As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories, Christopher Prewitt of Inversion6 brings us the five pillars that every IT security team should have to hold their castle in the cloud.
Like a medieval castle, protecting our IT assets once meant digging deeper and wider moats to ward off invaders. Today, there is no castle. Our people and our information are as dispersed as the attackers trying to exploit them – and like an old moat with nothing to protect, traditional methods of protection are largely obsolete against modern forms of attack.
Over the past 12 years, we’ve seen an explosion of new security solutions to combat these new types of threats. Some estimates have shown an increase from 100 solution providers to over 23,000 worldwide between 2010 and 2022. Today, we have a soup of security solution acronyms – EDR, DLP, CASB, SSL, IPS, ATP, SIEM, ZTNA, CSPM, CWPP, ML, SWG – and yet attackers continue to deliver faster, bigger and more successful strikes. . Why?
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In the modern workplace, our data and systems are free to move and travel. We share and collaborate not only with our colleagues, but also with our partners, suppliers and customers. Modern businesses cannot manufacture, transact, charge, or collect money without partners. Our businesses are part of a vast network of intertwined data, a network that increasingly extends to our personal lives as well. This new reality makes “data security” in the traditional sense a nearly impossible task.
And yet, some things don’t change. A successful IT security strategy always starts with a solid assessment of your operating environment and your risks, so you can properly align your IT investments. Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, but most share the same modern risks.
With that in mind, here are some areas to prioritize in your IT security strategy.
- Strong security awareness A good security awareness at all levels of any organization is essential to protect data and prevent threats. Unfortunately, IT professionals aren’t always the best communicators. Short, engaging content, free of acronyms or “IT language,” will help your organization create a culture of personal accountability. Establishing this base of understanding will make the technical aspects of computer security easier and more effective.
- Enhanced endpoint detection Attackers gaining access to a corporate laptop are the most common source of serious security incidents. In fact, research has shown that over 80% of successful breaches begin by compromising a device that’s being used outside of a corporate firewall or other network security device. Traditional virus protection products have been dead for many years, but most users are still one click away from being compromised. This makes a solid endpoint product one of the most critical security investments you can make.
- Powerful phishing prevention Anti-Phishing and Email Compromise Prevention innovations include new APIs that can leverage the power of AI to detect threats using historical data. Meanwhile, an enhanced scanning tool can help identify compromised emails from vendor and partner businesses as well as “insider to insider” threats.
- Improved security credentials With no defined network walls or perimeters, usernames and passwords have become our primary line of defense against attack. Unfortunately, most are easily guessed or widely reused. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) attempts to shore up these vulnerabilities, but MFA bypasses are all the rage with attackers in 2022. Given this reality, more robust tools such as conditional access, zero-trust models, and checks detection with automated responses are worth serious consideration.
- Investment in mobile protection Many organizations use rugged Android mobile devices for field service, distribution, and logistics. Of course, attackers took notice and started looking for ways to exploit these devices. Traditional mobile device management solutions rely on “secure configurations” to lock down or wipe devices in the event of an attack, but they are unable to identify specific security threats on a device. Some new solutions are now coming to market with promises of more sophisticated controls. This is a growing area of risk management, and it is worth following these developments closely.
We may have run out of castles to protect, but a good enterprise mobility strategy is always about developing a thoughtful plan to mitigate risk. By aligning resources to fight common attacks, moving from preventative to detective controls, and investing in a culture of security, you can create a thriving IT security infrastructure, one that will continue to work for you, and not against you, as your business grows.
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