2017 is coming to a close and if we’ve learned anything over the past 11 months, it’s that cyber-attackers are getting savvier and more relentless. Thankfully, we’ve also learned that having an automated incident response strategy could mean the difference between a mere blip on the radar and a potentially huge impact.
Here’s a recap of what the past year has taught us about cybersecurity.
Nobody is Immune
One of the most disturbing revelations from the growing cybersecurity events over the past year is the fact that not only did they impact tens of thousands of websites across the globe, but that many of those sites were among those people believe to be the most secure. For instance, a number of websites that were found to have been injected with the malicious script code, many were government sites as well as those ending in .edu. Prominent business sites were also among the targets of attacks. And, of course, we can’t forget small to mid-sized businesses that are also targets.
What this demonstrates is that nobody is 100% safe from a security threat. The key is having the right automated incident response plan in place to help identify threats as soon as they occur, before they have time to wreak havoc.
The Potential for Damages
While in some cases the attacks were rendered ineffective for one reason or another, that’s not to say that they’re not of significant concern. That’s because many attacks that occurred over the past year were launched as acts of reconnaissance in an attempt to learn more about users. The information gathered could very well be used in future attacks, which could include anything from SEO poisoning and the delivery of malware to compromised and unprotected users.
Automation = Mitigation
It’s important to point out that there is no way to totally prevent or completely avoid every potential attack that could occur. As criminals are becoming more sophisticated, their attempts are becoming equally complex. The best course of action is to develop and implement an automated incident response strategy that is comprehensive enough to help identify potential attacks immediately. Automation is critical to this process, as it allows round-the-clock surveillance and instant, automatic remediation.
By incorporating tools like IT process automation into your cybersecurity incident response plan, every single incident that could potentially be a threat is immediately identified and assessed behind the scenes (and without human intervention) to determine its validity and severity. The information gleaned from this evaluation is then used to determine the next steps in the process, whether it’s to execute a particular response automatically or to escalate the issue to be handled by the appropriate party.
Even though cyber-attacks cannot always be completely prevented, having a robust strategy in place allows for a more swift and effective response. This reduces the impact of an attack and subsequently allows for the mitigation of damages. For instance, instead of having to track back the cause of a system outage that has been allowed to perpetuate undetected for a long period of time (and a process that could take additional man hours, days, weeks or even months), automated incident response can quickly pinpoint the problem, helping you reduce downtime.