The growing complexity of the digital environment has posed new challenges to IT professionals worldwide and made cybersecurity more urgent over the last decade. The rise of cloud-connected systems in healthcare, energy, transportation and military applications in particular introduces new risk factors with heavier consequences. Cybersecurity is not only focused on protecting sensitive information anymore; for example, defenders must prepare for cyberattacks on life-sustaining machines, self-driving cars, the energy grid and military technologies. With security hacks becoming more sophisticated by the day, IT teams are expanding and implementing new tools to better monitor and defend against security breaches. Threat actors’ use of automation has led developers to introduce the same technology in their security equipment and software products.
Tried and true technologies
The basic protections against cyber threats are advanced enough to stop about 80 to 90% of cyberattacks. Some of the basic tools that all organizations should consider are network security equipment, which is used to prevent and combat data theft, intrusion and other threats on computer networks. More specifically, network firewall security equipment has become a staple in organizations’ security infrastructures. Firewalls, which include features like spyware and malware protection as well as encryption, protect networks from unauthorized attacks. Authentication software is also widely used to help safeguard access to company data by first verifying user identity. Furthermore, with the advent of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and work-from-home policies, organizations must consider other software solutions that protect endpoints, which are remote computing devices that connect to a network (e.g. laptops, tablets, desktops, smartphones). Endpoints offer points of entry for cybercriminals; thus, each additional device connected to the network effectively weakens the network security perimeter.
Designing a more sophisticated defense
The past few years have brought on a new breed of cyberattacks involving fileless malware, data skimming, credential-stuffing, macro-based attacks and more. While legacy software has been helpful in stopping file-based attacks, these legacy solutions are no match for memory-based attacks. Threat actors have also upped their game with automation, which helps hackers carry out large-scale attacks that infect numerous devices quickly.
In order to target the remaining 10 to 20%of cyberattacks, more sophisticated tools have been rolled out in recent years. The potentially disastrous consequences of cyberattacks have led IT teams to become more proactive; rather than reacting to successful attacks, teams have been focusing their energy on early detection and relying on restorative methods as a final solution. Organizations can consider the following solutions to bolster their basic protections:
- Security Software to automate actions
The use of automation by threat actors has called for an equal response from cybersecurity systems, which also use automation. For example, automation plays a key role in endpoint detection and response (EDR) and data loss prevention (DLP) systems, which are important security tools for preventing data breaches. Security information and event management (SIEM) software also relies on automation to block cyberattacks. After detecting a security threat, the SIEM follows a pre-planned sequence of actions to put a stop to the incident. Since automation has become so important in blocking attacks, buyers should assess the automation capabilities before deciding on a solution. Automated solutions can provide immediate response actions, such as blocking files by hash, triaging an endpoint or removing a host from a network. Security solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to mitigate attacks provide more robust protection for organizations by allowing the software to act on threats without being pre-programmed to do so.
- IT Consulting Services to simplify deployment
As new threats emerge, software developers will continue creating more and more tools to counteract cyberattacks. While these tools may provide adequate protection when used properly, IT departments face the challenge of overwhelming their staff with the various solutions. Rather than hiring additional employees to test, deploy and monitor new tools, organizations can use IT consultants and data privacy consulting services to help create a streamlined security solution. These specialists assist with orchestration so that various automated tasks can be connected across multiple systems. Orchestration helps improve security by allowing IT staff to view the big picture and monitor the entire enterprise environment, rather than monitoring separate pieces.
- Disaster Recovery Services to help clean up the mess
In the words of Robert Mueller, “there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked.” While prevention plans are important, threat actors’ ever-evolving strategies have made response plans essential. Disaster recovery (DR), or Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), ensures business continuity for buyers whose operations depend on technology systems. DRaaS works by replicating and backing up the organization’s existing servers to a cloud or off-site server so that downtime is minimized in the event of a cyberattack. While these solutions help with the logistics of business continuity, the financial impact of cyberattacks can be mitigated through cybersecurity insurance.
- When creating a cybersecurity strategy, organizations should balance prevention and restoration goals.
- To counteract sophisticated threats, organizations should consider tools that use automation to detect malicious code and act quickly before an attack is completed.
- To increase visibility across the enterprise environment, organizations should lean on IT consultants to help orchestrate IT processes.
By: Kim Bucci
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