Cybersecurity has today emerged as a key area of concern for enterprises across the globe. This is especially true after the Covid-induced wave of digitalisation, which has enhanced the risk of cyberattacks. Various types of cyberattacks involving malware, phishing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and more are placing enterprises’ sensitive data at constant risk.
While enterprises are thwarting
attacks from every sphere, they are also focusing on new measures to align IT and new technologies with businesses. To this end, cyber-resiliency functions such as data protection, and response and recovery planning are expected to improve in the coming years vis-à-vis their cybersecurity maturity levels.
Evolving threat landscape
Enterprises are facing newer threats now as the digital landscape is evolving. The key threats faced by enterprises include:
- Ransomware attacks: According to reports, the global ransomware attack volume increased by 151 per cent during the first half of 2021 compared to 2020. Ransomware refers to the type of malware that can encrypt files if it enters the organisation’s network. Once inside, these files turn unusable along with the systems that rely on that information to run. Enterprises have to create a defined vulnerability program to mitigate and identify these threats efficiently and swiftly.
- Social engineering threats: Sometimes, the sources of corporate hacks, leaks and breaches are not the work of sophisticated hackers utilising advanced technical approaches but are the result of simple social engineering threats. Criminals engaging in social engineering threats can gain access to information by manipulating the trust of users, who might not be aware of the looming security threat. These threats use human psychology to achieve nefarious goals and are quite common today.
- Data security: Hackers often target data when they breach a system or database. They either have a financial motive or are conducting espionage against a particular country. In the first half of 2021, there were more than 18 million data breaches recorded globally, which is more than the population of the world.
- Increasing breaches in the social media privacy: Social media privacy breach is one of the most common types of cybersecurity attacks. With growing concerns about privacy breaches, people have started focusing more on how social media companies gather and use data.
- Increase in supply chain attacks: Cyberattacks no longer impact just enterprises, they often have a ripple effect that harms partners, providers, customers and others who are involved in the supply chain.
- Weaponising deepfake technology: There are many advanced tools to create fake but convincing videos and audios. Cybercriminals increasingly use this technique to steal money, manipulate stock prices, and alter the opinions of people via social media.
- Cloud vulnerabilities: Almost every other enterprise is using cloud technology to minimise pressure from the enormous amounts of data on their internal hardware and electronic gadgets. But not all cloud programs provide proper encryption and authentication. Before moving to the cloud, it is crucial to ensure that the business is using robust security measures within its framework.
- IoT vulnerabilities: Internet of things (IoT) attacks have now increased in frequency. Every IoT device that is added to home and business appliances provides an opportunity to attackers to exploit the device.
- Credential stuffing: Credential stuffing is a cyberattack in which the stolen credentials from a data breach are used to log into other related devices. Such attacks are on the rise because of the increase in the use of intelligent robots that simultaneously attempt several logins and appear to originate from different internet protocol (IP) addresses.
- Phishing: Phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks that attempts to fool employees into providing hackers their personal data, such as usernames and passwords. Office employees might see thousands of emails and messages in a day. The sheer purpose of communicating might make them send sensitive information via a scam message or email, which might create havoc for the entire enterprise.
Enhancing cybersecurity through technology solutions
A variety of tools help in securing the movement of data across enterprises, thus reducing the exposure and risk of cyberattacks. Some of these include:
Ensuring that access to critical files and data is restricted to only essential employees is the best way of mitigating cyber risks. To accomplish this, businesses should use role-based access control (RBAC) software, which restricts access to certain data, making it available for full viewing and access to only authorised users. Leveraging RBAC is an effective way of improving an enterprise’s cybersecurity significantly, as it makes it difficult for hackers to access files that are restricted and secured.
MFAs and VPNs
Nearly 95 per cent of web application attacks are performed using weak or stolen credentials. By implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), multifactor authentication (MFA) and end-to-end encryption, enterprises can provide an extra layer of protection against these simple data breaches. Adding more secure authentication methods makes it significantly more difficult for attackers to penetrate the additional layer of security. Additionally, operating on an unsecured Wi-Fi network is virtually asking hackers to come in and wreak havoc. To combat this, investing in a solid virtual private network (VPN) is crucial. Leveraging the private tunnels created by VPNs can allow businesses to keep a mobile workforce while still maintaining their cybersecurity.
COTS software solutions
While many consumer off-the-shelf (COTS) software solutions are backed by companies with strong cybersecurity measures, their pervasiveness could make them a larger target for hackers – increasing the potential for them to be the open door that leaves a business exposed. Investing in customised software development, be it brand new solutions or tailor made integrations with current COTS software, could inhibit and deter hackers from attempting to infiltrate a network.
However, while taking this route, it is crucial to assess custom software developers and ensure that they have not only the development expertise to create and/or deploy a solution but also the cybersecurity knowledge and industry-specific experience to ensure that the software solution can meet all of the enterprises’ business and security needs.
Automated remote backup and data recovery
When internal business systems endure a breach, they become highly vulnerable to complete data loss, a server crash or numerous other technical disasters. To prevent this, enterprise heads should prepare now and invest in automated remote backup and recovery implementation services to ensure that their data is backed up on a single, reliable source that can easily be recovered in case of a malicious event. Doing so can mitigate the damages caused by ransomware attacks that could render an enterprise’s own data encrypted and unusable.
Encryption and tokenisation
With the increasing threat of data breaches, enterprises across sectors are focusing on securing their data. To this end, they are deploying technology solutions such as encryption and tokenisation, which protects data down to the field and subfield levels.
Intrusion prevention system
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) identifies suspicious activities and prevents them from attacking device networks. This technology solution monitors activities and captures information and reports them to network administrators. If a malware is detected, the IPS initiates preventive steps to block employees or guests on the network from engaging in harmful behaviour.
Secure web gateway
A secure web gateway acts as a checkpoint that prevents unauthorised traffic from entering an enterprise’s network. By examining all incoming and outgoing data in the network, it creates a barrier against malicious traffic. Furthermore, sophisticated, secure web gateways can prevent data exfiltration.
Authentication of hardware devices
The authentication of hardware devices enhances operational security. This can be particularly important for IoT devices. Through authentication, secure access can be provided to any IoT-enabled device trying to connect to another. It also enables the identification of the correct device to be connected.
User behaviour analytics
With the help of blockchain technology, user behaviour analytics (UBA) identifies the blind spots in an enterprise’s security. It helps the enterprise in differentiating between the activity of a legitimate user and that of an attacker by comparing a user’s present and past behaviours. It also studies the behavioural pattern of operational activities in the same department through peer analysis, and raises a red flag in case of any vulnerability or suspicion.
Deep learning, similar to UBA, focuses on anomalous behaviour. It encompasses a number of technologies, such as AI and ML. Through this solution, enterprises can understand situations where malicious behaviour deviates from legitimate behaviour in terms of security.