The cyber threat landscape has evolved rapidly in recent years. Gen V cyberattacks such as the SolarWinds breach and the exploitation of the Log4j vulnerability have demonstrated that cyber threat actors have grown more subtle and sophisticated, amplifying the threat that they pose to organizations.
Check Point Research’s 2022 Cyber Security Report describes some of the advanced threats that companies faced in 2021 and how they continue to evolve into 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed significantly to the evolution of cyber threats. As cybercriminals took advantage of changes to corporate IT architectures driven by COVID-19, companies faced a cyber pandemic as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Managing the threat of cyberattacks to the organization and preventing the next cyber pandemic requires implementing cybersecurity best practices throughout the organization. Here are ten of the most important steps that companies can take to protect themselves against evolving cyber threats.
While corporate cybersecurity programs often focus on threat detection and response, prevention is the most effective and cost-effective way of managing cyber risk. By blocking threats from gaining access to company networks and systems, an organization can eliminate the cost and damage that they could otherwise cause to the organization.
Below, we dive into ten cyber security best practices that organizations can take in order to protect themselves against evolving cyber threats
Historically, companies have often implemented a perimeter-focused security strategy where everyone inside the perimeter is trusted and all threats are believed to originate from outside. With this implicit trust in insiders often came excessive access and permissions being granted to employees, contractors, applications, and devices.
This perimeter-based security strategy is ineffective at protecting against modern cyber threats due to the risks of failed defenses, insider threats, account takeover attacks, and other factors. A zero-trust security strategy is designed to manage these risks by granting each user, application, and device the bare minimum access required to perform its role within the company. By limiting permissions and granting access to resources on a case-by-case basis, zero-trust security minimizes the impact of a successful attack against an organization.
Cyber threat actors rarely gain immediate access to the resources targeted in their attacks. For example, cybercriminals commonly gain initial access to user workstations through phishing emails or other attacks. They then can move laterally through the network to attack more high-value targets, such as database servers or critical systems.
Network segmentation is designed to make this lateral movement more difficult by breaking the corporate network into discrete pieces based on business needs. By placing next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) between network segments, an organization increases the probability that attempts at lateral movement will be detected and blocked.
The average security operations center (SOC) currently operates 76 different security solutions. Deploying, configuring, monitoring, and managing all of these solutions is expensive, requires significant effort, and degrades SOC analysts’ network visibility and ability to effectively identify and respond to potential security incidents.
A consolidated security architecture simplifies and streamlines an organization’s security infrastructure. Instead of managing multiple devices that need to be manually integrated and independently operated, a consolidated cybersecurity architecture enables centralized threat monitoring and security management, amplifying the efficiency and effectiveness of the corporate SOC.
Unifying corporate security architectures with an ELA
An enterprise license agreement (ELA) enables an organization to consolidate its security architecture and its management of security licenses. Instead of individually managing an array of security solutions and their associated licenses, an organization purchases a single license for all of a security vendor’s solutions.
An ELA can enable an organization to consolidate its security architecture. This brings significant benefits to the business.
Corporate IT environments are rapidly growing more complex. With the surge in remote work, corporate environments include a growing percentage of mobile devices, cloud infrastructure, and IoT systems.
Cyber threat actors can exploit vulnerabilities in any of an organization’s devices and applications to gain access to sensitive data or corporate systems. Securing the enterprise requires securing everything within the corporate IT environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting adoption of remote and hybrid work drove a surge in mobile device usage. Remote workers commonly work from mobile devices, and companies are increasingly adopting bring your own device (BYOD) policies that allow employees to work from their preferred devices.
Cybercriminals have noticed the shift to mobile devices and are increasingly targeting these systems with their attacks. With a growing number of mobile devices accessing corporate systems and sensitive information, securing these devices is a vital component of an enterprise security strategy. Companies require mobile security solutions capable of protecting all of the organization’s mobile devices and preventing the exploitation of mobile-specific vulnerabilities and attack vectors.
Vulnerabilities in production applications have consistently risen in recent years. A major driver of this is the fact that security testing often takes a backseat compared to functionality testing and release dates. Often, security is considered only during the Testing phase of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) if it enters the equation at all.
As a result, software vendors commonly need to develop and release patches, and users need to apply them to protect against the exploitation of vulnerabilities in production code. This approach to application security is more costly and risky than identifying and addressing vulnerabilities earlier in the SDLC.
Shift Left Security means addressing security concerns earlier in the SDLC. Instead of waiting until the testing phase, security requirements should be incorporated into the initial design, and testing should be ongoing throughout the SDLC. By shifting security left, organizations reduce the cost and impact of vulnerabilities and the risk posed to their customers.
DevSecOps is the practice of integrating security into development processes. By building security tools into automated continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, an organization can simplify vulnerability detection and management, and improve the overall security of its products.
A consolidated security architecture streamlines DevSecOps by improving communication across an organization’s various units. DevSecOps tools can gain access to threat intelligence and information about newly identified vulnerabilities, simplifying the process of addressing these threats within the development process.
SOC teams are commonly overwhelmed by security alert volume and the complexity of effectively monitoring and managing their array of security solutions. Often, true threats are missed because they are lost in the noise or security teams lack the resources necessary to identify and remediate them.
A consolidated security architecture with an ELA simplifies security management by centralizing visibility and control over corporate systems. Without the need to monitor and manage an array of standalone systems, SOC analysts become more efficient. This increased efficiency translates into more bandwidth being available to address current threats and to take proactive actions to prevent future attacks or identify and remediate overlooked intrusions in an organization’s environment via threat hunting.
A disaggregated and disconnected security architecture composed of standalone security solutions is inefficient. Solutions that are not designed to integrate and work together may have overlapping functionality in some locations and leave security gaps in others. With an overwhelmed security team, some solutions may be underutilized or not used at all.
All of this contributes to higher costs while providing a lower level of corporate cybersecurity. A consolidated security architecture with an ELA can reduce an organization security TCO by eliminating inefficiencies, ensuring that an organization only pays for solutions that it actually uses, and potentially gaining the company discounted rates for security solutions.
Corporate security teams often operate in a reactive mindset. Security architectures are designed to focus on threat detection and response, meaning that the security team only acts once the attack has begun. Disconnected arrays of standalone security solutions are difficult and time-consuming to monitor and manage, leaving little time and resources available for other security tasks.
As a result, security teams often lack the time and resources necessary to perform proactive security actions, such as patching vulnerabilities before they are exploited or designing the corporate IT architecture to improve security. With a consolidated cyber security architecture that reduces the overhead of managing an organization’s security solutions, the corporate SOC frees up time and resources that can be used to get ahead of future threats and improve the organization’s overall security posture and risk exposure.
Phishing attacks remain one of the most common and effective techniques within a cyber threat actor’s arsenal. Tricking a user into clicking on a malicious link or opening an infected attachment is almost always easier than identifying and exploiting a vulnerability within an organization’s network. For this reason, phishing attacks are a leading delivery vector for malware and are commonly used to steal sensitive information such as user credentials or corporate intellectual property. Employees also unwittingly pose security threats to the organization in other ways. For example, the growing use of cloud infrastructure provides more opportunities for data leaks as employees place sensitive corporate and customer data on unsecured cloud infrastructure.
A consolidated security architecture provides an organization with a strong foundation for security and also for improving the security awareness of the workforce. Security training focused on the latest threats can help to reduce an organization’s exposure to evolving attack campaigns, and in-depth visibility into an organization’s network and IT infrastructure can support more targeted training based on the risky actions that employees may perform.
The cyber threat landscape is evolving rapidly, and sophisticated, Gen V cyberattacks are occurring more frequently than ever. As cyber threat actors develop more sophisticated techniques and take advantage of supply chain vulnerabilities, high-impact attacks will only grow more common.
Managing an organization’s cybersecurity risk requires a security architecture that can effectively protect the enterprise against Gen V cybersecurity risks. Crucial capabilities include full visibility into corporate networks and systems, access to real-time intelligence about emerging threat campaigns, and a consolidated security architecture that supports rapid detection and response to subtle, sophisticated attacks that may target the entire enterprise at once. Perimeter-focused security architectures composed of dozens of standalone solutions no longer meet the needs of the modern enterprise and provide inadequate protection against evolving cyber threats.
Check Point Research’s 2022 Cyber Security Report details the many cyber threats faced by the modern business. Protecting against these threats requires a consolidated security architecture that is best deployed and managed using an Enterprise License Agreement. To learn more about improving your organization’s cybersecurity while reducing complexity and TCO, you’re welcome to schedule a meeting to discuss how Check Point Infinity ELA can help your organization today.