Cybersecurity Strategy

By Vishal Grover, Vice President, Infrastructure and Security, apexanalytix

The cybersecurity domain has evolved significantly over the past decade. Organizations have become increasingly aware of threats; companies are implementing technology and business process solutions to protect their information.

Maintaining a balance between security and productivity is essential. Understanding the business is crucial when it comes to an ideal security framework. Every organization is different, and so are its business needs and security protocols. For any product-based organization, success relies not only on the efficiency and effectiveness of its products but also on how safe and secure they are.

Cybersecurity needs to be integrated into day-to-day operations and SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) processes. Everyone touching the product must think about cybersecurity from a business and technology standpoint.

The recommendations provided in this article offer a foundation for a solid cybersecurity framework that is fundamental for every organization.

#1 – Identity Access Management

In this fast-changing environment, protecting a user’s identity is vital. The threat landscape has grown to an extent where following the security principles is must. It also lays the foundation for data protection.

Identity protection includes preventing, detecting, and remediating the organization’s user identity risks. Identity protection is categorized into two risk types.

  • User risk – Modern security systems are intelligent and advanced enough to monitor user behavior, including location, type of data being accessed, etc.
  • Sign-in risk – Most of the systems these days can detect sign-in risks and can perform validations like MFA (Multifactor Authentication) or block access depending on the incident. Risk can be based on a bad reputation IP (Internet Protocol) address, credential leakage, or the type of data being accessed.

In practical application, operations ease must be considered. Modern-day systems categorize these risks into high, medium and low severity, which helps Information Technology (IT) admins prioritize. Machine learning applied around user behavior plays a vital role in identifying the above risks.

Password Policies – Implementing strong password policies can be the first line of defense and it is highly recommended for every organization.

MFA – Maintaining strong passwords is not enough to protect a user’s identity. Combining passwords with another form of authentication is multifactor authentication. Implementing MFA increases the difficulty for cybercriminals seeking control over an organization’s network. Organizations are implementing MFA more successfully than ever before. As adoption of MFA grows, the threat landscape is altered, forcing threat actors to find new ways of compromising networks rather than leveraging stolen credentials. MFA can reduce the risk of several attack types, including ransomware, data theft, business email compromise (BEC), and server access.

#2 – Governance Strategy

In addition to security policies, organizations must maintain a robust governance strategy. Many organizations are implementing zero-trust policies, but before you decide on your security framework, evaluate your business needs first. As mentioned before, there is no “one size fits all” solution in cybersecurity. An organization must be thoughtful about the security framework and policies and strike the appropriate balance between ease of business operations and cybersecurity.

Governance strategy should encompass three crucial aspects.

  • Regulated permissions – Follow the most restricted approach when it comes to granting
  • Keeping access non-persistent – Permissions must be grated at the time of need Organizations must automate this process to ensure it is not an overhead for your IT teams.
  • Periodic user access reviews – Permissions should be reviewed at lead

#3 – Asset and Device Protection:

Any device that is connected to a network is considered an endpoint; it is a point of entry for threat actors to an organization’s network. Endpoints remain the entry and exit points to move throughout the organization. Cybercriminals can cause disruptions to the business in various forms of attacks like ransomware Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attacks etc. These attacks are intended to block legitimate users from performing their day-to-day tasks.

Endpoints are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks as organization workforces have become more mobile.

Therefore, endpoint protection becomes a critical element of the cybersecurity framework. Endpoint protection is an approach to protect all network-connected devices from malware, viruses, data breaches and other cyber-attacks. IT teams are expected to protect data, intellectual property, and sensitive information on the endpoint.

Most modern, sophisticated, endpoint protection solutions include threat protections that receive information from third-party threat intelligence sources. Using these solutions can help of prevent, detect, or remediate endpoint attacks. Automation facilitates one of the most important factors in combatting attacks: speed. Whether identifying and eradicating threat actors before they can deploy ransomware on a network or quickly and efficiently resolving issues to create bandwidth for the next incident, speed is of the essence. In this fast-paced environment, security automation is vital— outsourcing to machines tasks that take a human analyst or team hours and identifying mechanisms for improving workflows.

Modern day endpoint protection is divided into three categories

  • Endpoint protection platform (EPP) – Protection of network-connected
  • Endpoint detection and Response (EDR) – Offers more granularity and
  • Extended detection and response (XDR) – Greater visibility, gathering and correlating threat data using analytics.

Asset and device protection also includes patching and upgrade protocols and vulnerability management programs.

Organizations follow different processes to keep their systems on the latest and greatest version. Applying patches regularly is another essential element towards solid security framework. This process must also include removing the unsupported or legacy software. Many compromises happen because of unpatched systems or legacy software with a security vulnerability.

A disciplined program of vulnerability management is fundamental to cybersecurity. Organizations must have a system to ensure the vulnerabilities are detected and remediated as soon as possible. Time is always of the essence when it comes to malware attacks and breaches.

As the sophistication of threats escalates, organizations must implement these fundamental practices and revisit them on a regular basis. The consequences to weak controls can be dramatic. A breach for an organization can be devastating in multiple ways. The impact could be in various forms data loss, monetary loss, or reputational loss. There are techniques, technology, and best practices that simultaneously protect the valuable data of an organization, while still allowing it to operate smoothly and efficiently.

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