When it comes to the implementation of cybersecurity within organizations, the blatant discrepancies that are present within a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure make it obvious that being on the receiving end of a cyberattack is no longer a matter of “if”, but rather a matter of “when.”
As we stand at the dawn of the new decade, now is perfect to self-reflect upon some of the most popular practices employed by organizations today, that seem to aid cyber criminals on their mission to wreak as much damage as possible. Fortunately, however, over the course of the last decade, many enterprise owners have fully realized the criticality of effective and robust cybersecurity, which has resulted in the formulation of specific cybersecurity teams, along with a cybersecurity spending that is expected to surpass the $1 trillion mark by 2021.
Despite cybersecurity being treated with a much higher level of respect and importance in the past few years, we’ve still got a long and arduous path to cross before we can deem the modern-day cybersecurity culture as effective. The primary reason behind the exploitable loopholes present in an organization’s security infrastructure is the fact that organizations are unable to translate the urgency of dealing with rampant attacks and breaches into their security architecture and mindset. This rather alarming piece of information is further made evident when we take into account the findings of FireEye’s Cyber Trendscape 2020 report, which brought to light that a staggering 51% of organizations did not think that they were well prepared to combat a data breach or a cyberattack.
Furthermore, owing to the ever-evolving nature of the threat landscape, the conventions of the cybersecurity world are being constantly challenged, and in many cases, are the driving force behind an organization closing down in the aftermath of a cyberattack.
Fortunately, however, based on a deep analysis of the emerging and existing trends and patterns within the cybersecurity industry- we’ve compiled an article that highlights some of the gravest mistakes that organizations can make in their cybersecurity implementation. As a fair warning to our readers, if you’re guilty of making these mistakes, your cybersecurity infrastructure might just be on the brink of collapsing in the oncoming years, as it stands up to face an arsenal of highly sophisticated threats and vulnerabilities.
Although the first cybersecurity “problem” that we’ve included on our list, might not even seem like a real issue to many, the fact of the matter is that businesses, no matter how small or big they might be, are the perfect targets for cybercriminals.
As was made evident by the findings of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, almost 43% of all the cyberattacks that took place in 2019, were aimed at small companies and businesses. The stakes of securing an organization reach an all-time high when we take into account the fact that according to insurance carrier Hiscox, more than half of all small businesses had experienced a data breach within the last year. Furthermore, the level of the damage wreaked on small companies was further demonstrated by US National Cyber Security Alliance which reported that nearly 60% of small enterprises go out of business within 6 months after they’ve been struck with a cyberattack- which says a ton about the inadequacy of the current cybersecurity measures that organizations have employed.
In order to combat the arsenal of security threats and vulnerabilities, small enterprises need to take certain measures to ensure that they don’t end up without any business at all in the aftermath of a data breach or a cyberattack. The most fundamental step that small organizations need to take to foster security is to allot a budget, which is to be spent on proactive security measures. Although many small business owners are initially reluctant to spend a significant amount of their money on security, not taking cybersecurity expenditure seriously can have far deadlier financial consequences.
Moreover, small companies need to set achievable end goals for themselves, which also helps pave the way for smart security investments and allows the business to take into account security, usability, along with the cost.
With the introduction and implementation of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, the mainstream belief that most enterprises seem to harbor, is that the greater the amount of data that they have, the better are their chances of providing to consumers a tailor-made, customized experience, which in turn, betters their business prospects.
Although it is true that using data to generate valuable insights, which are then later used to propagate the business function of an enterprise, the immense amount of data being stored within an organization makes it extremely difficult and tiresome for the security team to detect the presence of an attacker. For most companies that rely on big data generated insights, the average time taken to detect a data breach is a shocking 6 months.
On their mission to catch malicious agents, many companies tend to be a little excessive in their data-driven tasks, which not only creates a massive dent in their infrastructure and workforce cost, but it also leads to extremely haphazard management of data.
To prevent the ineffectiveness of your organization’s security team in analyzing and operationalizing data in a crunch, it is highly essential that the organization deploys the correct security tools for the investigation and detection of threats at the earliest. Usually, these security tools are based on security software that allows the security team to perform diagnostics, as well as heuristics that study patterns. Moreover, the cybersecurity market is now home to adaptive cybersecurity tools that employ machine learning and artificial intelligence to catch the attacker more efficiently and stop their attack within milliseconds.
In the instance that an organization discovers that it’s being attacked by malicious agents, one of the most important tools that come in extremely handy is an effective and robust incident response plan.
If you didn’t already know, an incident response plan is basically a set of instructions that helps the IT staff detect, respond to and recover from network security incidents, along with other vulnerabilities such as data breaches and elaborate phishing schemes. Moreover, the lucrativeness of an effective incident response plan can further be felt when we take into account the fact that IBM found that companies with an active incident response team, experienced less severe damages (an average of $1.23 million less in data breach expenditure) than those organizations that did not rely on any incident response plans.
While formulating an incident response plan, it is highly important that companies take into account the wide variety of threats facing their organization, and develop a plan that addresses issues like cybercrime, breaches, service outages, data losses, along with providing solutions for more sophisticated crimes such as phishing and ransomware. If your company does not have an incident response plan, you might as well close your business down before it has to shut down in the aftermath of a cyberattack.
A rather unprecedented aspect of cybersecurity that many business owners tend to forego is third-party security. Owing to the emphasis that many cybersecurity specialists tend to place on building a solid “cybersecurity core” within enterprises, many fail to recognize the possibility of the weak link in your organization’s security to arise from third-parties, such as partners and suppliers.
One of the deadliest consequences of not taking third-party security seriously is a supply chain attack that takes place when an external malicious entity infiltrates an organization’s system through these third-party suppliers and partners.
Furthermore, the detection and eradication of cyberattacks originating from third-party sources are more damage-inducing than the other forms of attacks and are more likely to result in greater financial losses for an organization ($370,000 more than average).
In order to minimize the threat posed by these third-party sourced attacks, it is highly important that businesses give them their due attention. The most crucial step that businesses can take to foster security, and consequently, also avoid paying any penalties, is to closely scrutinize and monitor the businesses that they work with, to make sure that their security standard is in tandem with that of your organization. Moreover, business organizations can use specific tools like VPNs to combat cyber threats. A VPN also allows accessing apps like Skype through which the workforce can communicate with each other in a secure manner.
Despite the steady automation of multiple aspects of an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure, human error is still one of the most dangerous loopholes to exist in a company. With the rising sophistication of social engineering attacks, such as phishing and ransomware, hackers are getting extremely smart in their technique, and use tactics that allow them to leverage the human tendency to err.
Moreover, the fact that employees aren’t taking cybersecurity seriously is also made clear when we take into consideration that a whopping 91% of all company breaches originate from phishing and other email-related scams.
Although email security tools do play an important part in solving the problem, the best way to go around the issue of employees not taking cybersecurity seriously is to treat matters of security as an integral part of the workplace culture, rather than just another problem that the IT staff needs to deal with.
At the end of the article, we hope that we’ve helped our readers to self-reflect and encouraged them to keep an eye out for any of the signs that we’ve mentioned. Having said that, it is also equally important that enterprises work on improving their current cybersecurity infrastructure as well while remaining mindful of the ever-evolving threat landscape of today.