The cybersecurity industry is consistently releasing new tools to combat breaches. According to Strategic Cyber Ventures (via Forbes), venture capitalists (VCs) poured an unprecedented $5.3 billion of funding into cybersecurity companies in 2018.
As the industry explodes, you would think that data breaches would slow. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, during this time the number of security breaches increased exponentially, and the amount of exposed data resulted in a crisis of global scale. According to the U.S. Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of breaches grew from 783 in 2014, an already frightening number, to a peak of 1,632 in 2017.
What this shows is that investment in the latest and greatest technology does not always mean total protection. If investment does not equal security, then what is there to do? How did we get here? There are four main drivers that have led the industry to its state of uncertainty. Here’s what they are and how to fight them.
1. Increasing Intelligence of Cyber criminals
A Clark School study at the University of Maryland was one of the first to quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access— every 39 seconds on average. To combat the dynamic, evolving threats, we need an equally dynamic solution.
Our weak spots range from the seemingly insignificant, like when you allow an app to access your phone’s contacts, how do you know you can trust the app’s maker with that data? To the obviously major, like what steps has your employer, medical provider, or bank taken to secure your confidential information?
As cybercriminals evolve and become more intelligent, they are trending towards more targeted attacks to expose the important information, such as your bank information, medical records, and personal information.
SonicWall’s Annual Report identified 74,290 never-seen-before attacks in 2019. These variants were so new, unique and complex that they were without a signature at the time of discovery and included detection of multiple side-channel attacks.
“Cyber perpetrators are not letting up in their relentless pursuit to illegally obtain data, valuable information and intellectual property,” said Bill Conner, president and CEO, SonicWall. “We must be unyielding in this cyber arms race. Sharing vital threat information with our customers and partners provides them a tactical advantage. But it’s also important to arm those at the forefront of this battle with this intelligence, promote global awareness of the threat landscape and continue to facilitate important dialogue around today’s most prevalent cyber threats.”
These targeted and evolving threats generate an infinite number of vulnerabilities that organizations have to defend. Cybersecurity services are typically a reactive solution which leads to what one report notes is a vicious “cyber cycle of attackers scanning networks, developing exploits and attacking systems, with defenders detecting attacks, analyzing exploits and patching systems.”
Get Proactive with Cybersecurity
Threat actors seem to always be one step ahead. How can we remove ourselves from the cyber cycle of attackers and get proactive? To start, it is a good idea to regularly test and update your security assessment services such as vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. Get a handle on the exposures and weaknesses across your business’ networks, system and applications before they can be exploited by criminal hackers.
Proactive network and endpoint monitoring to hunt for and respond swiftly to threats should also be an important part of your approach.
Another proactive approach is cybersecurity training for all employees, not just the IT team. Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that 32 percent of the data breaches in 2018 involved phishing activity. Furthermore, “phishing was present in 78 percent of Cyber-Espionage incidents and the installation and use of backdoors.” These attacks could have been prevented, if adequate training had been in place. Improve team member’s cybersecurity knowledge and awareness of the latest risks, such as phishing, and social engineering through ongoing training. This will help to reduce risk and stay ahead of the cyber criminals.
2. We Refuse to Change
It is impossible to get different results if we continue to do the same things. Today, we look for instant gratification instead of a long-term solution. As a result, we end up spending large amounts of money on cybersecurity products that we hope will patch up any problem we have.
On the opposite side, many businesses avoid preparation altogether, believing that it would not happen to them. According to the Washington Business Journal, nearly 75 percent of U.S. businesses are considered unprepared for a cyber crime incident. Preparation will put you ahead of the pack. No organization is hack proof. Understanding this and being prepared in spite of it is imperative.
We need to rethink our security model from the long-standing one of trying to keep hackers out of our networks. For starters, organizations must assume that these criminals are already inside.
Change and Evolve
It is time to change unsuccessful habits. Organizations should implement a continuous compromise assessment as part of their cybersecurity architecture. Those enterprises that do will not only be able to simplify their decision-making process when it comes to investing in the right defense, but they will also change the dynamics of the cyber ecosystem forever.
The faster your business moves towards developing a proactive cybersecurity assessment to analyze the continuous status of compromise, the faster that cyber resilience will be accomplished. Step by step, changes to cybersecurity architecture will blend the disparity between incident and detection.
A good security posture starts with instilling good habits in employees. Employees do not intentionally want to cause a breach, but most of the time they do not know any better. Once your staff understands the importance of security, make security relevant to their jobs with targeted training and reinforcement. This will move security from an intangible idea to something they can work toward every day.
3. Cybersecurity Budgets are Increasing
Increasing cybersecurity budgets may not sound like a bad thing, but like we said, throwing large amounts of money at the latest tools and products, does not equal immunity from data breaches.
According to Forbes, unlimited capital flowing into the industry is fueling defense vendors that fall into a “detect then mitigate” approach. The outcome is technologies available are not ready for primetime, are inherently unstable, and are becoming outdated as soon as deployments are completed without ever testing if they delivered on their promise.
It is all about investing in the right solution for your business. Vet a long-term cybersecurity plan that will take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected.
Finding a Long-Term Solution
If your organization’s security budget it is growing, that is great. Use it to strengthen your company’s risk mitigation and security story. LightEdge works collaboratively with our customers to ensure all services align with their security and compliance requirements and are suitable for use under strict regulatory guidelines, such as:
A lack of focus on cyber security can be greatly damaging to a business. Trust our expertise to ensure you are covered through our security and compliance services, including risk management, information security, audit preparedness, and support.
All businesses, no matter its size, needs to ensure everyone involved in the company is up to date on the latest cyber security threats and the best methods for protecting data.
4. Cyber Defenses are Growing in Complexity
Cyber defense services have only grown in complexity while adding few new protective features to the actual system. The intricacies and cost associated with it creates a false sense of security, especially at higher levels in the organization.
The haphazard growth and expansion of the cybersecurity industry is creating confusion and slowing response times down. LightEdge keeps it simple. We simply have the strongest data center and cloud security around. We have enterprise-grade data center security solutions for mission-critical applications hosting sensitive data. You do not have to take our word for it, though. Check out the docuseries, Off the Cuf’s, episode on the most secure data center in the world.
According to Cyber Defense Magazine, in most cases, it takes companies about 6 months to detect a data breach. Cyber criminals often get a neat 6-month head start, which makes tracking them down that much harder. If your cybersecurity tools are causing additional roadblocks, it is game over.
Keep it Simple
It is hard to know where to start with cybersecurity. At every turn there seems to be chaos. Here are a couple of simple tips that you can start to implement into your organization’s cybersecurity plan. The first step can be implementing VPNS for all connections. Networks that are only genetically protected are more vulnerable to an attack.
Implement virtual private network (VPN) connections between office locations and make their use easy and mandatory for mobile employees who may connect through public Wi-Fi services.
Another simple tip is to retire all unused products. Once your enterprise no longer has use for a limited-time product, decommission the applications, logins, and user credentials that are associated with the expired product. This will reduce the risk and further limit unauthorized access to your business.
One last simple security tip is to update all of your devices regularly. Any connection to the internet can be vulnerable. Keep every operating system and its applications up to date with patches and enhancements. Implementing software and system security updates quickly limits potential exposure to weaknesses.
Get Proactive. Get the Right Cyber Protection.
The whole month of October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, which is the perfect time to reflect on past strategies and get better protected. This month, take time to look at your current cybersecurity strategy and determine whether your business can identify, detect and respond to threats appropriately. If not, it is time to get informed and protected.
No matter the level of protection, no system is 100 percent secure from cybercriminals. However, with a solid understanding of the threats you face and the knowledge to combat them, you can improve your cybersecurity strategy. Now is not the time to ease up. Cyber criminals are constantly working to access your private information. They are using every tool at their disposal to take advantage of your vulnerabilities, from human error to weak infrastructure.
Now that you’re aware, it is time to defend your company. LightEdge is the proactive, long-term security plan. LightEdge specializes in high security hosting and compliance for all organizations. Our expertise is especially valuable to those with sensitive data, such as the healthcare and financial industries.
Redundancy is built into each of our data centers located in Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha, Austin and Raleigh facilities. Each of our LightEdge facilities strive to deliver more than traditional data centers. We have created true Hybrid Solution Centers designed to offer a complete portfolio of high speed, secure, redundant, local cloud services and managed gateways to public clouds through our hardened facilities.
Want to learn more about LightEdge’s disaster recovery and business continuity services? Contact one of our security and compliance experts to get started or to schedule your private tour of any of our data center facilities. We have disaster recovery, colocation, and business continuity experts standing by to answer any of your questions.
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