IT transformation through data security
Constant fear has spread throughout every industry due to the exponentially increasing amount of successful breaches and a threat landscape that swells daily with more malicious actors and new attack methods. What does the security landscape look like? For starters…
88% of security executives feel vulnerable to data threats despite increased spending, Thales reported.
Attackers stay hidden on a network for an average of 140 days before being detected, determined by Bay Dynamics.
80-90 million cybersecurity events occur annually, with nearly 400 new threats every minute, WeLiveSecurity said.
In truth, most security downfalls are a result of inconsistent patching and failing to prepare engineers and users with proper knowledge through awareness and training.
What are some of the challenges we’re all facing as a result? In summary, time, resources and money. Understanding environmental footprints and having clear comprehension on what’s needed to get started are common burdens for many businesses. In-house experts are expensive and hard to come by, particularly when it comes to security.
The skills gap alone is overwhelming. Meanwhile, security best practices are ever-evolving, threats change constantly and finding the best possible tools and expertise to support them within budget can seem like an uphill battle. Needless to say, the anxiety is understandable.
Remember, hackers are always looking for your weakest link. Everyone wants to bring projects to the finish line, but don’t do so at the cost of security. Stop and ask the fundamental questions: Is it secured? Has there been a security review? Have we encouraged user awareness and provided training? The most fundamental step you can take is making sure everyone is prepared on an ongoing basis.
Understanding the business challenges of security
Is your business a target?
It’s a worthwhile question. Many decision makers agonize over their relative susceptibility to attacks, and the truth is, no one is immune from being targeted. That being said, upon examining the common themes of successful attacks and breaches, certain commonalities surface, and financial services, healthcare, and government are the verticals often mentioned.
The question then becomes, why are these industries and businesses being targeted? It’s not necessarily the industries themselves; it’s the data they’re holding such as personally identifiable information, personal health information, research and development and intellectual property, in particular. These aren’t the only things malicious actors are fixated on, but if you have multiple types of highly desirable data, then you’re probably more susceptible.
Regardless of industry, hackers have a wide range of motivations, and many attack at random. Some are simply seeking to create disruption within a certain industry or vertical. Others are focused on extortion and are primarily driven by money. The point is, while noting your respective industry and data types is worth doing, those things can’t predict your precise likelihood of attack. You’re better off focusing your energy on implementing a security policy and robust technologies that will help prevent, mitigate and remediate—the reality is, we’re all targets.
Evolving your security strategy
Assess, plan, and implement
Every security program needs people, processes and technology to be successful. With these components to support you, you’re on the right path to building an actionable security strategy. Remember that your plan is comprehensive and continuous, and it can be broken down into three cyclical phases:
Overall, assessment is focused on knowing what you have. Where decision makers often fail when taking on assessments is excessive focus on technology: appliances, applications and potential vulnerabilities. But it’s the aforementioned people and processes that need the most attention. Don’t get us wrong, technology is obviously critical, but it’s useless without human beings and their methodology for operating it.
Another helpful part of assessing is ensuring that functional teams are aligned with security and meet regularly. Ideally, you should develop a security team and governance board designed to gain executive-level sponsorship.
Make sure that your IT and security team are also covering all areas of business. Shadow IT happens more often than it should, and if disparate departments are consuming IT services that IT isn’t aware of, a vulnerability, breach or authentication issue could be how you find out. You should be reviewing controls, carrying out gap analysis and identifying your assets.
A great way to ensure adequate planning is putting together a steering committee to gain and maintain sponsorship of the executive team. Without their buy-in, ensuring your security program takes off will be like pulling teeth, if not impossible.
Processes are particularly important in this phase. Policy creation, incident response planning, and remediation and mitigation are all key. This phase is less focused on technology and more focused on how you’ll ensure technology is supported.
The implementation phase is where technology plays the greatest role. Make sure you cover the security tools and tactics that are fundamental to safeguarding your business: multi-factor authentication, encryption, segmentation, rolebased access, logging/SIEM, MDM and automation.
Education and training are also part of implementation. Provide plenty of security education and awareness training to ensure the success of your technology.
Looking to optimize your IT transformation? Contact Plow Networks.
About Plow Networks
Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Plow Networks is a Total Service Provider (TSP) with several distinct business practices that, when consumed together, offer our clients a unique, best-in-class experience. We give organizations peace of mind, valuable time back and the economies of scale that come with having one technology partner that is focused on exceeding their expectations with every engagement.
*This information is brought to your by our data center partner, Flexential.