The biggest security concern moving forward is data breaches. A billion records have been stolen through data breaches. Today, data theft is a full industry worth billions of dollars. It’s just a different form of online retail. That’s a stark, scary view, but it is the reality. Most stolen data is bundled and then sold to buyers who will sift through it and figure out what they can use or re-sell. In other words, there’s a global supply pipeline of products. If you think of it like oil or another natural resource, a cybercriminal is just treating businesses like a well or a mine. The product they steal goes through several steps of refinement, storage, and transport before finding someone who will utilize it. To keep with the metaphor, organizations must ensure that their data is resistant to the kind of exploratory drilling that data thieves use to find their product.
Data loss can occur without the involvement or attempt of theft. These data losses typically come in three varieties:
- A natural disaster results in the loss of access to files.
- A human error results in files being stored improperly or altogether deleted.
- A sudden change in business results in a cloud provider dropping promised resources or access to its clients.
The first and second of these occur regularly. This is why you need to ensure redundancies are in place to weather any disaster or error. The third is very rare as more major players have entered the market as cloud providers. These major players have more accountability and handle their clients more responsibly than some of the very first cloud providers once did.
Denial of Service
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks has become the bane of many businesses over the last several years. Attackers use a botnet of distributed computers that are infected with malware in order to overwhelm an organization’s servers. This way, the organization can’t simply block a particular point-of-origin.
Sometimes these attacks are aimed to take down a website and make it unusable for a period of time. This can result in significant lost profit, operability, and even customers or clients shifting their business elsewhere. In this way, it’s a significant tool of sabotage. Other times, these attacks are orchestrated in order to cripple a service long enough for the attacker to simultaneously enact another form of attack – such as a data breach.
These attacks require a service with experience in DDoS attacks, and with the established botnet to pull it off. You might think that would severely limit who could target you, but just as Security-as-a-Service exists to mitigate these attacks, DDoS-as-a-Service exists to perform them. Cybercriminals don’t need to know how to pull these attacks off themselves; they just need to hire a service to do it for them.
The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities both operated through bypassing the compartmentalization that exists between applications. In this way, a small vulnerability allowed them access to much more information than it should have. Spectre was primarily useful on older, unpatched operating systems. Meltdown impacted a far wider variety of PCs, but after Spectre it was all-hands-on-deck so it didn’t have quite the same impact.
While patches exist for both, they can also impact system performance. Some businesses are measuring the balance between these two choices. Seal a vulnerability or maintain performance. Of course, the most effective measure will be to replace affected processors, which is quite expensive and unrealistic for most organizations.
For the time being, the best defense is to make a choice as to whether you’ll patch the vulnerabilities out and risk performance degradation. Cybersecurity plans can accommodate both choices, keeping up with security updates is absolutely necessary on all devices. If this had been done, Spectre would have been much less impactful.
Tools such as Microsoft OMS and EMS can help you manage an entire network of devices, and organize who has access rights on devices, users, applications, and file levels.
Effective cybersecurity doesn’t stop here. There are additional concerns, such as API security, insider threats, lost or stolen devices…the list goes on. Put simply, you need a top-down approach that helps you understand each segment of your cybersecurity. Organizations need to be able to manage granular decision-making and security on a holistic management level.
Choose a cloud service provider that’s proved, and utilizes sound access rights management. Supplement your own cybersecurity with Security-as-a-Service where needed. A good way to hybridize is to dedicate your in-house IT team to daily duties and operations while you utilize Security-as-a-Service to keep you consistently safe through longer-term organization and strategy. To find out more please contact NetPillar.