The latest cybercrime statistics seem to suggest that cybersecurity is an endless crisis. Cybercrime has risen to a level where it represents the most significant transfer of economic wealth in history – raking in $2 trillion globally in 2021. Clearly, the bad guys are winning. And as victims pick up what is left of their once thriving enterprise, we ask – how could this happen?
The answer is simple – we are slow to adapt to the changing digital landscape while criminals are quick to exploit it and wreak havoc. As it is often said – “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Your digital security architecture must transform with the current threat environment to stay resilient from attacks. Take a closer look at the 3 major digital landscape changes that businesses must adapt to survive in 2023 and beyond.
1. Cybercrime grew from individual hackers to a global crime network
What started as a few highly-skilled hackers in a tiny corner of the dark web has quickly evolved into a large-scale outsourcing business. Cyber Crime-as-a-Service or CCaaS is described as a highly organized and commercialized skill trade where cybercriminals, malware developers, and other threat actors sell their cybercrime services to their “customers”.
Many criminals now enjoy the equivalent compensation of a corporate 9-5 job with benefits and bonuses. Cybercrime quickly evolved into well-funded, professionalized and highly technical organizations.
Consider the alarming surge of State-Sponsored Attacks in the past months. The 2022 Microsoft Digital Defence Report (MDDR) reports that the proportion of cyber-attacks perpetrated by nation states jumped from 20% to 40% from last year. This was largely due to Russia’s heavy attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, as well as aggressive espionage targeting Ukraine’s allies, including the US.
A State-Sponsored Attack (SSA) is carried out by cyber criminals directly linked to a nation-state to identify and exploit national infrastructure vulnerabilities, gather intelligence, and exploit systems and people for money.
One might think that a foreign state would leave businesses alone and attack another. However, directly hacking a government or military system is significantly more complex, requires more resources, and, if detected, could be treated as an act of war.
2. Digital Transformation is Expanding The Attack Surface
Users, devices, applications and data have left the traditional office and data center. In the post-pandemic world of work, the perimeter no longer exists. The distributed environment that supports access from everywhere, makes it difficult to separate benign from malicious activity. A security-first approach to digital transformation provides trusted access by your workforce, clients, business partners and things.
For example, your security and identity deployments consist of multiple tools that often are not fully integrated. In some cases, there are multiple tools that may duplicate supporting functions. Operating these tools requires many separate dashboards, multiple policy administration points and maintaining many ad hoc integrations. This problem is exacerbated when new security or identity needs surface and new categories of tools are invented. There are too many separate tools with too many separate dashboards.
This complexity increases risk to the company’s digital infrastructure from evolving threats. Cybersecurity solutions enable stand-alone tools to work together in complementary ways to improve overall security posture by standardizing the way the tools interconnect.
3. Distributed Network = Greater Need for Compliance
No data protection regulation anywhere in the world expects your business to have a 100 percent perfect plan for fighting cybersecurity threats. However, your business is definitely expected to install all the necessary checks and balances that make up a resilient defense.
Should your business ever undergo a security breach and you fail to produce satisfactory evidence about undertaking preventive data security measures, you could find yourself in serious trouble. Two of the most common consequences you could face would be your cyber insurance provider’s refusal to pay for damages and a regulatory body initiating punitive action against your business.
With a growing number of endpoints in a distributed network, it is vital to map out a meticulous strategy to implement data security measures and make your business resilient to cybersecurity threats. Below are some of the data security measures and best practices you can start with:
Asset Discovery and Management
Ensuring every single information asset and device on your network is accounted for and managed.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Efforts undertaken to define, maintain and authenticate access to your network, especially from remote users, to avoid any unauthorized access.
Data Discovery and Classification
Discovering and documenting the type of data your business collects, where it is stored and how it is processed, to determine a risk matrix.
Ongoing Risk Management
The act of gauging the risks your business data faces on a regular basis, including third-party risks, and carrying out remediation efforts proactively.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Acquiring robust tools to back up and recover data following an unsavory incident and testing them regularly.
Incident Response Plan (IRP)
A comprehensive plan to identify a security incident, contain it, notify your clients/customers about it, recover from it and document learnings from it.
The World Is Changing: So Must Your Cybersecurity
Digital transformations have changed how we work so much that criminals have increased their level of sophistication in carrying out their attacks. An investment in information security and data protection could potentially prevent 80% of attacks. If businesses recognize this, it could mean long-term success in an increasingly challenging digital landscape. This is an area where infosec professionals can deliver real business value.
Get the necessary expertise to adapt with the changing cybersecurity landscape without needing to hire an entire team.