There are two key trends happening in today’s networks the c-suite executives need to be paying close attention to. Aside from network security, the first is that IT teams are struggling to keep up with digital transformation demands, including the move to multi-cloud infrastructures and services, the rapid adoption of IoT networks and devices, BYOD and a highly mobile workforce, and the growing number of shadow IT services popping up in their networks. The second is the alarming growth of increasingly automated attacks that are consistently and successfully targeting known device, application, and network vulnerabilities.
The reality is that these trends are related. The unprecedented rate of digital transformation that is consuming your IT resources has also led to basic network and device hygiene becoming the most neglected components of your security posture. And it shows. The biggest attacks of 2017, from Petya to the Equifax breach, all targeted vulnerabilities for which patches had been available for weeks or months. In fact, a full 90% of organizations recorded exploits for vulnerabilities that were at least three years old. Which means that good cyber hygiene still needs to be a fundamental best practice, and is a key to ensuring that your organization’s network is kept secure.
But it can be hard to prioritize. Let’s take a look at where to start and what the most important steps are to take.
One method for prioritizing is to understand what vulnerabilities are most likely to be targeted. Knowing the kinds of vulnerabilities attackers probe for the most can help determine which assets require prioritized patching. Effective IT teams use computer security reports and then ask pointed and important questions, like “Have we seen these alerts?” and “Do our scans detect these vulnerabilities?” Then make managing those vulnerabilities a top priority on any controls you’re using to protect your cyber assets.
It also helps to understand that successful attacks have a higher probability of recurring. Which means that whenever a breach makes the news, look at its attack vectors and check to see if you that same exposure exists in your environment. If so, make it a priority to reduce that exposure or eliminate it altogether.
To really get ahead of vulnerabilities, find out in advance where you need to strengthen your defenses by conducting a risk assessment. The goal of a risk assessment, according to ISACA, is to understand your existing system and environment, and identify risks through analysis of the information/data collected.
NIST’s recent Criticality Analysis Process Model describes “a structured method of prioritizing programs, systems, and components based on their importance to the goals of an organization and the impact that their inadequate operation or loss may present to those goals.”
You should start by gathering all relevant information. Begin with a full inventory of your physical assets, including network infrastructure, laptops/desktops, IoT, data management systems, and other connected devices. This also needs to include IT support Fayetteville NC solutions deployed, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network monitoring tools.
Next, catalog all of the applications and services running in your network, including Shadow IT. You should also understand what information is available to the public about network components, individuals and their roles, applications, and services.
Most of this information can be gathered automatically using a variety of tools, such as a SIEM solution.
Finally, you need to cross-reference all of this information against compliance requirements that define minimum security controls as well as any documented or even informal policies, procedures, and guidelines.
After this information is gathered, a number of tasks need to be performed, including:
Only then can you begin to develop and update your existing risk management and security technologies and strategies.
There is an incredible urgency for organizations, especially those undergoing digital transformation, to reprioritize security hygiene and identify emerging risks. However, as the volume, velocity, and automation of attacks continues to increase, it is also becoming increasingly important to align patching prioritization to what is happening in the wild so you can better focus your limited resources on the most critical and emerging risks. A risk assessment of your environment will help you to combat today’s new normal. Start by using the best practices outlined above to help you create a flexible security strategy that can adapt and protect even as the threat landscape continues to evolve.
You can read important takeaways in the full Global Threat Landscape Report. Also, view our video (above) summarizing valuable data points from our most recent report.
Sign up for our weekly FortiGuard intel briefs or to be a part of our open beta of Fortinet’s FortiGuard Threat Intelligence Service.
This byline originally appeared in CSO.
Today’s technological innovations and the managed IT services Fayetteville NC offered by providers have empowered small businesses to do things that would have been utterly unimaginable even 15 years ago. To remain competitive in a constantly shifting landscape, we’ve become more dependent on software and hardware to house even the most basic structures of the companies we run.
Meanwhile, these technologies are evolving at breakneck speed. Every day, there’s a slew of new devices to consider, a pile of new updates to install and a new feature to wrap our heads around. Every morning, we wake up and the digital world is thrillingly new.
But all over the world, there’s an insidious network of criminals keeping up with this insanely rapid pace of progress. With every new IT security measure designed to protect our digital assets, there are thousands of hackers working around the clock to determine a new way to break through. An estimated 978,000 fresh new malware threats are released into the world each day. The term “up to date” doesn’t mean much anymore in the wake of new developments arriving minute by minute.
There’s a price to pay for the increased efficiency and reach enabled by the digital age. We’ve all heard the story before. A massive, multinational corporation neglects some aspect of their security and falls victim to a crippling large-scale cyberattack, with criminals lifting millions of dollars in customer data and digital assets. Equifax, J.P. Morgan, Home Depot, Yahoo!, Verizon, Uber and Target – these narratives are so commonplace that they barely raise an eyebrow when we read about them in the news.
Most business owners wrongly assume that these incidents have no bearing on their own companies, but these high-profile incidents account for less than half of data breaches. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of attacks are directed at small businesses, with half of the 28 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in America coming under fire within the last year.
It’s hard to imagine how you can possibly protect yourself from these innumerable threats. Statistically, you can be all but certain that hackers will come for your data, and there’s no way to know what new tool they’ll be equipped with when they do.
You may not be able to foresee the future, but you can certainly prepare for it. With research, education and resources, you can implement a robust IT Services Fayetteville NC into the fabric of your business. That way, you can send hackers packing before they get their hooks into the organization you’ve spent years building from the ground up.
One huge leap you can make right now for the security of your business is to simply realize that IT Support Fayetteville NC isn’t something you can install and leave alone for years, months or even days. It requires regular updates and the attention of professionals to ensure there’s no gap in your protection. There are new shady tactics being used by criminals every day, but there are also fresh protocols you can use to stave them off.
Small business owners assume that since they don’t have the resources of a Fortune 500 company, they don’t have the means to invest in anything but the barest of managed IT services Fayetteville NC. Obviously, hackers know this and target SMBs in droves. The bad news is that most businesses’ paper-thin barriers won’t save them in the event of a crisis. The good news is that it doesn’t take thousands upon thousands of dollars to implement a security system that will send the hackers packing.