NASCAR teams takes to the track showing cybersecurity arms race
How Can Enterprises Win the Cybersecurity Arms Race? by Marty Puranik, President and CEO at Atlantic.Net

How Can Enterprises Win the Cybersecurity Arms Race?

Maintaining a strong and durable cybersecurity strategy will continue to be at the forefront of business decisions being made within the enterprise for many years to come. Securing and protecting company data has become today’s expected standard, while government laws and legislation are more frequently starting to enforce data protection regulations.

Globally, the cybersecurity industry is developing at a substantial rate and the level of susceptibility experienced by businesses is certainly improving. The enterprise is much better equipped today to tackle these threats now than ever before. Some estimates suggest that cybersecurity spending has hit over $120 billion this year, and cybersecurity jobs are quickly becoming the highest-paid available within the IT industry.

This new toughened stance from the enterprise has created a so-called “arms race” between business security teams and the hacking communities who wish to exploit weak vulnerabilities. This is forcing one another to innovate and increase the complexities needed to gain access to protected data.

The landscape changes so rapidly in IT security that it might be difficult to gauge your organization’s security posture. Investment in enterprise cybersecurity must target a continuous improvement initiative, an approach where security is systematically improved upon, and where policies, processes, and technology is tirelessly being enhanced.

Some might argue that it is impossible to win the arms race, and that might be true. However, adopting an InfoSec security strategy that is revised year after year is essential. It is important to build trusting business relationships with security partners that empower your business direction.

How can enterprises win the cybersecurity arms race? Firstly, there must be an appropriate InfoSec budget. Even if you choose to keep a cybersecurity team in-house, or if you outsource the responsibility to a third party, it is going to be an expensive requirement. The budget must also stretch to purchasing and maintaining software licenses and hardware appliances needed to protect the perimeter networks.

Companies require a realistic approach to monitoring and testing the security landscape. External audits are a tried and tested method to validate the security processes within a business. Conducting vulnerability scans and planning for disaster recovery situations should already be a well-rehearsed process, but the extra focus must be given to conducting phishing and social engineering tests to ascertain the risk your employees pose to cybersecurity.

Social engineering is a great tool to test that your employees are adhering to security policies and procedures. Any failures can be resolved by additional training, or repeat offenders can have privileged access revoked.

Auditing and extensive logging is part of the day-to-day requirements of cybersecurity. It can be argued that you can never log too much information. In the last 12 months, AI and Machine Learning have really taken off. It is now possible to triage all the alerts, evaluate trends and make sense of the gathered data sets using AI/ML.

Data is gathered to monitor trends inside the network, which can intelligently identify risks and unexpected changes in system behavior. This might be tracking user login times or tracing ingress and egress traffic flow from the network.

Hackers are also turning to AI/ML learning to counteract the enterprise and develop sophisticated, intelligent malware targeted at weak infrastructure or susceptible individuals. One such technique is known as Smart Phishing.

It is common for employees to inadvertently violate security policy and become victims of traditional phishing attacks, namely the ‘click a link’ threat. This threat becomes amplified if an employee’s personal information is used in the attack, such as their name, address or social media information. Much of this information can be harvested online, and machine learning can increase the accuracy of the data sets used by the attackers.

The enterprise is responding by pushing a “zero trust” security model that forces authentication at all layers of the network. The principle of “never trust, always verify” affects all network-attached devices and authenticated users.

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Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Collaboration between employees, security professionals, and other SecOps industries must become the norm. Creating a transparent environment can only benefit the enterprise in the long term as information sharing can help to coordinate stronger defenses.


President and CEO at Atlantic.Net