Did you know cybercrime costs the world more than all natural disasters combined, every year? It’s also larger than the entire worldwide illegal drug trade. It has become Earth’s biggest and fastest-growing type of crime.
Cybercrime drains more than $6 trillion from the world’s companies year after year. Companies large and small are struggling to cope, because cybercrime evolves constantly and requires innovative tech solutions.
In trying to manage security vulnerabilities, one of the most common approaches is to use spreadsheets to track the details. Microsoft Excel is one of the most-used spreadsheet packages, with 81% of all businesses using Excel in some or all of its operations.
While spreadsheets might be good for some aspects of your business, they’re not always the best solution. In fact, they’re a risky choice for managing cybersecurity.
Drawbacks of Spreadsheets for Cybersecurity
Here are some challenges that come with using spreadsheets to manage a company’s cybersecurity activities.
Spreadsheets are not purpose-built for cybersecurity. Spreadsheets are intended to manage basic information and can’t handle the details needed for a robust cybersecurity plan.
They don’t support easy de-duplication of data. De-duplication is a daily part of data management, but spreadsheet programs are clunky at performing this task. It’s very easy to lose data due to human error.
Merges are time-consuming and risky. Every time a batch of new data is merged into the existing data, there’s a risk of overriding important information and scrambling the contents of the spreadsheet.
There is no preservation of version history. This is one of the critical flaws of using spreadsheets for cybersecurity. You can’t track changes over time, and you can’t go back to previous versions.
It’s difficult to pinpoint who made changes. Not only is it tricky to figure out what was done in the past, but it’s hard to tell who made the changes. This interferes with training and allows people to operate within the system unseen.
Spreadsheets can’t be scaled up easily. If your enterprise is growing, your spreadsheets will have a hard time growing with you. They become unwieldy as you try to scale them up.
They don’t play well with other programs. Spreadsheets don’t always integrate with other programs and systems, making them difficult to incorporate into your overall security management plan.
Shared spreadsheets expose a company to data breaches. Some companies share spreadsheets widely and provide lax oversight of their use.
They aren’t always compliant. Spreadsheets may not meet regulatory standards and provide the kind of strict security required of you by the authorities.
A Better Choice: Using a Cybersecurity Platform
Now let’s look at an alternative to spreadsheets for cyber risk management: a cybersecurity risk management platform. These platforms are built specifically to monitor your cybersecurity portfolio, so they eliminate many of the issues that come with spreadsheets.
A cybersecurity platform analyzes your security system from end to end, locating vulnerabilities and suggesting best practices. It gives deep visibility into your security activities while building an archive of data about your organization.
A cybersecurity platform comes with benefits like:
- The use of a step-by-step process for cybersecurity, instead of just a spreadsheet
- Reports and analytics that provide valuable insights about your company
- Prioritization of issues by risk and urgency
- Remediation workflows that help quickly minimize the impact of security issues
- Assignment of cybersecurity tasks to specific people
- System monitoring, which prevents things from slipping through the cracks
- Compliance documentation for training and regulatory activities
Unlike a spreadsheet, a cybersecurity platform is purpose-built for this exact task. It anticipates the common challenges a company faces in managing cyber risk, and guides the risk management process every step of the way.
Security Far Beyond a Spreadsheet
If you look at a platform like Stave Cybersecurity Manager, it’s easy to see its superiority to a simple spreadsheet. It works like a watchdog, taking in fresh information and acting on it immediately to protect your company from threats.
Cybersecurity Manager receives a constant stream of updates, including real-time Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts (IAVAs) and Information Assurance Vulnerability Bulletins (IAVBs) from the U.S. Cyber Command. This is far more information than a person could seek out and input into an Excel spreadsheet.