5 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017 – Part 1

5 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2017 – Part 1It’s virtually impossible to accurately predict everything that can and probably will happen in the realm of cybersecurity over the next year. Today’s hackers are a whole new breed. They are constantly scheming, plotting, looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit and improving their tactics to achieve their desired results. But while these sophisticated criminals will certainly give security experts a run for their money, there are a few things we believe we can expect to occur over the next six to twelve months. In the first of a two part series, here are five cybersecurity predictions to keep in mind as we head into 2017.

  1. IoT security takes a front row seat. As more and more organizations and individuals alike are adopting smart, connected technology, more doors will be opened for potential security breaches. That means everything from consumer devices, like smart watches, to the plethora of intuitive devices being used throughout offices across the globe will become even more of a focal point for hackers in 2017. Cybersecurity pros will need to pay close attention to keeping these ports of entry safeguarded.
  2. A move to greater cloud adoption. In years past, organizations that were most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, such as those in the financial industry, have been leery about adopting cloud technology. But as newer, stronger and more enhanced compliance, regulations and security features have been rolled out, more of these institutions and companies will begin making the shift. Additionally, more organizations will begin allowing the increased use of connected devices within their networks in conjunction with cloud solutions. As such, a renewed focus on developing and implementing stronger cybersecurity methods to address the increase in vulnerabilities will be equally important.
  3. Greater government involvement. In the US as well as other major countries around the world, it’s become abundantly clear that the topic of cybersecurity isn’t just about corporate network breaches and consumer data protection. In the wake of the fact that cyber criminals are now leveraging the internet to further their own political or social agendas (think power grid outages and water system interferences). As a result, world governments are cracking down and instituting stricter and more complex regulations surrounding cybersecurity. These changes will also affect businesses, so leaders should take note.
  4. A steady growth in insider threats. It’s no secret that one of the weakest links in corporate security lies with the employees and other “insiders,” like contractors and consultants. Unfortunately, despite this relatively widespread awareness, successful security breaches through tactics like phishing schemes and ransomware continue to rise. To combat this, organizations must reframe how they approach cybersecurity, acknowledging that the threat often lies within and investing in the appropriate safeguard measures, like employee training and automated incident response.
  5. Addressing the skills gap. While there have been recent strives made in terms of identifying cybersecurity as a critical role for up-and-coming IT scholars to focus their studies on, until these professionals officially become available, the skills gap will remain. As such, organizations must find a way to bridge this gap, whether it’s the lack of qualified experts on the market or the lack of resources necessary to employ such experts. Expect to see increased reliance on MSSPs and/or greater internal adoption of automation to help lighten this load over the coming months.

Are you prepared for these predictions? Will your organization remain secure over the coming year? Stay tuned for part two as we reveal five more cybersecurity trends that we believe will occur over the next 12 months.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Cybersecurity Tips: 5 Ways to Guard Against Insider Threats

Cybersecurity Tips: 5 Ways to Guard Against Insider ThreatsWhen it comes to the topic of cybersecurity, most of the talk around the industry is about protecting networks and sensitive data from external forces. In reality, the threat from within an organization is equally dangerous. In fact, according to a recent report from Intel, 43 percent of all security incidents (and subsequent data loss) were caused by insiders. That means that nearly half of the risk your company is subject to will come from employees. Are you doing enough to protect against this? Here are five things you can start doing today to create stronger internal security protocols and mitigate risk.

Educate and train employees.

Do your employees truly understand what’s at stake when it comes to protecting the organization’s sensitive data? According to recent statistics, probably not. In fact, Forrester research revealed that 49 percent of knowledge workers are either unaware of or don’t understand the cybersecurity policies of the companies for which they work. And since half of all internal security breaches are caused by accident, this is a key area to focus your efforts.

Make it clear to employees that they are the first line of defense and arm them with the information and support they need to adequately fulfill this responsibility. Educating and training employees can greatly reduce the risk of vulnerabilities due to human error. Even things as simple as creating secure passwords and remembering to log out of the network whenever they leave their workstation can significantly reduce potential exposure.

Test and audit regularly.

Don’t just assume that because you’ve established and communicated clear cybersecurity protocols and educated your employees that there’s no more risk to worry about. A recent study by Forrester indicates that some 42 percent of cyberattacks are initiated by interaction with an internal party, such as a phishing, ransomware and other malware infiltration launched via a malicious email attachment. Unfortunately, cyber criminals are becoming savvier by the day, perfecting their craft by creating material that appears authentic.

Avoid becoming a victim by keeping employees well-versed and up to date on the many different tactics that hackers use and educating them on what to watch for. Then, follow up by performing regular spot-tests and audits to ensure compliance and identify areas where additional training may be warranted. Have employees take pop quizzes on security protocol, conduct routine workplace checks, and perform regular simulated email attacks.

Don’t forget third party associates.

Permanent employees aren’t the only “insiders” that can wreak havoc on an organization’s cybersecurity. Chances are there are a good number of external parties who have some type of access to the inner workings of your company, whether it’s temporary workers, contractors, consultants, vendors or someone else. These third parties effectively widen the attack surface and open additional avenues for cyber criminals to find and exploit vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized network access.

The recent publicized attacks on such big-name corporations as Home Depot and Dairy Queen were ultimately traced back to exposures that occurred with third-party suppliers. This risk can be mitigated by developing and/or strengthening security alliances with all business partners. By working together, sharing experiences and best practices, everyone will become a stronger fortification against all those attackers out there lurking in the wings, waiting to pounce on any opportunity they see.

Fight fire with fire.

You’ve probably already invested in safeguards like network access controls, firewalls, encryption and SIEM technology, but as recent history has proven, this simply isn’t always enough to keep the enemy at bay. Remember – insider accidents are responsible for half of the breaches caused by employees. That means that opening a suspicious email or clicking on a malicious link could provide hackers the foot in the door they need to access your network, systems and data.

Double down on your cybersecurity by incorporating advanced automation technology. This can serve as a force multiplier for your existing incident response strategy so that even those instances where a threat is able to penetrate the hedge of protection you’ve got in place, it can be quickly detected and isolated, thereby mitigating the damage that could potentially be done. An automation and orchestration platform like this will allow you to effective fight fire with fire for a much stronger defense.

Plan ahead for crisis management.

With the relentless number and increasing complexity of incoming attacks, the question is no longer will an organization be targeted, but when. That’s why it’s critical to have an existing plan in place that can be activated the moment a breach is discovered. Start by establishing a crisis management team that includes top leadership from each department (remember – cyber-attacks can occur anywhere, not just in IT).

Your crisis management plan should include details about what actions should be taken, how and when based on various if/then scenarios. It’s also good practice to determine in advance the level of transparency you are comfortable with following a breach. For instance, who should be informed and what information should be passed along pertaining to the incident. It’s also important to communicate with employees so they’re aware of how they should respond should they be questioned about the breach.

With insider threats making up nearly half of all successful cybersecurity breaches, the importance of protecting your organization from the inside out has never been more evident. The steps above should help you fortify your defense – both internally and externally – to keep your network and data safe from potential harm.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response