Cyber maturity will help ensure cybersecurity

Every year the sheer number of cyberattacks against the private and public sector in the U.S. increases. Breaches in security cause various levels of pain.

It is important now more than ever for businesses to understand both the reality and ramifications of these occurrences. The effects that cyberattacks continue to have on business have drawn national attention to the issue. As a result, both the private and public sector have taken a series of steps to improve the nation’s cybersecurity and enhance incident response capabilities and processes.

The federal government, all sectors of critical infrastructure and business have all been the victims of malicious cyber activity. The government and private industries that collect personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI) and/or electronic payments are specifically at a higher risk. Often, the purpose of many cyberattacks is to compromise PII or financial data in order to steal money from their victims. There has been no shortage of reported successful data breaches in recent years that have compromised millions of people’s personal or payment information.

It is critical for organizations to begin addressing the magnitude of this cybersecurity threat and make security an integral part of their business success.

The methods in which these data breaches are carried out continue to evolve. Spear phishing, social engineering and traditional hacking remain constant threats among others. However, the emergence of custom engineered and polymorphic malware are making detection increasingly difficult through traditional methods. In short, regardless of the strength of a network’s security, anyone who connects to the internet is susceptible to experiencing a cyberattack.

Therefore, a mature approach today should include incident management, threat audit assessment and, in some cases, even the use of “war games.” At the very least, organizations must look for and find vulnerabilities. Groups can examine what is available and valuable to hackers and make that the focus and shore it up. Running regular scanning and penetration tests on network, review and practice social engineering policies and even engaging in war games and table top exercises are various ways to prepare a strong cyber defense. Businesses should know which branches of law enforcement to contact should they suspect an issue.

Security basics are still a must as in the recent past. A zero tolerance firewall, intrusion detection and intrusion protection methodologies and technology, anti-virus, VPN, encryption, password hygiene and dual authentication access control are still very important and strong deterrence. A data breach will have an impact to a business and the technical investigation is costly and time consuming along with the embarrassment and brand damage such a situation will bring. Businesses that work to learn how to prevent and detect quickly the work of an outside actor or network will go a long way toward prevention and detection. There are technologies and tools today that can help solve the maze of cyber defense such as predictive analytics, threat intelligence and connecting with a Security Operation Center.

Businesses must commit financial resources to this effort and hire and or retain professional talent. Security can not only be accomplished by security device management, blocking and monitoring constant insight into one’s own networks. Companies must also have an internal Security Team and not outsource accountability entirely, but rather leverage 24/7 eyes and hands and technologies to better assure security in the Digital Age.

Goodman is managing director and partner with BlueBridge Networks, a cloud data center and managed services business headquartered in downtown Cleveland.