and internal penetration testing, and compliance monitoring. You can also rely on our expert security team to handle all your security needs with our managed security services and expert security consulting. 

To learn more about how you can take control of your cybersecurity strategy and actively breach-proof your business, schedule a demo/consultation with one of our specialists, or visit www.threatintelligence.com to find out how our solutions can help you.

What is proactive cybersecurity

About Cybersecurity Journalist - Iain Fraser

Daily Cyber Insights | Iain Fraser - Cybersecurity & Geopolitical Journalist, Authority Writer, Commentator, Consultant Editor - Cybersecurity & Geopolitics | Gibraltar & Málaga City - Cybersecurity & Geopolitical Awareness, Threat Management, Compliance and Best Practice Mitigation. Voted Top 30 Cybersecurity News Websites Globally in 2023 for Information Security by Feedspot #CyberJourno #Scambaiter - Available for Assignments - Articles, Web Content, Guest Blogger.


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