Somewhere right now, sitting in front of a bank of computer screens in Russia, China, Iran, or even in the United States, is a band of cyber-criminals planning a nation-state grade attack. If they haven’t attacked your network yet, it’s just a matter of time. Taking proactive steps to secure your enterprise cloud now will give you the best chance to come out of the attack with your assets still secure.
Like most companies, you’ve probably migrated business functions and data to the cloud. Corporate secrets, critical assets, proprietary technology, and employee and customer data that had been secured behind a firewall are now tucked away behind user passwords and your cloud provider’s security offering.
Most enterprises and small businesses are under the impression that those measures are enough. Some believe they are too insignificant to warrant an attack and have nothing of value for threat actors.
Unfortunately, that attitude plays into the hands of cybercriminals who look to disrupt and extort businesses of all types and sizes. Wielding nation-state grade cyberattacks, they exploit inadequate security measures with ransomware, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and data breaches.
Throughout 2021, we’ve seen a sharp increase in both the volume and ferocity of those attacks. DDoS attacks last longer, ransomware attacks are more insidious and demand higher ransoms, and it only took until September for the number of data breaches in 2021 to eclipse the total from the entire 2020.
Needless to say, these attacks are far more than an inconvenience. They put business continuity at risk, making it imperative that organizations prioritize their cybersecurity approach, and take a far more proactive approach in securing their enterprise cloud environment as we move toward 2022.
Attack Simulations and Penetration Testing
Simulating a DDoS attack on your network cloud environment and performing penetration tests are two tools that provide a clear picture of your security posture.
When the simulations and tests are over, your security team can analyze their results. For those who successfully warded off the attack, it’s important to have experts review results and see how close they came to being breached and create a plan based on the results for security priorities moving forward. For those whose existing security tools were not enough, the CISO team needs to determine the root cause for their failure to perform as required. Some breaches are due to inadequate security tools, while others have effective tools in place, but they were misconfigured and therefore were unable to protect the company’s critical assets.
This proactive approach highlights any vulnerabilities that appear in your network, so your security team can quickly find and close them before threat actors attack.
Organizations can use the simulation as an opportunity to run an Incident Response drill, ensuring that their plan is up to date and the employees fully understand their roles in the event of an actual cyber-incident.
Enhance Automated Security Monitoring with Expert Eyes
Introducing elements of automation into your enterprise cloud security posture is an important step in securing your cloud. Cloud-based SIEM tools monitor all activities that take place on the network cloud, generating data and logs that can be used to find anomalies in network traffic or user behavior.
That data is then transferred over to a SOC team. These team members should be comprised of security experts who are trained to think like cybercriminals. They can review the data generated by the SIEM, and then proactively take actions to further protect the cloud network.
According to Gartner, 99% of all enterprise cloud security failures are the customer’s fault, and three-quarters of those failures are the result of inadequate management of identities, access, and privilege.
Put another way, human beings are often regarded as the weakest link in a security network. They tend to use weak passwords, and even those with strong passwords can often be manipulated to hand over a username and password. Furthermore, they tend to be less vigilant with role-based configurations, preferring to give all employees full access to a network cloud-based SaaS app rather than take the time to configure the full rule-based profile for each employee or role.
Cybercriminals don’t need to steal everyone’s password to gain access; they only need one, which makes employee training one of the most important – and proactive – security activities an organization can do.
Employees need to recognize the difference between phishing attempts by threat actors and legitimate emails. Many don’t realize the risk they pose to business continuity when they don’t use strong passwords or fully secure their enterprise cloud applications. Training sessions followed by annual or semi-annual refresher courses help drive that message home and limit the likelihood that employees will inadvertently expose their company.
Reactive Approaches Don’t Protect Against Tomorrow’s Attack
Every day, there are nation-state grade attacks being waged on businesses of all sizes, in every nation in the world. In 2020, ransomware payments cost an average of $312,000. This year, ransomware payments have increased to $570,000 and that amount only covers the ransom. It doesn’t include related costs like downtime, people hours, upgrading cybersecurity protections, higher insurance premiums lost reputation, legal fees, or lost business, which Sophos reports the average bill of $1.85 million in 2021. Even those companies that pay the ransom have no guarantee that their data is safe, or that they won’t be attacked again.
During the first half of this year, threat actors launched 5.4 million DDoS attacks, blocking companies from operating effectively and serving their customers.
Data breaches are on the rise. Early November 2021, online investor Robinhood announced that a hacker exposed data of 5 million of its customers, part of a growing trend that has exposed data from more than 280 million. Each breach, according to an IBM and Ponemon Institute report, costs companies over $4.2 million per incident.
There isn’t a company today that isn’t at risk of an attack. Taking a proactive approach to securing your network perimeter could be the difference the ensures your long-term business continuity.
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