Recent reports of large data breaches are alarming for everyone. Companies worry about the implications of having their financial and personal information leaked. Well-known and established organizations worry about the short and long term effects on their businesses. And smaller organizations worry about when they’ll be next. Two things we know for sure: the cost of a data breach is high and many companies don’t recover from them.
A question commonly heard in boardrooms around the world today is: what can organizations do right now to ensure they don’t fall victim to a data breach? Though many companies have security protocols in place, these don’t necessarily provide an Ironclad solution to defend them against the large variety of modern digital attacks. IronOak IT encourages six critical strategies that all organizations should consider:
1. Patch soon, patch often
A good number of successful attacks simply target vulnerabilities for which patches were already available. While new attacks are a real risk to keep in mind, most intrusions are caused by threats that have existed for weeks, months or even years. It is imperative that companies apply patches to each inventoried device and establish a formal patching and updating protocol. Ideally, the process needs to be automated, tracked and measured.
2. Combine local and global threat intelligence
Advanced threat intelligence allows organizations to reduce the time to detect threats and close the gap between detection and response. This begins by taking advantage of the threat intelligence that is already running on your network inside your firewall. For example, it is recommended that your IT firm install security tools designed to share, correlate information and take coordinated action. This means that when a new attack is discovered in a different continent such as Europe, your technology systems update their protection automatically – before the attack even reaches Canada.
3. Implement signature-based security tools
The use of an enterprise level firewall takes advantage of security features for you. Most of the vulnerabilities that are typically exploited are already known. Attacks targeting those vulnerabilities can be detected using signatures. Signature-based detection tools allow your IT team to quickly search and block any infiltration attempts, or the execution of an exploit targeting known vulnerabilities.
4. Add behavior-based analysis
Attackers also use advanced techniques such as learning and imitating legitimate traffic patterns to evade detection. Security tools not only need to verify and inspect data and applications that look for malware, but they must also provide insight and in-depth analysis by looking for patterns over a period of time in order to detect malicious intent. Where possible, intelligent security systems must be able to intervene proactively and automatically to neutralize an attack before it has even impacted your technology. For peace of mind, IronOak IT recommends that you confirm with your IT firm that your security systems include behavior analysis.
5. Close web-based attack vectors with web application firewalls
Many threats no longer enter the network through traditional channels. Web-based attacks take advantage of the exponential growth of applications, especially those designed to query and extract information directly in the data center. An effective way to close that gap is through the implementation of a WAF which is specifically designed to provide deep and high-performance inspection of web application traffic far beyond what traditional firewall technology provides.
6. Segment your network
Due to the fluid nature of networked ecosystems and the wide range of applications that use today’s networks and data that flows through them, it is imperative to establish an effective and secure network segmentation that avoids the lateral propagation of threats. The objective is to create a coherent policy that ensures that if a section of your network falls victim to an attack, the rest of your organization can continue normal operations.
The need for a dedicated IT Support team becomes evident when you consider these 6 tips to protect your company from data breaches. Professionals that know the ins and outs of your technology systems are critical in the ever changing world of IT. A dedicated team of experts that plan and deploy security solutions will keep your data secure.