Cyber Security in The Ever Growing World of Cloud

Cloud and mobile computing technologies are pushing the IT landscape further away from organizations and a constantly evolving Internet is widening the front lines of cyber security that is already riddled with holes. Any member of an organization is a potential target for attacks, for which leadership will be held accountable by an increasingly unforgiving court of public opinion. The cyber security trends of today are evolving at a rapid pace, but the cause is not futile or lost. Cyber attackers are not invincible super geniuses. They are generally smart and well-organized, but the key to besting these attackers is beating them at their own games. Let’s take a look at the biggest cyber security trends and how they will affect leaders and security professionals around the world.

One of the biggest cyber security trends we have seen lately is the loss of control of technology. Once upon a time, employees only used vetted equipment and software, but today, due to pressure from staff members who want to bring their own devices to the office, that traditional paradigm is changing and creating more security risks. The cloud and mobile technologies are here to stay, so it is time for security professionals to rethink security procedures and defense plans.

Shifting the Focus

Traditionally security plans have been to prevent cyber attacks from occurring. Prevention is a great ideal to strive for, but ultimately it is not completely realistic. Security professionals need to spend less time focusing on how to prevent every single possible attack and spend more time developing protocols and programs that allow them to respond and react to the rapidly evolving cyber attack potential.

Gartner analysts Neil MacDonald and Peter Firstbrook published a paper in 2014 about cyber security. They contended that by the year 2020 60 percent or more of a business’s or government’s information security budgets would need to be allocated for rapid detection and response cyber security plans versus a prevention plan. In 2014, on average only ten percent of an enterprise’s information security budget was allocated in this way.

Verizon also published a very important cyber security report in 2014 the Data Breach Investigations Report. Their report found that in most cases it takes weeks for an organization to discover that they have been breached. Plus, more and more often it is a third-party source or a law enforcement group that is the one who is discovering these breaches. Organizations need to be able to quickly identify and react to their own breaches. It is alarming that an organization with tons of customer and other private information may be breached for multiple weeks before being able to respond to an attack. By then it is too late to do much about the breach.

Peter Firstbrook, the co-author of the Gartner paper, said this about the state of cyber security, “The problem with most security technology today is that it assumes it’s going to win. It doesn’t tell you what it doesn’t know, and it assumes it’s always right. And in every major breach that we’ve seen, that’s obviously not been the case.”

How to Get There

The way that organizations can get to a level of predicting and detecting cyber attacks is from shifting their mindset from incident response to continuous response, according to Firstbrook. The only way to accomplish this is to create a security architecture that integrates prediction, detection, prevention, and response all-in-one.

New security measures require new technologies first of all, but to accomplish this type of security successfully you’ll also need large amounts of data. End-point and network events can generate an organization terabytes of data every single day. Organizations are either going to have to build this database for themselves or buy it, but it will need to be able to store six months of data so that you can go back and see what has happened in the past.

You can also take all of this data and apply what-if scenarios to all the information that you have collected, and over time the more impressive your security will get at predicting and recognizing attacks before they can breach you. Finding the necessary funds to implement this type of security may be a bit pricey, but as Target and Sony, just a few examples of massive cyber attacks in recent memory, found out in the long-run it is more cost-effective to invest in these types of approaches now.

The Expanding Battle Field 

The Internet of things, or any device that has potential to connect to the Internet, has been growing at an annual average rate of 17.5 percent. If estimations are correct, by the year 2020 there will be over 100 billion devices on the Internet all with the capability of being a potential route for an attack. Hacking networks through smart appliances etc isn’t just sic-fi paranoia. We are seeing more examples of these types of attacks all the time and manufacturers of these items often times fail to thoroughly explore these security vulnerabilities.

Opportunities for creative attacks will only increase along with the increase in size of the Internet of things. Cyber security efforts really need to be focused on quick response times. There are too many access points today for anyone to be able to consistently prevent every type of attack. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding cyber security and IT. In the ever-expanding landscape of cyber attacks, the proliferation of information is our best weapon.

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