How to Keep Pace With the Shifting Sands of Cybersecurity

September 13, 2017 John Loveland

The rise of new digital technologies in the workplace, driven by the need for businesses to become more agile and adaptable, has led to a surge in the number of endpoints and potential ways for cybercriminals to gain access to enterprise networks. This has led to a major evolution of the cyber battlefield. Today’s security teams are having to come up with new tactics to fend off the more advanced threats being levelled against their increasingly interconnected enterprise networks.  The battle against these cybercriminals was traditionally regarded as a concern for the IT department, but the widely documented breach at Sony in 2014 put cybercrime at the top of the business agenda. Organizations realized that a breach, compromise or attack could have a major impact on business performance, brand perception and - most importantly – the financial bottom line. Security became an enterprise-wide issue that needed addressing, and managing risk, a business priority. However, even after the Sony attack, security hadn’t necessarily become the board-level concern that it is today.  More recent attacks such as the crippling WannaCry and more recent NotPetya ransomware outbreaks have highlighted that an attack doesn’t need to be against a specific organization to create chaos and cost millions. In WannaCry’s case, this attack affected huge organizations, such as the NHS, Telefonica and other large multinational enterprises, to devastating effect.  If board members weren’t paying enough attention to the need for better cybersecurity defenses before, they certainly are now. Additionally, changes in regulation and compliance requirements – alongside a better understanding of the potential reputational risk of a breach – has highlighted why security must be top of the agenda, not just for the board, but for every employee and supplier. With this in mind, there have been three key shifts have taken place in the wake of recent large scale cyber-attacks:  Security’s outreach has increased: No longer just the concern of the IT geek in the backroom, security now impacts everyone and has an expansive view. Its horizon is absolutely linked to business operations – whether local, regional or even global – and every department it touches. It has the power to break down the silos that enterprises often operate within; increasing interaction across departments, so that assets that need protecting are identified, reducing the impact of a future attack. However, its reach stretches beyond the confines of the core of the business, out to the edge where data (held in the cloud, on mobile devices and generated by IoT) is in transit and potentially a moving cyber target. Adaptive enterprises are leveraging digital transformation and that impacts how they also use security – linking it back to business objectives; enabling disruptive business models such as mobile banking, and strengthening their focus on cyber-threats. Security is built into innovation: IT security is no longer a barrier to change, hindering the adoption of new processes and the adaption of innovative technologies. In fact, security is front and center in the new digital world. It is accelerating ‘speed of service’; embedded in Software Defined Networks (SDN); enabling wider, seamless and secure access to data in the Internet of Things (IoT) and much more. Security is now a pre-requisite, built into new technologies and devices from the outset. Security has to be responsive, agile, and intelligent: Speed and agility are not the only assets IT security needs to harness. It also needs to act smarter and be more effective, often in the face of reduced budgets. Managing security in the digital world involves the gathering, synthesis and analysis of security data as standard. It’s no longer just about the data, but what the data can tell us. Those providers that can leverage insight, intelligence services within a global network view will be at the forefront of the next generation of security services, improving cyber-threat visibility and mitigating risk. This will separate the security intelligence provider market into those who just collect data, and those with the foresight and expertise to deliver intelligent insights.  What does the future hold? We might not have a crystal ball, but we do know that innovation and digitization will not stop. They will continue to grow at an exponential pace, and remain crucial for business success. For businesses to stay relevant now and in the future means embracing new technologies, defining strategies that deliver (and exceed) on customer experience, and taking a proactive security approach. Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that the same threat tactics are still effective in infiltrating data, because many organizations are missing foundational security tools and processes. Faced with the increasing threat of cybercrime, businesses can’t be reactive anymore. They must look towards improving their cybersecurity systems, as there is too much at stake – no one wants to become a victim of the next WannaCry or Petya. 

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