The global pandemic has shifted our lives to an entirely online lifestyle, laying the groundwork for hackers to capitalize on the internet’s flaws. The old means of calling it a day after implementing a firewall, configuring a company VPN, and installing antivirus software are no longer enough. These measures are rendered ineffective in the case of misplaced devices and insufficient network management protocols. The foray of IoT devices, development of super-fast networks like 5G and mass adoption of hybrid work have necessitated the development of new tactics to combat emerging dangers.
With cyber threats and resulting data loss proving to be a costly game to lose, the significance of implementing appropriate cybersecurity measures has proved to be imminent. It is important for CISOs to adopt a proactive approach toward cybersecurity to prevent scenarios leading to the breach of a corporate’s cyber layer. As a result of the shared view of being too small to be attacked, about 1 in 5 SMEs have been a victim of cyberattacks. However, practicing the minor steps of ensuring cyber hygiene will prevent hackers from sneaking into your digital compound and wreaking havoc. This article intends to shed light on the security measures a corporate must uptake to avoid topping the list of cyber-attack victims.
Dealing with the New Normal via UEMs
Disrupted supply chains, hampered communication, and suspended classrooms paint a clear picture of the havoc caused post-pandemic. However, the presence of remote onboarding and management tools helped turn the situation transitory. Getting onto a new job or returning to school was no longer a pipe fantasy.
A survey by UpCity points out that about 50% of the SMBs in the US have a cybersecurity plan. However, adopting solutions to satisfy the umpteen steps towards basic cybersecurity stops businesses from being cyber safe. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) addresses this issue by consolidating security measures into a single solution. To start with, adopting MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), updating software and patches, and alerting emails from suspicious sources could be done through UEMs. Along with restricting device functionalities, they can help push complex password policies for all device and work accounts. The app repository of an organization can be dictated by IT Admins, preventing the download of unnecessary or malicious apps while also granting employees the option to download apps that cater to their productivity. With the capability to lock down devices and display images/videos in loops, UEMs have found applications within the marketing sector to manage kiosks and digital signages.
Keeping tabs on the compliance status of devices, the solution is capable of pushing policies based on the location. Crisis Management and response is another feature a UEM promises. In the event of a breach, the device could be locked, wiped, or tracked as the situation demands. UEM solutions ensure that no security measure is overridden. Leaving employees with no choice but to ensure they follow these steps will do the trick.
IAM: For When you need to know the Who, What and Where
Identity is the fundamental link between users, devices and applications, and identity management day emphasizes the relevance of identity for businesses. However, about 98% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider threats today. With identity theft, the key to access sensitive corporate files, install/remove software and configure applications falls in the hand of the thief.
Saying goodbye to the days when an employee’s identity was defined solely by their username and password, dedicated IAM technologies now assure identity management while also limiting your employees’ access to sensitive data. In a nutshell, it defines who has access to what data in the corporate space.
Out of the many ways of ensuring identity and managing access, role-based access control (RBAC) grants users access to resources based on their company role. For e.g., The finance department of a company might not need access to the files of the HR department. RBAC ensures that employees are only provided with access to files required to carry out their tasks.
With data seeing quick migration to the cloud, IAM solutions have taken their avatar in the cloud as Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS). Moreover, IAM solutions have merged with or incorporated additional tools, including biometrics, Fast Identity Alliance (FIDO), adaptive MFA, machine learning and artificial intelligence, risk-based authentication and more.
There is more to Network Security
Out of the many basic measures towards attaining cyber hygiene, corporate VPNs are one of the first defence measures highly adopted. However, while VPNs can help you hide your IP address and browsing history, many fail to realize that VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are just tunnels created to ensure the safe transit of the data and do not promise the endpoint’s security.
The pandemic pushed employees to depend on their home networks, which prepared the stage for hackers to exploit VPN services used over home networks. Most home networks are not equipped or configured to defend against malware attacks. Hackers gain access from these less sensitive networks to more critical ones like corporate networks and can send malware from an infected machine through a VPN.
Considering the demands on having a safer networking approach, VPNs have got a much more evolved version through zero trust. ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access) brings granularity and flexibility to VPN’s security approach. Unlike the ‘castle and moat’ approach wherein every endpoint within the network is trusted by default, ZTNA repeats the authentication, authorization and validation process in repeated cycles after a limited timeframe. Culminating the advantages offered by ZTNA, SD-WAN (Software-defined Wide Area Network), New Gen SWG (Secure Web Gateway) and FSaaS, SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) has now entered the network security industry. SASE combines network connectivity and network security features, bringing security closer to the edge and dissolving the need for security to be run through centralized data centers.
It is important for CISOs to revisit the security measures deployed for securing your devices, email platforms, mobile applications and virtual environments. A single solution alone will not guarantee cybersecurity. Basic cyber hygiene measures in conjugation with prudent investment in enterprise security solutions will do the trick of securing your trade secrets from falling into the wrong hands. While these techniques do not guarantee an attack-free environment, they provide the highest level of protection.
The article has been written by Apu Pavithran, CEO and Founder of Hexnode | Mitsogo Inc