Network security is now a more pressing concern for businesses than ever before. Indeed, the concern around security/compliance has been found to be business’ #1 barrier to deciding to adopt the cloud, and last year, a report from Cisco estimated that one million cybersecurity jobs would appear in 2016, highlighting a level of investment and dedication not yet witnessed.
What, though, can companies do to help ensure that they are protected against enormously damaging breaches? We take a look at how organizations can help ensure their networks, sensitive data and other critical infrastructure are safeguarded from the huge number of threats now in play.
Be sure to automate
How can IT security departments manually detect threats when users, devices and applications generate such an enormous number of network connections, data transactions and application requests? Indeed, it’s like finding a particular needle in a large stack of needles.
Here’s where security information and event management (SIEM) software comes in, allowing businesses to centralise syslogs and events from network devices, servers, applications, databases and users, while also helping to automate threat detection and offering corrective responses to mitigate risk.
Automation is just one of the vital tools in the fight against security threats, with firewalls, anti-malware, and threat intelligence all having a part to play.
Get your framework in place
A comprehensive security framework is an absolute must for helping to ensure the safety of your organization’s IT. With an audit of the available inventory, from the types of transactions to BYOD policies and account roles, your company can get the framework off on the right foot.
An IT security framework is only achievable with a significant degree of cooperation, with management, IT and many other business departments all playing a part. Indeed, it only ends with the technology used, and is comprised of the organization working together to evolve and help ensure better security standards.
Keep an eye on endpoint devices
A flexible workforce is becoming a more pressing need for the modern enterprise, with employers and employees keen to make use of the freedom this approach can offer. Yet such an approach represents a threat. Say an employee with malicious intent and access to confidential data on their laptop decided to share this, how could you stop it?
By monitoring all endpoint devices, from laptops, to mobile devices to a USB drive, you can help ensure sensitive data is not leaving your environment. For example, if a USB device is ejected/blocked automatically as soon as any nefarious activities take place, and corrective action, such as account blocking, is implemented then you can minimize the impact of an attack.
Keep insider threats at bay
The example used in the previous entry on this list – of a malicious employee – highlights that the most damaging security compromise can sometimes happen from the inside. By monitoring which users attempt to access sensitive data, as well as network traffic, logs and credentials you can identify and combat any insider threats, with monitoring able to flag any user attempting to access something they shouldn’t.
Analytics are a must
The importance of gaining insights from your data using analytics cannot be overstated. With access to real-time network data, a business can identify and act upon suspicious network activity, seeing whether there are seemingly threatening connection requests from outside sources, or an increase in web traffic activity on a critical router or firewall.
Data-driven analysis can also help investigate the cause of an attack after the fact. If you’re unlucky enough to have been breached, then analytics are vital in discovering how it happened through root-cause analysis, and will help you figure out how to prevent it in the future.
Be PCI DSS compliant
By being compliant with regulatory standards, your business not only helps to ensure better data protection, but also helps avoid fines or even criminal charges. This is a particular concern in the payment card industry, for example, where data breaches can mean compromising data from millions of credit cards.
Complying with standards such as PCI DSS can help ensure all of the above. However, being compliant does not mean you can rest on your laurels, so make sure to leverage this obligation to actually increase security, instead of just trying to tick the box for a regulator. There are many ways you can do this, for example, if you are required to produce a report of all admin activity, have your internal security team review it as well. Make sure you get the most out of being compliant.
While there are a number of other steps businesses can take to help ensure IT security is in the right place, from enabling threat intelligence to practicing knowledge sharing, the above tips should stand your organization in good stead for the threats that lay ahead.
With the right preparation, people, strategy and tools, your company can be confident that it is ready to overcome the new challenges it is likely to face.