Digital transformation has introduced us to a wide array of technologies such as SMAC, IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing etc.
Millions of users across the globe are generating a huge pool of data; however Internet users are wary of sharing their personal details online.
Hence, enterprises need to address the rising demand of cybersecurity in order to increase customer loyalty and brand value.
What is cybersecurity?
Software applications, mobile and desktop, request permission of users to access their personal details like photos, call logs, etc.
Cybersecurity is a combination of technologies, processes and practices designed to safeguard networks, computers, programs as well as personal data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access.
Elements of Cybersecurity
Application security refers to using software, hardware, and procedural methods for protecting applications from malicious external threats.
Security has gradually become an increasingly important issue that enterprises must address while development because applications are now accessible over various networks. Therefore, software applications have become highly vulnerable to a wide range of threats.
Applications must include in-built security features as well as a foolproof application security routine to minimize the likelihood of gaining unauthorized access and manipulating applications to access, modify, steal or delete sensitive user data.
Information security caters to risk management. Sensitive information must be secured - it cannot be altered, modified or transferred without permission.
For example, a message could be altered during transmission by a person who intercepts it before the message is received by the intended user. Cryptography tools avoid this security threat.
Digital signatures enhance information security by improving authenticity processes and asking individuals to prove their identity before gaining access to the stored data.
Network security refers to activities that are specifically designed to protect Internet users. It protects the usability, reliability, integrity, and safety of network data. Effective network security prevents users from various threats and prevents them from entering your network.
Many network security threats today are present over the Internet. Common threats include:
- Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses
- Zero-day attacks, also called zero-hour attacks
- Spyware and adware
- Hacker attacks
- Data interception/theft
- Denial of service attacks
- Identity theft
Corrupt data resulting from hardware failure, human error, hacking or malware could be a significant loss for enterprises. A data backup plan and restoration of saved electronic information is crucial. Enterprises should develop an IT disaster recovery plan along with the usual business plans.
Priorities and recovery time objectives should be developed while considering the business impact analysis. Strategies of technology recovery aim at restoring hardware, applications and data timely to address business recovery needs.
Enterprises must think like a malicious attacker in order to devise data security strategies.
Trainings of IT security awareness aim at greater problems that do not require a pure technology solution. Enterprises can divide the trainings into two categories: general and specialized. The former is suitable for all employees irrespective of their role. The latter focuses on specific skills, relevant for only few employees.
For example, general security training focuses on educating employees about IT policies; contact person in cases of security threats, and rules for handling confidential company information.
The IT revolution has brought immense change in the ways we communicate, produce, exchange goods, and entertain ourselves. However, the biggest challenge is that the software is vulnerable to malicious attacks. Every individual is connected virtually nowadays.
Digital equipment, gadgets, and devices are surrounding us. An average household has a wide variety of networked devices; the number is predicted to rise in the coming years.
There is not a single factory/enterprise/industry that is not using computerized/automated control systems.
Therefore, cybersecurity is at a greater risk than the yesteryears.
Despite all efforts of law enforcement and IT security measures, there isn’t a single widely used operating system that is 100% secure.
This means software is being developed without paying much attention to its associated risks in the real world.
We already know about several security technologies and the technical know-how of how networks and devices can be secured. However, these technologies and approaches are not yet widely implemented.
Forbes mentioned in its article titled “Cyber Crime Costs Projected To Reach $2 Trillion by 2019” that ‘Crime wave’ is an understatement when you consider the costs that businesses are suffering as a result of cyber crime.”
The cost estimate of about $100 billion for companies’ loss due to hacking has been disputed as the actual numbers were ten times higher.
MNC banks, federal agencies etc. suffered huge losses due to cyberthreats; however, it does not mean that all businesses are safe. Microsoft stated that 20% of small to mid sized businesses have been cyber crime targets.
Experts have predicted that cyber crimes will increase up to $175 billion by 2020. Even, the cyberinsurance industry is expected to grow up $7.5 billion by 2020.
Evaluating Cybersecurity solutions
Gartner defines threat intelligence as “evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications and actionable advice, about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets that can be used to inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.”
Actually, threat intelligence is not just informational. Security professionals have access to a great deal of information in the form of security alerts, log files, etc. Enterprises must equip their security teams with multiple technologies to analyze this information accurately. Threat Intelligence includes following types:
Tactical: It learns about threats from external sources that are directly linked to an enterprise; it generates a lot of information about all kinds of possible external cybersecurity threats.
Unfortunately, enterprises lack analytical skills to act upon these threats immediately.
Unless you do not have intelligent systems to consume the information automatically and take immediate action, it is not business intelligence.
An ideal tactical threat intelligence system must suggest immediate action for firewalls, malware protection, web gateways, email security, as well as intrusion prevention.
Contextual: This system adds relevance to the specific cyber threat. Financial services need to stay abreast with the threats targeting your sector. Few enterprises structure data across varied security technologies to correlate data to ensure delivery of accurate information.
Automated: Automated threat intelligence systems share content between trusted entities to support faster collaboration and business decision making. An API can allow communication to and from a device easily.
Enterprises must reduce Time To Detection and Time to Remediation. For this purpose, intelligence must be shared across the extended network including connected devices. Boost security technologies with the help of actionable intelligence and organization-specific security solutions.
Want to seriously consider about cyber security? The following measures will ensure the safety of your IT systems and software technology:
- Employee training: The first step is to establish security policies; employee trainings must be organized to help them utilize the IT systems, protect confidential business data, and prevent malicious attacks. Basic instructions for Internet safety include:
- Do not open attachments from suspicious mails
- Type URLs in the search bar rather than clicking on links
- Use strong passwords for each account. A strong password is a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters like #,*,$ etc.
- Enforce penalties for employees that break these security policies
- Firewalls, anti-virus protection: Install firewalls and anti-virus software on each computer within the organization. In addition, set automatic updates and checks for the anti-virus software; updates can be scheduled at a specific time. Moreover, the scanning processes can be scheduled to detect viruses and other malware often.
- Secure company-owned devices: All mobile devices operated among the organization premises must be equipped with security measures; security measures like data encryption must separate personal data from business data to minimize data loss risks in case a device is stolen or lost.
- Data Backup: All types of businesses can become a target of cybercrime. Several malware types steal organizational data that makes it inaccessible even for employees. Data backups help in quick recovery of lost data; you can recover the data required for your files and continue your work.
- Control admin privileges: Admin privileges must be given to trustworthy and faithful employees only. Those employees who are managing the admin profiles of your company website must have limited access to sensitive information; use strong passwords to protect user accounts. Maintain a log of the complete set of user activities; monitor access activities regularly to detect any attempt of unauthorized access.
Cyber Security is everybody’s responsibility. So, you must take efforts to protect your online data at home as well as at work.