Closed padlock on abstract technology background showing cybersecurity response

As Cybercrime Keeps Upping Its Game, Cybersecurity Must Answer With Strategic Unified Force

The proliferation of cyberattacks and geopolitical threats are coming from cybercriminals who are growing more stealthy, sophisticated and evasive every day. Hackers and cyber gangs are increasingly threatening the crucial infrastructure that underpins our societies – utilities, communications, food production, transportation systems, banking, to highlight a few. These critical services rely upon facilities located on land, sea, air, and space.

A new era of hybrid warfare is upon us, combining physical and cyber weapons, with disruptive and destructive impact to both government and civilian services. When hacking turns into digital sabotage, the tables have seriously turned. Organizations have access to security tools and solutions in the marketplace that are comprehensively resilient and vigilant, yet many still expose critical assets to exploitation by remaining with weak and outdated practices and solutions.

Dysfunction and complexity are getting in the way of cybersecurity response

It seems not a day goes by when we don’t hear reports of a new data breach or system intrusion by devious attackers. And unfortunately, the response from defenders is more than often than not, less than optimal. Does this scenario sound familiar?

Rick, a security analyst, kept tracking between different dashboards during a security incident. Back-and-forth he went; back-and-forth. The process of tracking all devices and responding to different alerts from each separate security product was painfully long. Finally, his manager complained, “It’s very frustrating watching you do all that head bobbing between screens!” The beleaguered analyst replied, “Oh, it’s frustrating for me too, but I didn’t buy all these convoluted security products!”

Fragmented network connected systems and devices, minus seamless multilayered security, equals network connected threats and slow mitigation. It becomes an insurmountable task to align comprehensive risk management and threat detection in a manner that will effectively thwart exploitive attacks.

Siloed technologies with different management and configuration dashboards cobbled together create security gaps and visibility blind spots that slow mitigation and recovery. IT and security teams must go through complicated procedures that waste valuable response time in order to try and mitigate risks and losses.

Cybersecurity has to push back, fully prepared

There is a significant difference in the effectiveness of single vendor natively integrated multilayered security versus non-natively integrated products from different vendors. Cloud economies of scale win every time over fragmentation or the diminishing returns of legacy on-premises infrastructure. The same holds true for natively integrated multi-functional cybersecurity platforms. These modern security architectures deliver superior protections, risk reduction, greater device verification, and more effective and efficient security operations, than groups of single-function security products.

A natively integrated multi-functional security platform is a horizontal shift from vertically siloed security infrastructure. When waves of change like digital transformation and the explosion of IoT roll in, organizations either ride them and reap the benefits, or become overwhelmed, unprepared and even more vulnerable. Organizations lacking adequate integration of security automation, artificial intelligence, identity management, data analysis of diverse telemetry, and other vital measures, are positioning themselves at the cliff’s edge; and it can be a long and fatal fall.

Struggling to get the ‘full picture’ by relying upon multiple and disparate single function security products is like trying to put celluloid film in a digital camera – it just doesn’t work. Technology silos add friction into the user experience, impacting business productivity, while limiting the value of those technology investments.

In cybersecurity, the goal is to create a self-defending environment. In other words, establish an infrastructure that automatically achieves equilibrium by carefully identifying and visualizing all system components, receiving data feedback to see what’s wrong, adapting to improve, and continuously increasing its knowledge and vigilance. This is a highly effective form of closed loop security intelligence.

Building impenetrable security infrastructures should be priority #1

Cybercriminals aren’t relaxing in their exploitation efforts by playing with the same tired weapons. They are constantly innovating, testing, and adapting in their quest to find the weak points. When an organization can’t even effectively identify, verify and visualize all of their own system components, you can be sure that bad actors are busily applying their latest techniques to infiltrate a poorly protected technology environment.

So, what best practices and solutions are a part of the cybersecurity plans of organizations that are fortified to withstand their wily adversaries? Here are some of the security solutions and tools they prioritize for multilayered and integrated security:

  • Strong Encryption
  • Certificate Secured Devices with PKI-based Digital Identity Architecture
  • Multifactor Authentication and Password Management
  • Digital Signatures
  • Identity Access Management
  • Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Email Protection
  • A Zero Trust Architecture

Even with all the best of breed security tools and a zero trust model in place, organizations can fall victim by overlooking these areas:

  • Implementation of least privilege policies – With the proliferation of remote endpoints and users, poorly controlled access is escalating incidents of insider threats. According to Ponemon Institute’s 2022 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report, insider threats have increased 47% in just two years. There must be stricter policies to limit who gains access to what data.
  • IT and cloud governance – Employees often use apps and programs without the expressed approval of the IT department to increase productivity and agility. This ‘shadow IT’ exponentially increases vulnerability risks and must be mitigated by proper governance and system visibility.
  • System, network and IoT device identification – Organizations need to identify every system, network and device that could potentially be hacked, even ones that seem to be unlikely targets, like printers and fax machines (yes, these actually still exist). Identifying and verifying all devices can close vulnerability gaps and thwart potential cyberattacks.

With the advent of remote work migration and integration of vast IoT into virtually every industry, it has become absolutely imperative for companies to scrutinize and boost their cybersecurity infrastructure. Malicious actors leave no stone unturned in their search for vulnerable access points. Companies must be equally passionate in their quest to lock them down.