Infrastructure monitoring plays a key role in cybersecurity
Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, complex and frequent and both public and private organisations are increasingly being targeted. But there’s a question that may not be being asked enough: how can infrastructure monitoring play a critical role in preventing and responding to these constant cybersecurity challenges?
It may surprise most organisations that they have almost certainly already been a victim of a cyberattack and it is also quite likely they could be experiencing some form of cyberattack currently, but what are the real implications? Cybercriminals are constantly developing more intelligent digital threats, which can be released in various ways.
A cyberattack can cause a significant impact that will affect organisations in ways they have never imagined. IT systems may get shut down for long periods of time, losing capabilities as fundamental as email and web connectivity, customers and suppliers may leave or sue, deals may fall through, regulatory bodies may impose fines and executives may lose their jobs.
In my region alone, cybersecurity attacks are estimated to cost Australian businesses up to AU$29 billion per year according to PWC, which is equivalent to 1.9 per cent of Australia’s GDP.
Understanding the risks
Assessing an organisation’s risks is absolutely critical to building the cyber resilience needed to protect it from cyber threats and different types of organisations will have different priorities and also varying levels of exposure.
Security budgets and resources are limited so it is advisable to focus on the services and infrastructure that matters the most. Whatever an organisation needs to fulfil its mission, maintain its competitive edge or to keep operating. These critical infrastructure assets should be protected as a priority, for example, a betting site or retailer’s eCommerce front end or an online share trading platform’s high-speed connectivity to make instant trades.
Organisations today should place a much higher priority on the importance of securing their IT infrastructure. They assume it is sufficiently protected by a reliable firewall and an up-to-date virus scanner. However, cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated methods of infiltrating an organisation’s technology environment. Security programs sometimes only recognise trojans and worms after they are released, when it is already too late. As soon as the threat has access to one device, it’s usually just a matter of time before the entire system has been compromised.
The result is often data manipulation and loss, or takeover of computing capacity for criminal purposes. If the organisation’s systems malfunction because of a malware attack, business communications and order processing will stop functioning. The IT administrator will have a time-consuming search for the exact source of the problem. Which components of the security system have failed? Which areas or components have been attacked by malware? In order to avoid such incidents, the complete IT infrastructure should be protected.
Layers of defence
Organisations must establish a strong baseline of preventative, detective and responsive controls and prioritise these controls to improve cyber resilience. A clear focus on implementing layers of defence and monitoring them is imperative. In order to guarantee complete infrastructure protection, monitoring should not be ignored. Targeted application of this type of solution can significantly raise the level of security in the IT environment and this is particularly important due to the heightened Covid-19 risks.
Only an all-encompassing security strategy can offer companies sufficient protection in the context of risk management. Infrastructure monitoring serves as a supplementary, strategically important module in IT security, which should go above and beyond the use of firewalls and virus scanners.
In order to ensure the entire technology infrastructure is protected as strongly as possible against malware attacks or failure, absolutely everything must be monitored. Recognition of trends and developments is a significant factor in exposing looming threats.
Infrastructure monitoring provides exactly that early warning system required, making it an important extension to the security strategy.
Daniel Sultana is regional director for Asia Pacific at Paessler.
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.