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Reactive Cybersecurity Measures Will Not Protect You

Sep 8, 2020

Chuck Orrico, Executive Vice President at DYOPATH

When it comes to cybersecurity, one key area where many organizations go wrong is by approaching it from a reactive stance. In doing so, they are essentially just waiting until a cyberthreat happens to respond to it. While reactive measures do have their place in a cybersecurity strategy, wouldn’t you rather implement effective solutions that can not only respond accordingly to attacks but also help to predict and prevent attacks ahead of time, minimizing your organization’s overall risk?

If you have been following along with our “Cyber Risk is Business Risk!” campaign, you likely know by now the damage that cyber risk can cause a business. In the first of my three-part blog series, I discussed this risk and its true cost on an organization. In my second blog, I delved into the urgency of cybersecurity, as businesses everywhere are now facing uncharted waters in cyberthreats amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Now I’d like to talk about the best way to move forward with your organization’s cybersecurity so that you can feel empowered in taking the necessary precautions to minimize not only your cyber risk but your business risk as well. The best way to do this is by adapting the antiquated method of reactive cybersecurity into a more effective, layered strategy that combines both reactive and proactive measures.

It’s not that a layered approach is a new trend in cybersecurity or something that Managed Service Providers like DYOPATH try to push for bolstering our sales. There has become a true need for it in mitigating cyber risk. And as I have been emphasizing, the less cyber risk an organization takes on, the less business risk they are exposed to.

The reason for this need is fairly straightforward. Cybercriminals have significantly stepped up their game, all but assuring that a cyberattack is inevitable in an organization’s future. Hackers, and the technology they use, have become increasingly more sophisticated and their attacks are occurring more frequently. Because of this, your organization needs to have countermeasures in place that are capable of combatting this sophistication.

Cybersecurity: It’s Not a Matter of If It Will Be Compromised, but When

When it comes to your organization’s cybersecurity, the question you should be asking is no longer if it will be compromised, but when will it be compromised.

There are new cyber threats being discovered every day. McAfee Labs released their COVID-19 Threats Report in July in which they observed 375 new threats per minute in malware alone during Q1 2020.

To make matters worse, traditional cybersecurity point products just aren’t cutting it anymore. Organizations are discovering that they are still being infected despite using point products like email/spam filters and antivirus software. I have met a lot of people throughout my years in this industry who have a mindset of, “I have a firewall, and that’s enough to protect my organization.” But this is very far from the truth. No single defense tool can sufficiently protect against the many characteristics of a multitude of threats. This is the same scenario when relying solely on reactive cybersecurity measures. Tackling cybersecurity from a single-layered solution will only do so much. It will leave large gaps in your organization’s ability to predict future threats and rebound successfully when attacks do occur.

It only takes one successful attack to cause serious damage to your organization, be it downtime, service disruption, or compromised data. Because of the frequency and ferocity of attacks we’re seeing now, it’s almost guaranteed that every organization, from small businesses to educational institutions to high-level enterprises and government agencies, will experience a security threat at some point.

Combatting the Sophisticated and Persistent Hacker

Making this threat landscape even more challenging, is the fact that hackers are using ever-evolving strategies and software. Unfortunately, technological advancements aren’t restricted to being used for good, and there is no way to prevent threat actors from using these innovations with malicious intentions. As the number of threats increases, so to, do the deceptive means for penetrating networks and capitalizing on software vulnerabilities.

Organizations that rely on reactive security measures are having a harder time detecting attacks, as hackers are using methods that aid them in going unnoticed. They are finding new ways to penetrate systems and are able to launch thousands of persistent attacks, searching for a single weakness or gap in security that will allow them to compromise operations.

Security teams need to stay one step ahead of these hackers and the strategies they are employing in order to consider every contingency. To do this, reactive strategies need to be coupled with proactive measures to create a layered cybersecurity plan.

Technology and Training: A Layered Approach to True Cybersecurity

As I mentioned, there is not an isolated, singular solution that will combat cyber risk. The answer to true cybersecurity lies in a layered approach. Instead of relying on one or two layers of defense, multiple layers of security cover all angles, from prevention to detection to response. Each layer of security builds upon the next, reducing the chances that an attack will succeed as it has to penetrate numerous layers to do so. What one layer misses, another layer might catch. The more intricate a layered approach, the higher the organization’s cybersecurity posture.

Part of this layered approach requires focusing on the human element of cybersecurity, and this can often be where organizations come up short. Cybersecurity involves all levels of business, not just IT, and because of this, all employees need continual security awareness training. A large majority of breaches come from within an organization due to misuse of data, failure to follow procedure, and lack of expertise. Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that more than one in five data breach incidents was the result of an employee mistake. Solid security training goes a long way in developing employees from a potential threat into the first line of defense.

The other part of this approach relies on using technology, which allows for the appropriate processes and products to be deployed. The processes and products used for each client can vary widely. At DYOPATH, we design customized, layered solutions for our clients based on their specific needs, goals, and risk assessment. Because of this, a layered approach for one client might look completely different from another client’s.

However, the following are just a few of the core Managed Security Offerings that DYOPATH typically combines with individualized security layers to develop a strong, layered cybersecurity plan:

  • Threat Intelligence – We stay abreast of emerging and existing threat actors and threats that may target your organization, tailoring your protection to safeguard against these threats.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) – Real-time continuous monitoring of endpoints that helps us detect, investigate, and remediate known and unknown threats.
  • Vulnerability Management – We continuously discover, categorize, assess, mitigate, and remediate software vulnerabilities across your entire organization.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) – All alerts, logs, and event data are managed in one platform that is continually tuned by experts in our 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) to avoid unnecessary alarms.

Ultimately, you should manage your cybersecurity just as proactively as you do your building security. You would never wait until a physical presence threatens your building security to act against it. In the same way that you use fences, locks, and security cameras to prevent on-site dangers before they occur, you also need to establish preventative and proactive measures to lessen the chances of your organization falling victim to cyber risk.

If you are interested in learning how DYOPATH can implement our proven processes and best-in-class technology to create a customized layered security plan for your organization, schedule a meeting with our security engineers today.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on cyber risk in business. I hope that I was able to give you some useful insight into mitigating your business risk by optimizing your cybersecurity.

Chuck Orrico, Executive Vice President

About the author: Chuck Orrico is the Executive Vice President (EVP) at DYOPATH. He is responsible for leading strategic growth initiatives across both sales and marketing. Chuck has more than 35 years of experience in helping clients develop business solutions through IT strategic planning, information management and technology investment. Today, his entrepreneurial spirit and keen business acumen have helped DYOPATH maintain its focus on quality, which has resulted in improved business operations for its clients. His leadership is grounded in mentorship, business growth and client satisfaction. His passion for DYOPATH comes from the culture, values, and working with “A” players.