In today’s digital age, major security breaches are becoming more common every day. Are you sure your company is actually secure?
Many organizations unknowingly operate in a state of breach. In fact, 54% of data breaches go undetected for an average of 168 days. The longer a breach goes undetected, the more devastating the consequences will be. Beyond financial damage, your brand reputation can also suffer immensely. That’s why detection is such an important part of maintaining cybersecurity. By remaining complacent in your defensive measures, you put your company assets and data in serious danger.
But is threat detection all it takes to maintain cybersecurity? As you might expect, there’s a lot more to it.
To stay ahead of cyber threats, companies must take a layered approach to security. Detection plays a crucial role, but it’s still just one part of your larger strategy. Attackers come from all angles, so taking a single approach to cybersecurity is simply not enough.
Prevention is the first step in maintaining cybersecurity. Next, you need to develop a comprehensive threat detection and response strategy. Don’t consider if your company will be hacked, but when it will happen. After detecting the breach, it’s time to deploy your response team. Once everything has been done to repair a breach, you still need to analyze how your company fared during the crisis.
Let’s delve deeper into the essential stages of a strong cybersecurity framework.
To reduce the chance of a cyber-attack, you first need to learn about your weak spots. Conduct vulnerability assessments to determine your company’s current security posture.
A big part of prevention is improving your organization’s security culture. Employees often inadvertently open the door to hackers by clicking on links in phishing emails or downloading infected applications. Educate your employees on the basics of cybersecurity such as how to spot phishing emails and promote accountability.
To prevent intruders from accessing your company data, you want reliable end-to-end security solutions. Unified threat management offers your organization comprehensive security. Further, improve your security by adding network segmentation firewalls. If a threat does pass through your network, you can try to contain the malicious activity to one segment, rather than it spreading to all systems.
Threat actors love environments where vulnerabilities stay unpatched. Prioritize patch management to keep your networks secure. Get help from cybersecurity experts to determine when patches become available, understand what issues they correct, and ensure all your applications are updated.
2. Threat Detection
You can’t prevent every cyber-attack. Operate under the assumption that threat actors will get through your defenses. When you are the victim of a data breach, early threat detection will increase the chances of a positive outcome—don’t leave attackers lurking in your network.
What kinds of attacks are you being subjected to? Ensure you have the proper technologies and processes in place to continuously monitor your environment for malicious activity. You need to be able to spot new threats in progress and mitigate potential damage.
Seeing what’s going on in your network is pointless if you don’t know what it means. You need people on your team who understand the context of all types of alerts and indicators. This can be an overwhelming task, which is why many companies choose to outsource cybersecurity services.
When in breach, timing is of the utmost importance. You need to determine the full scope of the breach as fast as possible. Once detected, ensure to validate and contain all traces of the breach. Having an incident response plan in place is crucial to act quickly. While maintaining business operations, you need to secure your environment and mitigate any further threat activity.
Since you’ll be racing against the clock, your team might have to work evenings and weekends to fully address the attack. Your employees will have to remain focused without burning out. This is why engaging security experts prior to the breach is beneficial. They can immediately deploy their team after receiving an alert and help you reduce business loss.
Experienced incident commanders know what mistakes to avoid when responding to an attack. For example, turning off the breached system could clear critical information your forensics team needs. It’s also important to remove and make disk images of the infected hard drives before attempting to restore your system. You don’t want to put your original data at any more risk if your remediation efforts fail. Plus, the infected drive could be used as criminal evidence.
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Even when the cybersecurity incident is over, your job is far from done. Once you’ve identified, contained, and remediated a cybersecurity incident, it’s crucial to understand all the details of what happened. To prevent future incidents and improve your company’s resilience, you first need to analyze the incident that just occurred.
Schedule a post-mortem meeting as soon as possible. To avoid making the same mistakes, consider the following questions:
- How long did the security incident go undetected?
- Could you have identified the incident sooner?
- Did you consult your incident response plan to ensure each step was taken in the correct order?
- Were the processes and procedures laid out in the incident response plan effective and appropriate?
- Did you have the necessary resources to handle the incident?
- Were the first responders promptly made aware of the incident?
- Were law enforcement and other industry-specific agencies alerted in a timely manner?
- Are there processes you could automate to better protect your company?
Your team should ultimately be asking “What can we do better next time?” during a post-breach analysis. After this meeting, evaluate your incident response plan and update areas as needed. Remember to continue monitoring activities, as additional threats often arise soon after the initial threat has been contained.
Ensure all staff are adequately trained and coach any employees who failed to successfully execute their tasks. While you’re likely to focus on what went wrong, remember to also recognize your staff who went above and beyond during the emergency. Doing so helps build a sense of community and lifts your employees’ spirits.