Keeping data secure in the ‘24/7’ world

Unlike earlier, when data was confined to one territory, it now travels the world as the employees move along, giving access to corporate data anywhere, anytime

By: Shrikant Shitole, Managing Director, India, Symantec

Waves of digital transformation have impacted businesses and governments alike. The environment today is dynamic and customers are more demanding. Technology has enabled businesses to understand the customer needs better, thus providing them a competitive advantage. It has further aided businesses to stay flexible and scalable.

The digital evolution has created innovative scenarios, solutions, and applications that have enhanced and eased the operational and economical aspect of businesses—right from benefiting customer experience to effective business decision making.

One of the largest contributors for this transformation is perhaps the mobile-enabled workforce that exists in most India enterprises today. Its greatest advantage is that the employees are always connected. While this aides the growth of business, this hyper-connectivity has increased the risk of data breach. Unlike earlier, when data was confined to one territory, ie workplace, it now travels the world as the employees move along; giving access to corporate data anywhere, anytime.

The popularity of smartphones has exploded in the last five years and IT departments are evolving to embrace the concept of ‘Bring Your Own Device’. But today, it has traversed beyond device, it is now also about ‘Bring Your Own Application’ and ‘Bring Your Own Cloud’ into the workplace. Mobile applications and cloud services are increasingly engrained into all parts of our personal lives. This dependence on technology has become a tangible weak link for enterprises for securing business critical information, thus making the organization vulnerable to cyberattacks. Some of the biggest names in the healthcare, retail, and media & entertainment sectors have been compromised in the last few years, which is an indicative to impact the digitization and intricacies of cybersleuths.

Additionally, consumerization of IT has diminished the lines between personal and enterprise computing devices. The confluence of these trends has resulted in increased in the number of endpoints, both on-premise and outside the corporate network. With organizations making an infrastructure shift, there has been a tactical shift among cyber attackers as well. They are now infiltrating networks and evading detection by hijacking the infrastructure of major corporations and using it against them.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Vol. 20, globally, five out of every six large companies have been hit with targeted attacks in 2014; this marks a 40% increase over the previous year. Businesses in India were not immune from these attacks either, with 60% of the targeted attacks aimed at large Indian enterprises, especially across critical verticals like BFSI, energy, transport, and communication.
So, what should an enterprise do to better protect themselves and their business critical information—which holds the trust of customers and brand identify together from security threats?

„ Understand Your Data: The anywhere, anytime access of data demands for understanding of the data. As the first step, it is important to understand what data is important and who should have access to it and to what degree. This limits the accessibility of information; thus limiting the possibility of threats via weaker on unknown sources.

„ Be Agile; Uncover the Stealth Advanced Threats: Security products, largely deployed today, are not integrated—the security analysts examine many distinct consoles and manually ‘connect the dots’ to get visibility into suspicious activity in their environment. This manual process may take days or weeks to gauge, understand and eliminate the risk. Hence, prioritization and assessment of situation is critical and time-sensitive. It is important for a business to be equipped with the right tools to gain visibility of the present state of dormant and active live threats within the network environment and across IT asset estate.
Advanced attacks can cut across multiple control points making it worse for customers. Enterprises are also increasingly facing targeted and multi-phased attacks, many of which can remain undetected for years—like the new pieces of malware, Regin that was uncovered by Symantec recently. Enterprises today should consider threat protection solutions that can detect and analyze advanced attacks designed to bypass traditional security defenses.
„„ Act Fast: The process of uncovering threat data across endpoint, network and email gateways is manual and time-consuming, which gives attackers an edge. To curb the impact at the minimum, it is important to report it at the earliest possible and act fast. If a devices is compromised, security professionals may consider to revoking the issued certificates or one may consider changing passwords. Furthermore, organizations should opt for security products that can provide administrators with the visibility and ‘rich’ intelligence needed to uncover and remediate advanced attacks.

„ Streamline Solutions, Capitalize on Existing Investments: Businesses today do not want to deploy multiple solutions to protect each end point. For business benefits they should rather deploy solutions which will integrate itself with existing infrastructure. Solutions like Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) leverages existing threat protection infrastructure, helping companies to achieve an effective data protection regime without the expense and implementation issues from vendors.

Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), is a solution that will allow enterprises to uncover, prioritize, and remediate advanced threats and zero day attacks fast, all without adding any new endpoint agents to thwart these threats. A solution of such nature correlates suspicious activity across all control points and prioritizes the events that pose the most risk to an organization, thus and addressing and remediating the risk in a time efficient manner. This also provides the customer the ability to remediate everywhere, across all three control points.

In today’s interconnected world, the question is not if an organization will be attacked, but when. The best practices, coupled with ongoing education and training prepared an organization to protect against security breaches. The need of the hour is to adopt scalable, flexible strategy; taking advantage of new and upcoming security features to equip them with to combat unforeseen challenges to their security infrastructure.

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