In 2015, Symantec reported a total of 9 “mega” security breaches with the number of reported exposed identities reaching an alarming 429 million. Of course, this is only inclusive of those organizations that shared their data. Many companies choose instead not to reveal the complete extent of their data breaches, which means in reality, these numbers are likely much higher. What this tells us is that business leaders are struggling with their cyber security incident response, and often with devastating results.
What many fail to realize is that the issue lies not so much in whether or not a breach happens, but goes much deeper into what must be done if and when that breach does occur. It’s the aftermath of a cyber-incident that truly impacts an organization. System down-time can cut directly into profits while precious data can be exploited, leaving the business’ reputation in shambles. Ultimately, it is the hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years that follow a successful cyber-attack that cause the most damage.
So, how can this be addressed? Well, for one thing, security professionals must begin to shift their thinking and their approach to cyber security incident response from one that is reactive – once a breach occurs – to proactive, preventing that breach from occurring in the first place. To accomplish this, the incident response plan must incorporate a strategic balance of prevention, detection and response.
These days, having a basic monitoring system in place is no longer adequate. Cyber-criminals are devoted to their craft and they are working tirelessly to identify new vulnerabilities and develop more pervasive, intricate and often creative ways to expose and exploit those weaknesses. They are also attacking at a relentless rate. To combat these increasingly complex and sophisticated attacks, enterprise security personnel must be prepared to do battle using the same technologies and mindset as their enemy.
Monitoring systems must be fortified and supported by round-the-clock, closed loop processes that can not only instantly identify incoming threats as soon as they occur, but also immediately analyze and prioritize them based on the appropriate steps to resolution. Incorporating automation into the cyber security incident response provides this high-level of protection. What’s more, because intuitive technology is doing most of the work, that protection is available 24/7/365 – something even the most highly skilled, dedicated human staff cannot accomplish.
Automated cyber security incident response also helps organizations achieve the last piece of the security puzzle: remediation. And by eliminating the need for human intervention in the majority of incidents, the majority of threats can be stopped in their tracks quickly and effectively – before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc. Those rare incidents that do require attention from human decision makers can be automatically categorized and prioritized, with notification sent to the appropriate party. Once action is taken, the automated workflow can then continue until the issue is resolved.
The bottom line is, if the response to a cyber-incident occurs only after the breach is successful, it’s already too late. Instead, security professionals must think before, rather than beyond the breach. Automation technology can help achieve a greater level of preparedness that can more effectively protect against security incidents.