You don’t have to increase spending to improve cybersecurity, but every business can be more strategic about what they spend where.
The future of cybersecurity is coming at us quickly.
It’s almost impossible to be off-grid.
Virtually everything is somehow connected to the internet, from the smart fridge in your kitchen to satellites in space.
There are now more devices in the world than there are people, with billions of access points.
Technology is now a given for newer generations, yet cybersecurity can’t keep pace as it currently exists.
As our level of connectedness continues to advance, it will be AI and big data that shape cybersecurity.
Every device has a vulnerability
All forms of technology have inherent weaknesses.
This became incredibly apparent with the emergence of IoT.
Many new technological platforms had no security built into them, and even if defence measures existed, they were easily forgotten.
When no upgrades or future installments are made, we forget as consumers who are behind the devices in our homes and offices.
It is essential that we have the ability to retrieve updates in real-time because otherwise, the vulnerabilities are considerable.
It’s easy to assume that no one is interested in your Wi-Fi baby monitor, without realizing that hackers can patch themselves from one device in your home to another, such as a home security system.
Hackers have been successful in gaining access to major company databases, simply by accessing the air conditioning system.
Unrelated devices still function along the same networks, and the risk is very real.
There are too many security events for humans to handle
It’s not realistic to expect that every person will update every technological device as needed.
Even the most efficient IT departments struggle to handle the thousands, and sometimes billions (if you’re a powerhouse like IBM), of security events that occur daily.
Some events are minor, such as lost passwords, while others are suspicious activities indicative of a data breach.
If humans were to handle this influx alone, the backlog would greatly hinder any cybersecurity strategy.
This is where AI can augment, prioritize, and automate cybersecurity protocols.
AI can be programmed to handle low-level priority incidents, as well as send high-priority alerts to the right personnel.
AI will become a crucial component of cybersecurity as technology continues to dominate our world.
Soon, there will be no other acceptable another option.
Data is becoming decentralized
With the emergence of the blockchain, AI is even more crucial.
All transactions, all personal and professional data, cryptocurrencies, and more will be stored securely and accessed from anywhere in the world. Big data is the new technological reality, and it won’t be long until blockchain is commonplace.
With the future of cybersecurity promoting more connectedness than ever, it has become more apparent that security updates are not enough.
In fact, even AI and big data won’t be enough to mitigate risk.
The wider the technological landscape becomes; the more opportunities hackers will have.
As technology advances, it will be essential that cybersecurity is powered by hardware.
Rather than an afterthought, cybersecurity will have to be embedded into our devices to be efficient.
Otherwise, there is simply not enough human or artificial power to protect every device out there.
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing Canada businesses. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.
The world is connected to a variety of diverse digital landscapes, ranging from app usage to credit cards, and this level of connectivity is such that it is unwise for any organization to ignore global cybersecurity risks.
Regardless of industry, every organization is at risk of malicious attempts to enter a private security network, and the location is irrelevant.
The Equifax breach is an excellent example: Although the cyber attack predominantly affected those in the US, millions in Canada were susceptible to the breach as well.
All businesses must prepare against the inevitability of malicious cyber attacks, particularly as technology continues to advance on a global scale.
Organizations aren’t prepared for GDPR
Despite advanced warnings regarding the implementation of new cybersecurity standards, many organizations are still unsure of how to manage changes that will ensure compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The new regulation – scheduled to take effect on 25 May 2018 – demands that organizations handle personal data differently, but how those organizations ensure compliance is another matter entirely.
Resources are being pulled in different directions, and time will need to be set aside to educate stakeholders.
This primarily affects those businesses that engage in international trade, and an understanding of what is necessary to comply with the GDPR will help enhance cybersecurity when doing business with international clients.
The Internet of Things (IoT) poses a threat
Concerns surrounding the level of security among IoT devices has been discussed many times, but there is little forward progress in addressing the problem.
Although such devices add a level of convenience, they could provide the opening that a hacker needs to gain access to sensitive information.
Organizations that utilize IoT devices without the proper security infrastructure are susceptible to unmanaged risks, as it will become harder to track what – and how – information is transferrable.
IoT compromises security and no organization is immune.
The supply chain remains a weakness
Many organizations have a firm grip on their own cybersecurity practices, but knowledge of the existing infrastructure of third-party vendors is not as common.
Hackers are capable of taking advantage of this weakness in the supply chain, thereby gaining access to your IT infrastructure.
Unfortunately, when it comes to global business, the supply chain is a critical component of a successful operation.
Organizations must address the security risks between their international suppliers and take proactive measures that will prevent or at least minimize breaches.
The advance of breakthrough technology surpasses security spending
One of the most prominent concerns relating to international cybersecurity is the global tech war.
Individual countries are determined to produce the best in technological advances, without addressing security concerns applicable to those devices or systems.
Information security teams are expected to keep up with such developments, but the development of a robust cybersecurity strategy takes time.
Risks must be assessed holistically within the organization to close any gaps that hackers could leverage.
Stakeholders are demanding results, but they must understand that the best technology will pose a threat to the entire business if the end result is not secure.
International preparedness is the only way to mitigate international security risks. Individual organizations are only single elements of the global economy, and in a digital world, there are virtually no limits to the damage a single breach can cause. Malicious cyberattacks are an international concern, particularly as criminal organizations become more prominent. The international sharing of technology can boost the world economy, but the cybersecurity risks will grow as well.
A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy requires multiple tools, none of which should be considered optional.
Many companies lack key components of strong security infrastructure, leaving them open to malicious attacks and breaches of sensitive information.
Proper cybersecurity measures can no longer exist as repairs alone, managing attacks as they occur.
This tactic is not only outdated, but it can completely destroy a company.
Vulnerability management is critical to your success, exposing and managing risks before an attack occurs.
What is Vulnerability Management?
Vulnerability management (VM) is the process of identifying cybersecurity threats and reducing exposure to those threats, rather than addressing software gaps after the damage has already been done.
VM is a form of quality assurance, a means of preventing problems before they can occur and uncovering weaknesses within a system configuration.
Once you are alert to potential problems, you can proactively address security risks, to protect assets.
Why Should I Implement Vulnerability Management Solutions?
Regardless of business size, industry, or location, you are at risk to cyber-attacks.
Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses in particular, aware that these businesses tend to lack proper cybersecurity precautions.
Cybersecurity, when viewed as a routine chore rather than a serious issue, can result in the failure of your entire business.
VM is a vital component of any cybersecurity strategy, and combatting attacks preemptively should rank high on your IT to-do list.
VM also helps in establishing a standardized process in identifying risks.
- Discovery – This is the process of categorizing each of your computer assets to determine where they currently fall. What assets are configurations and which ones are patches? Identify which assets are currently in compliance or are vulnerable, with the understanding that your network is likely to change frequently.
- Reporting – The raw data gathered in the discovery phase is of little use without available IT to interpret. Generate reports that speak to upper management or operations departments, outlining the greatest risks.
- Prioritization – Once the data is interpreted, you must prioritize what risks need to be mitigated and when. This offers IT guidelines on how resources should be applied in the configuration of new systems.
- Risk response – This is how an organization chooses to address the present weaknesses, whether they are corrections, reductions, or some acceptance of risk.
Will Vulnerability Management Solve My Security Problems?
No security system is infallible, but VM is the foundation of a strong cybersecurity strategy.
Proper mitigation of risks requires continuous effort, regular scans, and management oversight.
Understanding the vulnerabilities in the context of your organization will help secure your sensitive information, as well as run an effective cybersecurity program.
Every organization must take responsibility for mitigating risk in every way possible.
Vulnerability management is a key part of a comprehensive cyber risk mitigation strategy.
The ITeam can help you determine where you’re at risk and what steps you need to take now. Contact us today for more information.
One of the most sobering news reports of this year for businesses was the announcement that approximately 190,000 organizations in over 170 countries had been hit by a massive, coordinated, ransomware cyber-attack. Not all of these businesses were disrupted, but many faced significant losses, and it is doubtless that some will go out of business as a result. Such an incident highlights something we have said repeatedly:
Disaster data recovery is critical to all businesses, no matter their size, and the former causes of such recovery efforts no longer define the parameters of business need. Simply put, in our new technological age, each and every organization faces the real possibility of a catastrophic event that could compromise its data integrity and threaten its very existence.
The key issue is expeditious data and IT systems recovery. The businesses that were not impacted significantly by the recent cyber-attack were those that had robust protection and data recovery systems in place; those that suffered the most damage lacked one or the other critical component. Importantly, it is not just financial loss or blackmail that causes difficulty and irreparable harm. It is also the blow to a business’s reputation and the attending fear and anxiety generated among customers and employees.
The following are common misperceptions that hinder companies’ ability to take the necessary measures to strengthen their cybersecurity and survive catastrophic events of various kinds:
Solid Cybersecurity is Cost-Prohibitive
In the past, even only a few decades ago, implementing system improvements robust enough to provide solid data backup and recovery might have been exorbitant. Deploying and maintaining additional, physical data centers and managing redundant networks, servers, print materials, storage centers, and all other necessary measures was daunting, if not completely overwhelming. Advances in technology have increased the likelihood of cyber-attacks, but they also have provided solutions that are affordable and manageable.
In particular, cloud-based data recovery provides an excellent option for all businesses, but it is particularly advantageous for smaller companies that might not have been able to dream of cybersecurity only a few years ago. Disaster-recovery-as-a-service (or DRaaS) is a remarkably secure option.
Since DRaaS allows for payment based on storage units, you have the ability to contract only for the amount of assistance you need – meaning smaller businesses can recover data at a proportionately lower cost. Given the costs of traditional, physical data backup and recovery, DRaaS is a much more cost-effective alternative, and it is often more secure, since it is administered by professionals in the field.
On-Site Server Backup is Adequate
Traditional, physical backup presents serious problems for a number of reasons. The most common are:
- They are subject to the same natural disasters that would compromise the primary data systems if housed locally.
- They are subject to the same cyber attack vulnerability if administered internally.
- Recovery and restoration generally take much longer to complete, and every hour, day, and a week without data is significant for most businesses.
The Business is Too Small to Be a Cyberattack Target
If there is one thing that has become apparent with the most recent cyber-attacks, it is that many hackers view small to mid-sized businesses as excellent sources of moderate income (enough to keep their operations running while they target bigger corporations) and also as good testing grounds for development of strategies to attack larger companies. Company size simply is not a reasonable factor in this day and age.
Minor Downtime is Manageable
Downtime, particularly when it occurs somewhat regularly, can impact businesses in multiple ways, many of them tied directly to revenue. Of particular concern in our modern economy is the increasing customer expectation of immediate communication, input, delivery, etc. In survey after survey, more than half of the respondents (in some cases nearly 70 percent) state that they consider even small amounts of downtime to be their top frustration and would consider frequenting a different business. This is certainly true of potential, new customers, but it also applies to established customers, particularly if even minor downtime occurs more than once.
Modern businesses no longer have the luxury of ignoring disaster data recovery. They simply must consider how to incorporate such systems into their core business plans. Fortunately, DRaaS is available to address this new reality, and The ITeam stands ready to help make disaster data recovery an affordable part of your enhanced business model. Contact us today for more information.
Suite 200, 1210 8 Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1L3
Suite 200, 1210 8 Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1L3
(Mountain Standard Time)
The ITeam $$ (403) 750-2540 Calgary, AB5
stars"The ITeam provides peace of mind with high level security and superb customer service." - Jeff B.