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You can’t avoid the headlines. Week after week. Compromise after compromise impact companies, data, and users. For many, these kinds of headlines are discouraging signs of a state of cybersecurity that has and continues to fail. But I am in a different camp that says there is opportunity to do better and for organizations like the one I work for to help companies do better.
A few of the recent incidents are just plain ugly. Some examples:
There is no way to hide those headlines and there is no way to hide what significant cyber incidents mean to the integrity of a business and its users. Throughout the industry however, it is important to draw some lessons from these incidents.
The first lesson should be obvious: you should never rely on passwords as your only form of authentication. Passwords are too easy to steal, whether through simple means like purchasing them online or more elaborate schemes using social engineering techniques. Multifactor, everywhere, all the time – no exceptions. Next lesson, the insider threat situation is bad, really bad.
Beyond that, it gets much more complicated. If you are fortunate, your organization has the elements and budget to make for an effective cybersecurity program. However, these days, even that position is not enough by itself.
Consider how a major Gartner report explored how a large majority of organizations continue to look for consolidation of their security vendors. The issue most reported was an increased dissatisfaction with operating efficiency and lack of integration between the different parts that make up a heterogenous stack. That would include multi-cloud, on-premises, and application environments.
Many organizations have spent millions on firewalls, encryption, and more, but if intruders are already inside the building – as pointed out by a countless number of security experts – these measures will do little good. Misconfigurations, social engineering, fake MFA, phishing, smishing, and an entire list of specific targeted attack variations exist, each of these perilously positioned between the company and varying levels of data disaster.
The enduring prescription in a challenging world of cyber threats is a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. This is the most effective way to detect, isolate, and respond to the insider threat. From the ground up, comprehensive security must be built with specific goals in mind:
The existing cyber threat landscape is becoming increasingly complex, and it is evolving each and every day. To respond effectively to these threats, it’s imperative that organizations build their active-defense capabilities – which include better intelligence and stronger collaboration with others in your organization, as well as external stakeholders such as law enforcement or the cybersecurity metrics community.
Unfortunately, there simply are not enough resources in terms of human and financial capital for most organizations to implement this type of security. That is where partnering and offering comprehensive security services to an organization can help protect what is essential, and cybersecurity can become a strategic component of the data landscape rather than a cost.
As an industry, we can and will do better. Our hope is that through comprehensive security services, the most adaptive, responsive approach for dealing with modern threats will thrive and encourage organizations to build their best to take on the challenges of the day.