The most common cyberattacks tend to follow the same pattern: An employee receives a fraudulent email and unwittingly exploits a vulnerability upon opening a malicious attachment, exposing sensitive data. Of course, there are countless variations — an unknown vulnerability, encrypted or exfiltrated data, a malware-laden hyperlink — and each one could result in a serious security incident. Implementing specific security controls could mitigate a given risk, but is it enough to protect an organization from the wider threat landscape?
Breaking Down the Security Immune System
IBM defines cyberdefense as a security immune system that depends not on a single solution, but on an integrated set of complimentary controls to protect data. Below are some examples of various security professionals, controls and solutions working together to improve a network’s overall security posture:
- If data is backed up, the need to pay for its safe return is reduced in the event of a ransomware attack such as WannaCry. The same goes for vulnerabilities — while it’s critical to apply a patch as quickly as possible, one is not always immediately available. Backing up systems and data is the only way to protect against the ransoms and downtime that may be associated with unpatched flaws.
- Preventing and detecting security incidents is important, but the effectiveness of your security program depends on your incident response capabilities. Remediation efforts must be potent and compliant with all applicable regulations.
- Although they are not typically classified as such, physical events, or events observed with unstructured data, can occasionally alert administrators to security incident.
- Mobile device management (MDM) administrators are rarely strong security experts. The more threat intelligence these professionals have at their disposal, the more effectively they can remediate potential vulnerabilities.
- Finally, it’s critical to apply security controls to all data integrated within a security information and event management (SIEM) solution. That way, analysts can nip threats in the bud before they damage the network.
Evolving With the Volatile Threat Landscape
These are just a few examples, but a strong security program requires much more extensive integration of solutions. Furthermore, the security controls required to protect sensitive data will vary by industry, especially given the growing number of regulatory frameworks governing data privacy throughout the world.
Therefore, in addition to stopping threats in real time, an effective security immune system must be fluid, flexible and streamlined. Most importantly, it must be able to evolve in response to shifts in the increasingly volatile threat landscape.