Table of Contents

Introduction

Digital Transformation (DX) is a must for growth and expansion of any business. But with the expansion of the technology footprint it also dramatically increases the risk of a cyberattack. When you consider the increase in risk, there is a need for specialized IT professionals that can manage the complexities of keeping organizations secure. That widening skill gap has put a big strain on a business’s cybersecurity posture and budget to manage the risk of a cyber attack. According to a study done by the Allianz Group Cybersecurity is one of the top 3 business risks in 2019; understanding how to approach and mitigate the risk will be a top priority for executives over the next three years. 

This article looks at why cybersecurity is one of the top business risks in 2020, provides resources on what to look for to protect your business from attacks, and solutions to monitor and prevent attacks.

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Digital Transformation Increases Cybersecurity Risks

As your organization’s Digital Transformation (DX) matures, the opportunities for attackers to wreak havoc increases, due to a dramatic increase in the attack surface available to them. Cloud, mobility, IoT, AI and big data come together to leave organizations open to increased vulnerabilities, so it's important to compliment your DX strategy with a strong Cybersecurity plan to not only keep your organization secure but to avoid technical debt down the road.

As decision-makers continue to drive their organization’s digital transformation, adopt new technologies, and modify their business processes, their Cybersecurity risk rises exponentially. 85 percent of CISOs report significant business impact due to security issues during digital transformation (Cisco).

At the same time, IT professionals with a Cybersecurity skill set are becoming more specialized and are in shorter supply than ever before. That’s not the only concern though; 42 percent of companies fear losing IT staff to competitors that are seen as more innovative. (Couchbase)

As Cybersecurity risks increase in both frequency and complexity, it’s a climate that’s ripe for Cybercriminals to take advantage of unprepared companies.   

To find out more about how to ensure your organization is secure as you go through Digital Transformation, read our article: Digital Transformation: Raising the Bar on Cybersecurity Risk

 

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Is Your Organization Prepared For A Cybersecurity Attack?

As organizations execute their digital transformation initiatives, the more they need to prioritize cybersecurity. Knowing the impact that a cyber attack can have on your business is important, but information alone won’t stop the threats facing your business. It’s easy to think you’re ready for anything that you may come up against, but it’s quite sobering to consider that 73% of companies are unprepared for a cybersecurity attack. With all that it takes to run a business, unfortunately, it’s common for Cybersecurity to become an oversight. Cybersecurity breaches don’t just affect large corporations and billion-dollar businesses ⁠— in fact, nearly half of all cyberattacks are committed against small businesses, according to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance. Although many small companies may be unprepared, it’s worth remembering that some simply cannot enforce a bulletproof Cybersecurity plan due to the talent shortage.

Cybersecurity risks increase because of the talent shortage

A company may struggle with Cybersecurity due to the aforementioned lack of specialized staff, which can leave them open to all manner of threats. As organizations pursue their transformation, they expand the use of different technologies, implement new business processes and start collecting enormous amounts of data creating the perfect storm for increased attacks. In order to manage these risks, it's more important than ever to have the right teams in place. This demand has put ever growing pressure on the cybersecurity talent pool, driving up salaries. Even if budget is not an issue, your organization will still need to attract, hire and retain skilled IT security experts. Because technology is constantly evolving, IT teams need continuous training to ensure they understand the latest emerging technologies and threats. Leaders need to put strategies in place to combat this challenge in order to keep their organizations secure. Without a strategy, your organization will be left open to monetary and reputational damage.

Some organizations are looking outside their walls and outsourcing security monitoring to a managed security service provider. An MSSP can close the skills and staffing gap and provide 24/7 support for your company. By utilizing the latest in security technology and AI to constantly monitor your systems, your assets can be guarded vigilantly.  To learn more about the benefits of this service, and how it can help your business stay ready to tackle threats, take a look at our article, Preventing a Breach: Is Your Corporate Infrastructure Covered?. Further down we will be discussing Cybersecurity monitoring in even more detail.

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Protect your Business From Data Breaches

In 2018 we saw a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks, phishing attacks and a large increase in business email attacks.  With an average cost of $3.62 million for an enterprise and $2.2 million for a small or mid-sized company, breaches present a huge threat to all businesses. Not only do breaches affect the bottom line they also deeply affect customer trust. It's more important than ever to understand what to look for to protect your business from an attack.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t realize a breach has taken place until it's too late. There are many reasons this could happen; such as lack of security training for the entire staff, lack of the right IT resources or even the attitude that “it's not going to happen to me”. No matter the reason each one leaves your organization open to a potentially devastating attack. 

Common cyber attacks that all employees at organizations need to be aware of are:

  1. Ransomware Attacks - This is where attackers lock and encrypt user’s data rendering it inaccessible. Once the data is locked, the attacker reaches out and demands to be compensated. Until the demands are met and even after, the data is often lost. 
  2. Internal Phishing Attacks - Involves emails from one trusted user to another. Often times employees are targeted with seemingly legitimate financial transfer requests. Once the transaction is initiated the currency is gone for good. 
  3. Insider Attacks - When most organizations are focused on external attacks, there is another potential attacker waiting. This can often be a disgruntled employee that has access to customer data or systems. Often times the employee will steal data and share it with competitors. 

All these attacks can affect anyone at your organization and each one of these methods presents its own unique way to cause mayhem, but each one can also be prevented. In order to protect your business, you need to know what to look for. In our latest whitepaper 10 Cybersecurity Risks Most Executives Miss, we explore the red flags executives should look for in order to identify if your company is at risk for a cyber attack. 

Technical Steps to Take In Order to Prevent Cyber Attacks

The attacks outlined above can often be prevented by education and looking out for signs that your company may be at risk. But what about the technical stack your security teams need to detect and stop malware attacks?

There are five protocols that need to be implemented in order to gain visibility and prevent attacks.

  1. Implement Endpoint Protection
  2. Add Intrusion Detection & Intrusion Prevention to the organization’s security stack
  3. Decrypt your traffic
  4. Collect and correlate the data with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
  5. Implement AI or machine learning to process the data

We go into more detail about how these 5 protocols can find and prevent attacks in a recent article The 5 Steps IT Specialists Must Take In Order to Prevent Malware Attacks

As these attacks get more complicated, the IT security skills gap widens and running an in-house Security Operations Center is not feasible, it begins to make sense to start looking for alternatives to protect your business. One of those alternatives is a SOC-as-a-Service, that manages the technology and staff to ensure your business is protected 24/7 365 days a year. 

 

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Security Operations Center (SOC) as a Service

At first glance, Cybersecurity could be considered something that only large corporations need to worry about, but as we covered previously, it’s important for small and mid-size businesses to address as well.  If you have data online, have an online presence, or you rely on technology to operate, your business could come under attack.

Small to mid-sized companies could face losing a staggering $2.2 million due to attacks that likely could have been stopped with a strong cybersecurity setup. The financial losses are not only incurred by the attack, but also due to the  hidden costs of a data breach.

While cyber threats increase and hackers evolve the ways they penetrate networks, the increase for qualified, top IT talent becomes more competitive. It's become difficult to find and retain the right talent in order to keep your organization secure. Even if you are lucky enough to have the budget and find the right talent, will you be able to ensure they have the right training and the ability to keep them up to date on emerging trends to be successful?

More and more companies are looking outside of their internal IT departments and partnering with an MSSP that specializes in Cybersecurity monitoring. These companies have found ways to remove the following challenges of trying to manage their security in-house:

  1. Utilization - Most organizations can’t handle the spikes and valleys, you will need to be able to staff around the clock. A highly skilled person is needed to monitor and assess the vulnerabilities, you can not take generic IT operations employees and put them into a security center operations center. Therefore it becomes very expensive to maintain the staff to cover a 24/7 365 day schedule. A SOC as a Service has multiple clients, therefore can spread the cost across their client base. This ensures the proper coverage as well as decreases the cost to a single customer.

  2. Finding and retaining talent - Because the market is so competitive, finding and retaining staff is a challenge. These highly trained experts may get bored and leave. It's important to retain staff by keeping them engaged, compensated and trained. A high performing SOC-as-a-Service has processes in place in order to retain and train the best talent.

  3. Alert Triage - The final pitfall a SOC-as-a-Service has solved for is alert triage - 90% of alerts will be false positives. You need AI and automation to help manage this. Without automation, employees get burned out looking at the same alerts day in and day out. This can often lead to people leaving the organization or cause errors in solving for the alert. 

Organizations like TBConsulting not only understand how to technically secure corporate infrastructures, we have processes in place to acquire and retain top IT talent ensuring that at any time we have visibility of our client security vulnerabilities.

Take a look at how a cybersecurity managed service provider can help empower and secure your digital transformation.

Not sure your organization is secure? Access our cybersecurity risk diagnostic to receive a free report that identifies potential vulnerabilities.

 

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