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Proactive cyber security is your best defence

February 1, 2018

Proactive cyber security is your best defence

The adage that ‘the best defence is a good offence’ may as well have been written with cyber security in mind. With the average cost of a security breach estimated by Ponemon at around US$100 per compromised data item, security breaches are no laughing matter.

This makes proactive security measures more important than ever, and the industry knows it. In fact, Gartner predicts global IT security spending to balloon from $90 billion in 2017 to $113 billion in 2020. Here’s how businesses can stay one step ahead in a landscape of constantly evolving threats.

START WITH PERIMETER DEFENCE

The rise of cloud, mobile and software-defined networks has greatly increased the possible ways for hackers to breach a network. Accordingly, IT departments have been busy replacing their old firewalls, switches and routers with hybrid systems. But clever hackers can still find cracks in these defences, so it’s important to monitor them constantly for suspicious behaviour.

Gartner predicts that ‘active’ security measures, like endpoint detection and response (EDR), cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and behavioural analytics will grow in popularity. EDR monitors network activity on each device and logs it for further investigation and reporting; CASBs sit between your on-site infrastructure and your cloud provider, allowing you to extend your security policies beyond your perimeter; while behavioural analytics helps organisations to analyse online behaviour to spot suspicious activity and other warning signs of an attack.

AUTOMATED ATTACKS ARE ADVANCING

A growing number of cyberattacks are triggered not by hackers, but by automated bots and routines. Users need to be alert to abnormal system behaviour, such as a laptop slowed down by a botnet, or an unsecured network printer, and report it to the IT or security team in case it’s the result of an automated attack.

Improvements in technology have made it easier for botnets, and other automated attacks, to develop and spread. The problem will only grow as an estimated 20.4 billion internet of things (IoT) devices go online between now and 2020. The only way to fight back is to combine the right technical measures with security-savvy users.

THE BEST DEFENCE IS THE ONE THAT PREVENTS AN ATTACK

What if you could detect threats before they occur? That’s the promise of predictive analytics, which uses AI-enhanced analysis of security data to detect possibly suspicious behaviour.

While the technology is promising, it’s important to remember that it’s no security catch-all, and people remain the most important line of defence. It’s more likely that human and machine intelligence will join forces against cyberthreats – as demonstrated in a recent MIT study which claimed 85 per cent success in threat detection.

The growth in cloud, the IoT and bring your own device (BYOD) will keep security experts busy in the years to come. But if you really want to root out the malicious attacks before they cost you time, money and customers, you must be ready to invest in proactive security measures.