How would you know if your cybersecurity strategy failed to detect a legitimate threat? It could happen one of two ways: either you’ll get lucky and find it yourself or a third party – whether it’s a customer, an auditors or someone else – will catch it first. Sadly, the latter is most often the case, which means that data breach could easily cost you as much reputationally as it will financially.
The fact is, prevention strategies and technologies, such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption and other security controls, are designed to block attackers from gaining access to your infrastructure. These tools are certainly important and can be effective. They should now, however, be your only line of defense.
If we’ve learned anything from the high profile data breaches that have graced the headlines over the past year, it’s that determined attackers will find their way in, despite the presence of preventative technology. As such, it’s equally important that you have the right strategy in place to be able to detect and address threats that are already inside your infrastructure.
Detection Monitors Your Monitors
We all want to trust that our prevention strategies are working, but as mentioned above – how can you know if they’re not (and more importantly, before it’s too late)? That’s why detection tools are so important.
Automated detection technology, such as continuous monitoring and automated alerting, provide ongoing visibility into all of the activity that’s occurring within your infrastructure. Not only are these tools designed to keep you abreast of known issues, such as previously disclosed cybersecurity threats, but they’re also designed to identify and alert about new and unknown threats that may have successfully slipped past your preventative defenses.
The information gathered from this monitoring and alerting enables IT agents to make quick, data-driven decisions, such as whether to cut access to a certain application, patch a server, or implement a new workflow to better detect similar events in the future. Furthermore, with the right platform, remediation of threats can be entirely automated, enabling round-the-clock protection. These are things most prevention tools cannot accomplish, because they simply were not designed to do so.
While tools like antivirus software or firewalls can mitigate certain known or common security events, they aren’t designed to detect new threats. Additionally, most prevention tools lack the alerting functionality to notify key personnel in real-time about any issues that may arise. And with new cybersecurity threats constantly on the horizon, it’s clear that prevention alone isn’t going to be enough to keep your infrastructure secure. To achieve maximum protection, detection is necessary.
Rapidly Evolving Landscape
One of the biggest reasons detection and remediation are becoming a growing necessity is because many organizations are adopting cloud technology. The cloud enables businesses to operate at scale, which means rapid changes and an increasing number of endpoints to protect. Detection addresses this evolution and scales seamlessly alongside the business.
Yesterday’s static, on-premise environments are quickly being replaced by cloud solutions, which makes infrastructures much more vulnerable to today’s invasive and sophisticated attacks. In other words, we are operating on an entirely different landscape. Detection enables IT teams to gain visibility into all of the hosts running at any given moment and shut any of them down to stop threats in their tracks.
Prevention and Detection Working Together
We aren’t recommending that you scrap your prevention strategy. To the contrary, prevention tools are still effective in doing what they were designed to do, which is keeping known cybersecurity threats out. Detection simply allows you to add another layer of protection. When working in tandem, prevention tools help weed out a good portion of threats while detection tools dig deeper, collecting critical real-time data about security events and enabling security teams to respond immediately.
In this context, you can think of detection and remediation kind of like gap insurance for your infrastructure. Having both in place, when a point of failure inevitably occurs, your second line of defense will kick in. This provides a much more robust and therefore more effective cybersecurity strategy.
With today’s threat landscape becoming even more dangerous by the day, there’s never been a more critical time to strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity posture. Establishing a strategy that integrates prevention with detection, alerting and remediation will add the layers of protection you need to stay a step ahead of your attackers.