Cyber attacks

Data Security Incidents Prompt Organizations to Improve their Security Standards

The data held in every business is valuable, and in the prevailing hyper-competitive business environment, all enterprises are looking to leverage and monetize the information it holds to the maximum potential.

The threat landscape is exploding at an unimaginable pace. Cybercriminals are discreetly finding new ways to invade the most sensitive data from networks and to gain access, plant malware and launch a remote attack, and cause disruption to the organizational security. Safeguarding business data is a huge challenge for businesses today.

This disturbing upward trend in cyber-attack and data security incidents is prompting organizations to improve their security standards in every aspect to protect data and combat security breaches. Right from training employees to formulating robust security policies, organizations are setting up various strategies to secure data and assets that are critical to business operations.

“Enterprises have been able to gather, store and process data available in their business environment and to also use it for business purposes using big data analytics with reasonable success rates. This has made them realize that big data across their business environment is a valuable asset and needs to be well protected.

As a consequence, in addition to various legal requirements, most organisations take steps to protect their business data, assets and critical infrastructure with real time visibility, detection and remediation of threats. Information security policies, vulnerability analysis and mitigation procedures, updated cybersecurity solutions, training in-house staff and various other aspects are being revamped and recalibrated,” said Sriram TV- Director – Consulting & Business Development, Juniper Networks.

Data protection has become one of the top agenda for enterprises to remain competitive and profitable in their respective businesses. Traditional signature-based defense mechanisms are not enough to defend against sophisticated attacks. To battle against advanced data security risks, organizations must adopt proactive threat intelligence and mitigation strategies.

Importance of Securing Data

“The world of data security changes every day. Not only are there new threats from hackers, but changes in how we work are fundamentally shifting how we need to think about protecting important information” said Anjali Arora, SVP and Chief Product Officer, Rocket Software.

According to Gagandeep Singh, Practice Head, Risk Advisory Services & Security Intelligence and Operations, Aujas, organizations are realizing and recognizing the risks they are exposed to when it comes to their data which is leading to a more matured and considerate approach towards the data protection. Our industry and professionals do use data protection and data security interchangeably, however, they happen to be similar but two different terms one more encompassing than the other. The approach the most matured organizations have taken or may take would consist of the following steps:

-Data Protection Policy
-Involvement of business owners who also would be the data owners
-In-Depth understanding of critical and non-critical data
-Data Classification and labelling
-Data Flow Analysis
-Data Leakage risk assessment
Data protection controls like:
-Segmented Architecture into zones with different criticality levels
-Encryption, Hashing, Masking, tokenization
-Data Leakage prevention tools
-Database activity monitoring tools
-Access, Authentication, Authorization, Auditing and Rights management.
-Training and Awareness
-Backup and restoration
-Proactive Patch management and Vulnerability Management
-Strong controls on endpoints and employee exit management.
-Third Party Risk Assessments.

The impact is no more limited to financial or reputation loss, it also has considerable penalization from the regulatory and legal aspects which may range from monetary fines to business shutdown to imprisonment. In view of the above, organizations are going for a hybrid approach of getting more skilled resources themselves with the enterprise security experience and administration capabilities supported by subject matter experts from the focused organizations to help run the program efficiently and effectively. Another step more and more organizations have started to consider is to go for a red teaming exercises too.

“What companies need to look at is whether data discovery, classification, security incident monitoring and policy fine-tuning as a part of their data protection cycle. These are continuous processes and is a mandate for an improved data protection posture. Data repositories containing sensitive information across network and cloud need to be identified or discovered. Both structured and unstructured data need to be classified with deployment of the right data protection and monitoring controls,” said Narsimha Rao Mannepalli, Executive Vice President, Head of Cloud & Infrastructure Solutions and Infosys Validation Solutions, Infosys.

“Telecom and financial sectors, the two highly regulated industries until recently, have taken a lead in establishing strong data security initiatives in India. The companies need to ensure that a well-grounded data security policy is in place and encompasses people, process and technology paradigm to solve a business problem in today’s digital world. In addition, organisations need to understand where the sensitive data is stored and the nature of data that they have to precisely protect. Here, involving various business heads become important in order to understand the nature of data to protect and laying down a process on how to responsibly use it, and finally implementing the tools or technology to implement these policies, added Harshil Doshi Strategic security solutions consulting, Forcepoint.

With every new technology trend like cloud, internet-of-things, and mobility that an enterprise adopts, it depends on their DNA as to what level of security they want to implement to secure their data. For example after RBI relaxed the regulations regarding the use of cloud, provided the data center remains in India, banks have started to adopt cloud in a big way. This brings into picture the requirement of regulation compliance. From tools and technology perspective, DLP has become a mandatory technology along with encryption for enterprises to protect their critical data.

According to Phanikishore Burre, Head of Delivery- Cloud, Infrastructure and Security Services at CSS Corp., proactive security techniques that organizations must adopt to minimize risks:

  • Contextual adoption of emerging techniques like AI to accelerate threat detection and response
  • Real-time threat-intelligence to secure data privacy and protection
  • Threat intelligence dashboards for real-time insights into day to day business operations and security risks
  • Mine volumes of data and enable intelligent and actionable recommendations
  • Proactive penetration tests to ensure the health of data networks and IT assets

“At times one wonders if security is only a problem of IT alone as it spans across the entire organization. However, at CSS Corp, we have aligned ourselves to lead and implement safeguards, and tool-based protection against targeted phishing attacks, spam, ransomware, and data leaks.

Our Intelligent Security Operations Centre (iSOC) platform proactively assesses an enterprise’s preparedness to handle cyber-attacks. Endpoints in enterprises that hold a huge amount of data are monitored on a regular basis to understand abnormal behavior and identify encrypted communications to the darknet,’  he added.

 

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