Mitigating Damages with Automated Incident Response

Mitigate damages with automated incident response

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.

As we prepare to head into a new year, it’s important to ask yourself this question: does your security plan have what it takes to address the changing landscape of cybersecurity? Don’t become the next victim. Protect your business and your sensitive data by investing in automation. Take a test drive and experience it for yourself by clicking here.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Two Key Ways Intelligent Automation is Changing the Face of Cybersecurity

Two Key Ways Intelligent Automation is Changing the Face of CybersecurityArtificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are being integrated into many aspects of our everyday lives. If you use Siri or Amazon Echo, you’ve already been touched by AI to some degree. One area where this so-called “smart” technology has become particularly valuable is in the realm of cybersecurity. But despite the buzz, it’s important to understand the real capabilities of intelligent automation in security.

Better Detection

Many are surprised to learn that artificial intelligence in cybersecurity isn’t a new concept. In fact, machine learning has been used to detect unwanted traffic for many years, including in such common tools as spam filters. So why all the hype today? Because that technology has continued to evolve and improve. Where it really shines today, specifically in terms of network security, is in its ability to pinpoint attacks that are outside the norm.

In other words, intelligent automation can detect a pattern or anomaly and recognize that something is suspicious entirely on its own. Not only is this incredibly effective, but it’s something human agents simply cannot do. That’s where an AI powered cybersecurity platform becomes what we like to call a force multiplier.

Volume Control

Another way intelligent automation is revolutionizing the way organizations handle their cybersecurity is in the sheer volume of threats. With the relentless onslaught of increasingly sophisticated attacks operating around the clock, even the most competent and diligent security team cannot keep up. AI technology, on the other hand, can handle an immense amount of data, continuously monitoring, instantly analyzing and immediately reacting to address potential incidents.

Again, like its intuitive ability to read patterns and detect anomalies, machine learning in cybersecurity can also become a force multiplier by augmenting human capability. This is particularly true in instances for which human decision making is still necessary. AI technology can monitor and assess enormous amounts of raw data looking for problems and pass them on to human analysts for closer examination. Furthermore, the interaction with humans allows the intelligent automation platform to continuously refine and improve its search algorithms (hence, the “learning” in machine learning).

When it boils down to it, the hype about AI and machine learning in security is turning out to be all that it’s cracked up to be. With the right platform, intelligent automation can bring your cybersecurity strategy to an entirely new level, providing enhanced protection and keeping your organization a few steps ahead of potential attacks.

To see this innovative technology in action, simply click here and request a free product demo.

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5 Cybersecurity Mistakes That Could Be Placing Your Company in Danger

5 Cybersecurity Mistakes That Could Be Placing Your Company in DangerWhen it comes to keeping your organization and all the data you maintain secure from potential breaches, you may believe you know the basics. You may even think you’ve got it all together, with all the right strategies, tools and technologies in place to ensure maximum protection. But there are a few mistakes that many companies make without even realizing they’re doing so. And the consequences of those errors could be incredibly costly, both financially and reputation-wise. If you or your cybersecurity team are committing any of the following blunders, your business could be at risk.

Being overconfident.

Some IT leaders make the egregious mistake of believing that cybersecurity isn’t really that much to be concerned about. For instance, some think that because they’re a small business, cyber criminals aren’t interested in the information they possess. Others, such as end-users, believe that their IT team will handle everything. The fact is, cybersecurity is something companies of every size and all employees absolutely must account for. Otherwise, your firm will become a sitting target.

Neglecting the power of email.

Many companies invest tons of money, time and resources into protecting their network and infrastructure, yet somehow forget to secure email communications. The fact is, email remains one of the most effective tools used by cyber criminals to gain access to the sensitive data they’re after and if you’re not using the right kind of protection – namely two-step verification and encryption – you’re placing your company at risk. It’s equally important to educate all users about how to spot phishing and other social engineering attempts.

Inadequate password policies.

Weak passwords are a hacker’s dream come true. Despite this fact, it’s alarming how many people still use passwords like ‘12345’ or ‘admin’. Not only do people use these easy-to-guess passwords, but they often reuse them on multiple systems, making it simple for a cyber-criminal to gain access to any number of systems and applications. This is a huge problem for companies that must be addressed through the development and implementation of strong password policies.

Thinking anti-virus is enough.

Many otherwise savvy individuals make the costly error of believing that anti-virus software is enough to keep their sensitive data secure. The fact is, today’s hackers are becoming more sophisticated and persistent by the day, which means they’re identifying newer vulnerabilities to exploit – vulnerabilities that cannot be detected with traditional malware prevention methods. To truly be safe, the use of automated cybersecurity incident response powered by machine learning is strongly recommended.

Not backing up data.

The fact is, even the strongest cybersecurity strategy can be infiltrated by a dedicated enough hacker. It’s no longer a question of IF you’ll be attacked, but rather WHEN. As such, engaging in regular data backup activities can ensure that should your infrastructure be compromised, you can get back up and running quickly and with minimal impact. For instance, when your data is backed up, a ransomware attack can be neutralized since there will be no need to pay the fee in order to regain access to files. Instead, the infected files can be isolated and eradicated and data restored from your backup.

These five cybersecurity mistakes are surprisingly common. Thankfully, correcting them isn’t impossible. If you recognize any of the above occurring within your organization, the time to take action is now. Start by implementing the right policies, educating employees and investing in the right technology to keep your information as secure as possible.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Join us at the 2017 MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit!

JOIN AYEHU AT MPOWER 2017 + GET A FREE EXPO PASS!Ayehu is excited to announce its participation in this year’s McAfee MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit (formerly the FOCUS conference). The US leg of the summit, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, NV from October 17th-19th at the Aria Hotel & Casino, will offer deep dives and technical content to help attendees better manage their organizations’ cybersecurity posture.

What’s truly unique about this global gathering is that participants will be able to co-create the industry’s first on-demand, face-to-face event. As an audience member, you will be able to select the topics and demos that are presented in real-time based on what’s most important to you. Participants will essentially guide the program and shape the agenda with live input, being empowered to choose the content and drive the conversations. It’s an experience unlike anything else in the industry before.

The Ayehu team is thrilled to be a part of such a monumental and game-changing event. We will be stationed at booth #304, where you will be able to

  • Enjoy a live demonstration of our recently released AI-based automation platform
  • Meet with our security automation experts and get your questions answered in real-time
  • Make a memory with us (we’re giving away some cool picture magnets)

Because we know that you have busy schedules, many demands on your time and different goals to achieve at the conference, we are inviting you to schedule in advance a meeting with our team during the conference. Simply fill out your contact information on this form and someone from our team will be in touch to schedule your demo.

We’re also pleased to be offering FREE EXPO PASSES. You can take advantage of this offer by using the code SPOCAYEHU6513 when registering.

Don’t miss one of the most incredible experiences in the cybersecurity realm. Join us at MPOWER. We hope to see you there!

 

How AI Can Bring Your Cybersecurity to the Next Level

How AI Can Bring Your Cybersecurity to the Next LevelArtificial intelligence and machine learning are starting become buzzwords in just about every industry. Cybersecurity is no exception. In fact, even governments across the globe are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to enhance the security of their sensitive data. Yet, despite the growing adoption, many of security agents are struggling with misconceptions and confusions surrounding the different types of solutions available on the market today. If you are among them, here’s what you need to know about how AI is disrupting the information and network security realm.

The first point to consider is the difference between traditional automation and intelligent automation powered by machine learning. While both function toward the same end-goal of streamlining and automating manual cybersecurity tasks, such as incident detection and remediation, intelligent automation takes things a step further by augmenting human intelligence, which is both costly and unscalable. Most importantly, this is done without sacrificing reliability and quality of the processes being automated.

The real difference comes into play in the area of decision making – something all cybersecurity leaders are responsible for. With traditional automation, lots of data is gathered and can be turned into reports which can then be used to help human agents forecast and plan for the future. With machine learning, that data is analyzed by artificial intelligence at a rate far faster than any human could possibly compute. The result is more accurate, precise and valuable information for making better business decisions. When you can leverage data more effectively, you can better protect your organization moving forward.

Expanding on this, automation powered by AI is capable of quickly detecting and identifying entirely new classes of threats. Over time, these agentless systems continuously learn, adapt and improve, becoming even more effective at detecting incidents, analyzing attacker behaviors and even managing more obscure threat events. At the same time, deep learning algorithms sift through mountains of data in real-time to uncover and provide valuable insights into threats and enable rapid, highly effective improvements to cybersecurity remediation processes.

The long-term goal of AI powered automation is to achieve even greater flexibility and enhanced thinking capacity that is as close to the human mind as possible. The result will be a genius system that is faster, more consistent and far more effective at maximizing cybersecurity than human agents ever could be. Such a platform, just like the human cognition its designed to mimic, will be capable of adapting and learning new tasks and processes, arriving at its own conclusions and making its own intelligent decisions.

What could your organization achieve with this level of cybersecurity protection? Believe it or not, this is not a far off goal or figment of the future. Automation powered by machine learning is here now, and you can see it in action today by clicking here.

Bring your company’s protection to the next level with the next generation of IT automation.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

MSSPs: Why IT Automation is the Secret Sauce for Success

MSSPs: Why IT Automation is the Secret Sauce for SuccessWhen the topic of security automation comes up, it’s typically in the context of enterprise Security Operations Centers (SOC). The fact is, there’s another group that can benefit tremendously from IT automation and that’s Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP). MSSPs face many similar challenges that traditional SOCs encounter, such as huge volumes of data, case management, reporting and, of course, staffing shortages. In fact, for MSSPs, these problems are often compounded.

Unlike SOCs, MSSP analysts support multiple clients simultaneously; oftentimes each with their own individual security platforms and runbooks. As a result, analysts often receive numerous alerts from a multitude of tools that must be resolved according to each client’s service level agreement. Not only can this be confusing, which can significantly increase the likelihood of errors, but it can easily lead to alert fatigue, frustration and burnout.

Keeping up with security alerts is challenging even for smaller organizations. For MSSPs monitoring 30, 50, 100 or more individual clients, the complexity becomes monumental.  Likewise, the combination of multiple endpoints, different network configurations and application security platforms, coupled with managing their own threat intelligence and analytics, the issue becomes even further complicated. All of this can make resolving incidents in a timely manner incredibly difficult, even for the most agile, capable team. For these reasons, many MSSPs are now turning to IT automation as a solution.

When it comes to operating a successful MSSP, the ability to standardize is absolutely essential. Additionally, with multiple players entering the field, the competition is becoming much more intense. Continuous innovation is the key to survival. Operational standardization enables MSSPs to become more innovative by streamlining and automating the high-volume, repetitive manual tasks that bog down operations teams.

With IT automation, MSSP analysts can dramatically improve efficiency and therefore support more customers and handle more use cases. In fact, shifting from human to intelligent machine may even facilitate smaller teams to compete with larger competitors. In other words, IT automation allows MSSPs to do more with less. From a business perspective, this means greater profitability across the board. Additionally, having automated processes can help in terms of attracting and retaining top talent.

Simply put, the automation of MSSP activities benefits everyone. Security analysts can take on more clients at a lower operating cost while delivering a higher level of service. As a result, clients are more secure and satisfied. Meanwhile, operations teams enjoy the ability to apply their high-level skills to more fulfilling tasks and projects, thereby improving staff morale and performance. With IT automation, everyone wins.

Ayehu provides intelligent machine learning driven decision support via suggestions to optimize MSSP workflows, speeding up operations and reducing workload. Want to see it in action? Request a demo today!

5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation

3 Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges on the Horizon

3 Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges on the HorizonWhether you’re already knee-deep in the industry or you’re simply kicking around the idea of becoming a cybersecurity professional, staying abreast of the current and future trends is essential. In particular, it’s important to have a good idea of what challenges those in the security realm are facing and expect to face in the near future. Let’s take a look at three specific areas where tomorrow’s security agents will need to focus their efforts.

Complexity

Not only are the threats of tomorrow becoming more and more sophisticated (and therefore difficult to combat), but the IT environment itself is becoming equally complex. Marrying disparate systems to create a more cohesive infrastructure and finding a way to seamlessly link legacy applications with newer ones is a challenge in and of itself. The more complex the network, the more points of entry for attackers and the greater the vulnerability.

Cybersecurity professionals must leverage technology that is capable of keeping up with the evolving threats their organizations face. Incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence into the mix can help keep IT teams a step ahead in the fight to protect information.

Adversaries

In addition to the external forces that wish to do organizations harm, cybersecurity teams must also account for the insider threats that threaten the sanctity of confidential data. Employees at every level are routinely putting their employers at risk, most often without even realizing what they’re doing. This is why the job of IT must also involve ongoing communication, education and training to ensure that everyone recognizes the importance of cybersecurity and their role in keeping information safe.

Meanwhile, hackers are using technology to increase the frequency of their attacks. They are persistent to the point of relentlessness. To address this, adopting appropriate technological measures that can “fight fire with fire” is key. This ensures constant protection that human workers simply cannot deliver.

Staffing Shortage

It’s hard to believe that this is still a topic of discussion, but it remains a significant concern, especially from a cybersecurity perspective. Some organizations don’t have access to enough qualified IT professionals or struggle to retain them while others simply don’t have the resources to keep an entire team on the payroll.

Once again, technology is there to save the day. Automated incident response can augment human IT teams, plugging the holes left by staffing shortages and serving as a virtual army of protection. What’s more, because automated incident management is available around the clock, the organization remains safe from attacks no matter when they occur.

Is your organization adequately prepared to deal with the three biggest challenges to come? To see how Ayehu’s Next Generation automation and orchestration platform can resolve all of these issues for you, request a product demo.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

Why Compliance and Cybersecurity Are Worlds Apart

Why Compliance and Cybersecurity Are Worlds ApartAsk any seasoned executive what’s most important, besides profits and growth, and they’ll likely tell you compliance. As such, most organizations have careful plans in place to ensure that they stay in line with all laws and regulations, particularly those surrounding information security. Unfortunately, far too many fall into the trap of thinking that if they are compliant, they are also safe from hackers. The truth is, compliance and cybersecurity are actually worlds apart and if you’re not accounting for this, your organization is more vulnerable than you think.

The regulations governing information security are designed to protect consumers from having their sensitive data fall into the wrong hands (and suffering damages as a result). The details of these laws vary from state to state and country to country, and many use terms that are open to interpretation, like “reasonable” or “appropriate.”

The main difference between compliance and cybersecurity is that the former is concerned with protecting consumers, while the latter is about keeping your network and ALL sensitive data safe from harm. For instance, compliance may dictate that you must keep a written information security plan on file and take “appropriate” measures to protect the personal information about your employees and customers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t extend much beyond this.

So, having a written plan and keeping personal information properly stored away under virtual lock and key may be enough to keep your company compliant. It won’t, however, protect that information from a hacker that is able to break through and access it. That’s where cybersecurity comes into play.

Let’s say an employee receives an email that looks legitimate, but turns out to be a ransomware scam. By opening an infected file, the employee inadvertently launches a virus that attacks and locks up your systems, demanding payment in exchange for releasing your files. Having a compliance plan in place will do absolutely nothing to protect your firm against such an attack. Furthermore, if you don’t have the right cybersecurity strategy in place, you could end up with a huge financial mess to clean up.

So, how can you stay safe on both fronts? How can you ensure that you’re compliant in the event of an audit but also maintain a strong and effective defense against cyber-attacks? In addition to the steps you’ve already taken to stay in line with your local laws and regulations, developing and implementing a solid cybersecurity strategy that includes employee education, proper backing up of all critical data, ongoing monitoring and automated incident response.

If you’re currently operating under the idea that your compliance will keep you cybersecure, then you are placing your organization at a much greater risk than you may even realize.

Want to see how you can maximize your cybersecurity with just one agentless, automated tool? Request a demo of our next generation IT automation and orchestration platform today and power-up your defense today!

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

Want to Keep Your Organization Safe from Insider Threats? Watch Your C-Suite…

Want to Keep Your Organization Safe from Insider Threats? Watch Your C-Suite…These days, security professionals must be highly vigilant against the many threats that place their organizations at risk on a daily basis. And while hackers certainly show up high on the list, the truth of the matter is, it’s the people who work within your company that pose the greatest risk to data security. That’s why things like spear phishing have become such a successful method of entry. In fact, 80 percent of companies say that “end user carelessness” is the biggest security threat to their organization.

But the ones that are making your company most vulnerable to potential breaches aren’t poorly trained entry-level employees. It’s your senior level managers. Surprised? Many are. Yet, if you think about it, these individuals have access to information that is much more sensitive than that of the everyday employee. So, it stands to reason that the chance of an error resulting in a breach is naturally higher for this group.

And the numbers seem to support this theory. 58 percent of senior managers have accidentally sent sensitive information to the wrong person (compared to just 25 percent of workers overall). 51 percent have taken files with them after leaving a job – twice as many as office workers in general.

What are the biggest security risks these insiders pose? Most tend to fall within one or more of the following:

  • Reusing or sharing passwords with others
  • Leaving computers unattended outside of the workplace
  • Failing to delete data from computers once it’s no longer necessary
  • Carrying unnecessary sensitive data on a device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) while traveling
  • Using unsecured personal devices to process sensitive information
  • Failing to encrypt information when transmitting

So, what’s the solution? Well, the best approach should be multifaceted. Here’s a list of recommended actions:

  • Develop and establish a written security policy
  • Communicate that policy openly and regularly to ensure awareness across all levels of the company
  • Ensure appropriate access restriction to sensitive data (virtual and physical)
  • Conduct regular training to increase security awareness about what is and isn’t acceptable (start from the top!)

Last, but certainly not least, you should invest in available technology. This includes monitoring systems, alerting programs and automated cybersecurity incident response. These things will ensure that should an employee still make an error, it will be detected, addressed and remediated as quickly as possible.

Could your senior managers be placing your organization at risk? The time to act is now – before it’s too late! Start working on your strategy and download your free 30 day trial of Ayehu automation and orchestration platform.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Cybersecurity Incident Response – More Than Remediation

Cybersecurity Incident Response – More Than RemediationWhat does remediation mean? If you look up the root word ‘remedy,’ you’ll see it’s defined as “a treatment for an injury or disease,” or “a means of eliminating or counteracting something that’s undesirable.” In terms of cybersecurity incident response, remediation means addressing a breach in the most effective way possible to limit the amount of damage that can potentially be done to the organization being targeted. In reality, cybersecurity involves so much more.

Unfortunately, far too many of the cybersecurity incident response plans that are in place today merely act as a Band-Aid to the problems that exist currently. For example, many remediation solutions initiate an automatic kill process. What they don’t take into account, however, is whether the underlying threat happens to be persistent (APT) or capable of propagating. They also routinely fail to verify whether the threat is entirely contaminated or not.

Going back to the original definition of the word remedy, let’s say you were suffering a fever. You could take an over the counter remedy, such as Tylenol, which would effectively reduce the fever. Or, as a better alternative, you could take a prescribed antibiotic, which would address the actual cause of the fever. One option simply tamps down or places a Band-Aid over the problem while the other gets to the root of the problem.

Applying this to cybersecurity incident response, the best approach should dig deeper to find and eradicate the actual cause of the underlying threat, such as locating the malware and other malicious files that caused the breach. Without this extra step, your organization is left vulnerable to the virtually immeasurable damages that can be caused if the true issue isn’t taken care of properly.

To truly remediate a cybersecurity incident, you must first identify it and gather as much relevant information about it as possible. That information must then be adequately analyzed to determine what type of threat you’re dealing with and its potential impact. To give you an idea of what type of ‘relevant’ information we’re talking about, start with the following:

  • What systems have been affected?
  • Which process is allowing the issue to continue?
  • What are the characteristics of the incident?

Only when you have a clear and accurate understanding of what you’re up against can you properly address and remediate it. It can be helpful to think of cybersecurity incident response as a process rather than a specific solution. The fact is, today’s cyber threats are evolving and becoming more dynamic and complex by the day. Simply preparing in advance for possible scenarios isn’t enough anymore. Current day cyber-attacks require immediate response.

Effective cybersecurity incident response cannot be static. It must adapt alongside the changing threat landscape. It requires deep research and data analysis in every step of the process. In other words, it requires a certain degree of intelligence. That’s where automation comes into play. The right automated cybersecurity incident response plan should leverage advanced technology, such as machine learning, that will both address the need for round-the-clock monitoring and response as well as adapt intelligently over time.

Is your current remediation strategy simply a Band-Aid for the real problems plaguing your organization? We invite you to experience the power of intelligent automation, designed to address and evolve along with the modern threats businesses face today.

Click here to try Ayehu free for 30 days.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes