Cyber security is the application of tools, technologies, policies, processes, controls and procedures in the protection or recovery of networks, devices, systems and applications from digital attacks. The digital attacks are aimed at accessing, destroying and altering sensitive data, disrupting workflows and extorting money.
Cyber criminals deploy a broad range of attack types against organizations and individuals in order to compromise data confidentiality, integrity and availability.
- Attacks on confidentiality are designed to steal sensitive information such as PII.
- Attacks on integrity look to sabotage operations and inflict reputational damage.
- Attacks on availability aim to prevent users from accessing data.
At the individual level, an attack could be the precursor for identity theft, extortion and the loss of irreplaceable data such as family photos. At the organization level, a cyberattack could result in data loss, disruption to operations, ransom demands, industrial espionage, regulator censure and loss of reputation.
An integrated, automated approach to cyber security and cyber resilience results accelerates the detection, remediation and investigation of cyber threats.
Why is Cyber Security Important?
Why do we need cyber security? The importance of cyber security is primarily driven by the following factors.
Increasingly Sophisticated Attacks
Attacks are growing in sophistication. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), ransomware, advanced persistent threats and state-sponsored hacking have all made the threat landscape more dangerous than before.
Widely Available Hacking Tools
You no longer need to be an uber geek with years of programming experience to pull off a debilitating cyber attack. The tools and tactics are available online for free. Your cyber attacker today could very well be someone with limited digital skills.
Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) require organizations to deploy security measures to protect sensitive information. Failure to comply may lead to substantial fines and legal action.
Rising Cost of Breaches
Fines and lost business are just one aspect of the rising financial cost of security breaches. There are the expenses that go toward containing the impact, disaster recovery, closing loopholes, acquiring new security systems and repairing the organization’s reputation.
Strategic, Board-Level Concern
A 2019 study of the top 10 risks facing businesses had cyber incidents at number one. This has been further compounded by the string of new regulations that task boards and senior management with driving cyber risk management.
Cyber Crime is Big Business
Cyber attacks may have a social, ethical or political motives. Nevertheless, the vast majority are driven by financial intentions. Cyber crime is a multibillion-dollar industry.
What are the Challenges of Cyber Security?
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet is no longer a network of just routers, switches, servers, computers and printers. It is rapidly giving way to the IoT. Numerous electronic and electric devices are Internet-enabled including refrigerators, televisions, cameras, motor vehicles, washing machines and light bulbs.
While the IoT has created innumerable opportunities for connectedness, it has also introduced gaps of unprecedented scale and number. There are far more potential entry points for attack. Cyber criminals can take over thousands of these devices to unleash a DDoS attack.
Rapidly Evolving Risks
Information technology is arguably the fastest evolving industry in the world. Technology that was state-of-the-art five years ago may be teetering on the brink of obsolescence today. With new technologies come new dangers and new avenues of attack, making it challenging for organizations to keep pace with these changes and update their practices accordingly. This is especially so for smaller organizations that do not have large IT, security and compliance teams.
Collection of Large Quantities of Confidential Data
Organizations capture, process and store enormous quantities of information of confidential information from users a significant proportion of which may be deemed sensitive. Even small enterprises may find themselves in possession of thousands of customer records in just a couple of months.
With more information in their hands, the risk of a cyber criminal stealing the data is an ever-present concern.
Organized and State-Sponsored Hacker Groups
Cyber attacks are no longer the preserve of a computer-savvy individual, clawing away at a company’s cyber defenses while confined to a dark basement. Today’s threat actors are more systematic and organized, ranging from advocacy groups like Anonymous to entire government departments dedicated to cyberespionage, cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the normalization of remote work, demonstrating that many jobs don’t need to be housed in an organization’s office. But remote work comes with cyber risks.
Employees on the road using public WiFi could connect to a rogue hotspot and expose confidential company information to criminals. Working outside the confines of the office also elevates the risk of eavesdropping and device theft.
High Speed Internet
The Internet has for decades now allowed the real-time exchange of data. But the bandwidth has grown dramatically over the years and high speed Internet is widely accessible. This makes it possible for rogue actors to upload vast quantities of data in minutes.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
BYOD policies lower the cost of acquiring organization-owned devices. However, these same devices can be a weak point that introduces malware into the organization. BYOD may not be subjected to the same degree of oversight and control that enterprise-owned gadgets are.
How to Manage Cyber Security
You need multiple strategies, techniques, tools, technologies, practices and services to counter cyberattacks. The following are some of the most important pillars on how to practice cyber security.
Cyber security must have conspicuous buy-in at the highest level of the organization. Employees will be committed to causes that have the explicit support of senior management and the board.
Regular Risk Assessments
Regular cyber risk assessments help identify and evaluate threats while checking whether the controls in place are adequate. It’s a cost-effective and efficient means of proactively protecting your digital assets.
Develop policies and awareness programs that ensure users create passwords that are difficult to predict. Default passwords should be changed before an application or device is deployed into the production environment.
Robust Cyber Security Culture
Most cyber attacks ride on vulnerabilities caused by human errors. Weak passwords, phishing emails, scam calls and malware-laced attachments rely on the actions of a user. Attackers may trick an employee into opening a doorway for unauthorized access.
Every employee must recognize their responsibility as the first line of defense in protecting the organization’s digital assets against cyber attack. This has to be reinforced through regular training. Cyber security should be integrated into the company’s values and vision. There should be incentives and rewards for employees who model the right cyber security behavior.
Integrated Application and Network Security Solutions
The best enterprise security software solutions work in multiple layers to create a solid defense against cyber threats.
Often, an organization will need multiple application and network security solutions to do the job, ranging from intrusion prevention systems to antivirus software. Historically, these solutions were deployed in a reactive, siloed stance that proved ineffective, expensive and complicated. Attackers could exploit gaps.
To have true end-to-end visibility of the threat landscape, application and network security solutions must be integrated to prevent anything from falling through the cracks.
Partner with a Dedicated Cyber Defense Company
The complexities and rapidly evolving cyber dangers can be challenging and time-consuming for the average enterprise. Partnering with a dedicated cyber defense company like Micro Focus allows you to tap into the best cyber security knowledge and expertise available.
A cyber defense company can help drive cyber security into an organization’s fabric and deploy the solutions that are most suitable for the enterprise. Armed with proven cyber resilience software and enterprise security tools, a dedicated cyber security solutions provider can keep your security robust.
Mitigating Cyber Security Risk
In today’s deeply interconnected world, everyone can benefit from cyber security. A successful cyber security program provides defense in depth. That is, several layers of protection spanning networks, servers, devices, applications, databases and data.
There are no guarantees that even the most elaborate strategies will keep your organization immune from attack. However, taking the right action will substantially minimize the odds of attack by making it harder for cyber criminals to breakthrough. By identifying new vulnerabilities, deploying cyber security tools and educating users, cyber security makes the digital environment safer for all.
Micro Focus Cyber Security Solutions
Micro Focus provides a comprehensive digital transformation that addresses cyber resiliency requires integration of cybersecurity throughout the enterprise lifecycle – to protect the business, detect for changing risk surface, and evolve the capability to address with changing threats.
A good cyber security strategy protects your systems, your applications, and your data. You need to ensure that only authorized users can access your systems and that you can track them wherever they go once they are in through strong identity access management. You also need to be able to detect vulnerabilities in your applications – finding any weaknesses that might be exploited. Finally, the privacy of your data – information about your customers, your employees, and your organization’s intellectual property – must be guarded with the highest levels of security.
Protect your data ›
The second part of a good cyber security strategy is to detect when someone is trying to act maliciously against you. This can be very challenging as bad actors become more sophisticated and work in more covert ways to breach your environment. Plus, these advanced threats aren’t limited to the outside. Some breaches begin inside an organization. The average delay in breach detection and containment is 280 days. During this time, the bad actors can be stealing or destroying data and even damaging the systems themselves without anyone knowing.
Detect threats ›
To adequately detect security risks, companies must understand what data they hold and where it resides. Mapping your data enables you to understand its importance, govern it according to applicable regulatory demands, and minimize the risk of non-compliance, theft, and more.
It’s also helpful for security teams to understand individual user behavior. When you understand what someone’s “normal” actions are on the system, it’s easier to identify behaviors that don’t meet the patterns and might be putting the company at risk.
One reason why security teams struggle with detection is that many solutions generate so much data that they create “false positives.” In fact, so much data is generated that it’s often hard to determine what is an actual threat. SOCs just don’t have the time to look at each alert individually and evaluate the risk. That’s why any good solution will have the ability to evaluate and automate responses, and then elevate higher-risk alerts to the security team for action.
A major component of cyber resilience and cyber security is the ability to adapt and evolve your security posture to stay ahead of threats. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. They know that there will eventually be a fix for what worked yesterday, so they’re constantly trying to figure out what will work tomorrow. A cyber resilient organization will anticipate the new attack vectors through threat modeling and work to defend them even before they become a vulnerability.
To evolve requires the ability to quickly deploy and integrate existing and new services, both on-premises and in the cloud. It also requires access to industry intellectual property and best practices – ideally built into the products and tools being used for security. And, it involves being able to rapidly correlate data using mathematical models and machine learning so you can make data-driven decisions.
Evolve your security posture ›
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are important contributors to effective cyber security. With the mountains of data generated by security solutions, the use of systems that can analyze behaviors and risk and automate response can significantly increase an organization’s ability to intelligently adapt to vulnerabilities and attacks.
Ensuring data security is a primary component of both cybersecurity and cyber resiliency. This includes data in both structured and unstructured formats. You need to be able to analyze the data you have, as well as glean important insights so you can stay compliant with privacy and other governmental regulations.
Application security begins in your application development process. Testing needs to be scalable, flexible for on-premises or on-demand, and integrate with your DevOps. It should include developer-friendly processes and the code should be easily navigable.
Identity and access management
Identity and access management is the ability to manage the “who” (employees, customers) and “what” (devices, services) that access your systems and data. It enables you to develop trusted identities with the right level of access. Knowing the normal patterns of these identities makes it easier to identify when abnormal patterns appear.
Security operations solutions need to enhance the productivity of resources, especially considering the current security talent shortages. Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) systems and security information and event management (SIEM) systems are two important aspects of productive security operations.