Prevention-First Philosophy: A Better Approach to Cybersecurity?

With cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and threatening to outpace cybersecurity models — isn’t it time to shift the focus on a prevention-first philosophy?

Cybersecurity has undergone significant changes over the years. The most notable change has been the shift away from the traditional perimeter defense, also known as the castle-and-moat strategy . While perimeter defense was once the go-to method for securing networks, it has several limitations in today’s threat landscape.

Presuming vs. Preventing Breach

The presume-breach model assumes that security has already been infiltrated. This approach falsely suggests that cybersecurity will identify and block 100% of threats at all times when a hacker only needs one shot to carry out a successful attack. 

On the other hand, focusing on preventing breaches  reduces the likelihood of an attacker successfully breaking into the system.

Prevention-First Philosophy

To prioritize prevention, organizations must adopt a security-first culture that involves everyone in the company. Security should be woven into the organization’s culture and part of everyone’s job description. This philosophy prioritizes security in decision-making.

Here are some recommendations for adopting a prevention-first approach to cybersecurity:

1. Employee education and awareness 

Regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs should be provided to all employees to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent potential cyber threats.

2. Implement robust access controls

Access controls such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and role-based access control (RBAC) should be implemented to restrict unauthorized access to sensitive data.

3. Software updates and patching

Regularly updating and patching software is crucial to address known vulnerabilities attackers may exploit.

4. Network segmentation

Limits the impact of a potential breach by separating sensitive data from other areas of the network.

5. Regular security assessments and audits

Identifies potential vulnerabilities and areas that require improvement, allowing for proactive measures to be taken.

6. Proactive threat hunting

It involves actively searching for potential threats and anomalies in the network and taking action before a breach occurs.

7. Incident response plans

Organizations should have an incident response plan to ensure a swift and effective response during a breach.

Prevention-First Technologies

Technologies that are developed with a prevention-first mindset can offer better protection for organizations, reducing the risk of successful cyberattacks. Along with these advanced tools, organizations must develop a comprehensive security strategy tailored to their business needs, risks, and potential threats. By combining these efforts, organizations can create a holistic security approach that prioritizes prevention while being ready to detect and respond to any attempted cyberattacks.

Below is a list of technologies that support prevention-first security:

1. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs)

These firewalls incorporate intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) and application-level gateways to provide more advanced threat protection.

2. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) 

EDR solutions continuously monitor endpoints, detect potential threats, and respond to real-time incidents.

3. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) 

These solutions offer visibility and control over data and application usage in cloud environments, ensuring that sensitive information is protected.

4. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) 

SIEM solutions collect and analyze data from different sources to identify and respond to security threats.

5. Identity and Access Management (IAM) 

IAM solutions provide centralized management of user identities, authentication, and authorization, ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive data and applications.

6. Threat Intelligence Platforms (TIPs)

TIPs aggregate threat data from various sources and provide actionable insights to help organizations proactively detect and respond to potential threats.

AI Predictive Models

By analyzing large amounts of data and detecting anomalies that may indicate potential cyber threats, AI predictive models help organizations stay ahead of cybercriminals. Here’s a list of how AI predictive models can enhance cybersecurity.

Detecting Potential Cyber Threats

    • Behavior-based machine learning models can analyze network traffic and pinpoint any unusual activity, such as atypical traffic patterns, unknown files, and new user accounts with privileged access.
    • These models can learn from previous threats and continuously adjust their algorithms to detect new threats automatically.

 

Preventing Phishing Attacks

    • Machine learning algorithms can analyze large volumes of emails and identify suspicious links or attachments characteristic of phishing attacks.
    • These algorithms can learn to recognize the content and sender information typically found in phishing emails, reducing the chances of employees falling prey to such scams.

 

Detecting and Responding to Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

    • APTs are complex cyberattacks that can evade traditional security measures, making them particularly challenging to identify and prevent.
    • By analyzing network traffic, machine learning algorithms can detect signs of APT activity, such as data exfiltration, command and control (C&C) communication, and lateral movement.
    • By learning from previous APT attacks, these algorithms can continually improve their detection capabilities and identify new threats.

The Bottomline: Invest in Prevention

Organizations must view cybersecurity as an investment rather than an expense to prevent cybersecurity breaches. The Boards and C-suite executives should recognize that investing in prevention is essential and view it as a long-term investment that will provide returns over time. A prevention-first philosophy requires investing in technology, people, and processes, that will pay off in the long run.

Predict known and unknown threats—and stop them before they happen

UDT empowers organizations to anticipate and intercept potential cyberattacks before they can inflict damage. Adopting a prevention-first approach allows organizations to stay one step ahead in the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape and effectively safeguard their valuable assets.

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Experiencing a security breach?

Get immediate assistance from our security operations center! Take the following recommended actions NOW while we get on the case:

RECOMMENDED IMMEDIATE NEXT ACTIONS

  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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