When it comes to protecting your organization from the ever-increasing, relentless onslaught of cybersecurity threats, it can be easy to wander down the wrong path. In many instances, well-intentioned but overworked and understaffed IT teams end up inadvertently placing their company at risk due to misinformation or false truths. Take a look at five of the biggest myths surrounding the topic of cybersecurity and see if you might be more vulnerable than you realize.
Myth #1 – External threats are the most dangerous.
Truth: Obviously there is a very real and very serious problem with cyber criminals today, but what many organizations fail to recognize is that internal parties are often the weakest link, whether it’s an employee who falls for a phishing email or a consultant who isn’t careful enough with network access. If you want to develop the strongest defense possible, your cybersecurity incident response plan must incorporate training, checks and balances that will keep everyone inside your company vigilant.
Myth #2 – Our patch management is sufficient enough.
Truth: You may feel your security team is at the top of their game, and they very well may be. The problem is, software and application vendors issue patches for vulnerabilities that are known. Unfortunately, there are a good number of vulnerabilities that either haven’t yet been discovered or haven’t yet been disclosed. In other words, it’s important to understand and acknowledge that despite your best efforts, you may be exposed without even realizing it. So, while patch management is certainly important, it cannot be the only component of your strategy.
Myth #3 – It’s all about prevention.
Truth: While it’s certainly critical to put the right measures in place to prevent incoming threats from being successful, it’s equally important to recognize that preventing every single attack simply isn’t possible. This is where many organizations get into trouble. They focus 100% of their efforts on monitoring and neglect the all-important step of remediation. The strongest cybersecurity incident response strategies include steps to quickly pinpoint, isolate and eradicated those attacks that manage to slip through undetected.
Myth #4 – We haven’t been compromised.
Truth: We touched on this in the previous point, but it’s so critical that it deserves its own section. The bulk of the damage that occurs due to cybersecurity incidents occurs not at the initial point of attack, but rather in the length of time it takes to realize the attack occurred. This can take days, weeks or even months. All the while, the hackers are free to wreak havoc within your network. Furthermore, in many cases, successful compromises are not even detected by the victim, but by an outside party. Being vigilant and leveraging automation technology to keep round-the-clock watch is essential.
Myth #5 – If and when we become compromised, we’ll be able to tell.
Truth: The average data breach can take up to six months before it is detected. Imagine how much damage could be done in that amount of time. That’s like giving free reign to criminals and allowing them to destroy systems, compromise applications, access and steal sensitive data and any host of other unsavory activities. Never assume that you’ll easily know when a breach occurs. Instead, operate under the assumption that you already have been and use technology to your fullest advantage to bridge the gap between human capability and the real and present dangers at hand.