Why Traditional Cybersecurity Doesn’t Work

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As a business leader, it is critical to understand that your business is constantly at risk of being a victim of a cyberattack. Cybercriminals continue to launch new and more sophisticated exploits with ransomware, viruses, phishing, and denial-of-service attacks that can spread through your network and computers like wildfire. This puts you in the position of constantly playing defense. If you don’t have the right solutions and expertise to proactively detect and respond to these invisible threats, then your data and your business are in jeopardy. Just one error can lead to an event that could have a devastating impact on your business.

The Traditional Approach to Cybersecurity

Relying on basic cybersecurity defensive measures makes your business vulnerable. Period. The prevention security model and practices the industry has adopted over the past fifteen to twenty years are fundamentally flawed and no longer work as well as they used to. 

First, let’s assume every business today has some variation of the basic cybersecurity defensive equipment in place: commercial-grade firewall, intrusion protection software, URL filtering, email filtering, and antivirus. These are the most basic things you should have in place to protect your digital assets from threat.

Here is the catch that most business leaders don’t realize: The basic defensive equipment you put in place is designed to keep out the things that you or your IT team have configured to keep out. When properly configured, these solutions work together and do a pretty good job at keeping out those identified threats. But what about the threats you don’t know about? How do you detect and stop those threats?

The cyber threats we face are constantly changing. There are more devices connected to the internet than there are people in the world. Mobile devices, wearables, thermostats, and security automation sensors are all connected to the internet. In addition, we’re starting to see Internet of Things (IoT) devices expand beyond the consumer market. More industrial applications for IoT devices are appearing as manufacturers and logistics companies look to IT-based systems in an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals have already started using these IoT devices to launch attacks. The Mirai Botnet attacks occurred in 2016, which used vulnerable IoT devices to bring down the internet on the East Coast. A casino in Las Vegas was hacked through the use of a fish tank connected to the network. A fish tank. A college was attacked through its smart vending machines and smart light bulbs. Who can forget about the infamous hack of the Jeep Grand Cherokee back in 2015?

There are more devices connected to the internet than there are people in the world.

A New Approach to Cybersecurity

The point is that criminals are shifting their attacks away from where we watch and defend. You cannot stand over every employee’s shoulder telling them what they should or should not click on. Endpoint protection does not exist for these IoT devices. No one is watching these devices, and the manufacturers don’t even know what type of security they should be wrapping around them. This is only going to get worse as we see more devices introduced to the network.

How are you supposed to overcome these deficiencies? How can you protect yourself against an enemy that is constantly evolving?

First, we need to change the way we think about and approach cybersecurity. We approach cybersecurity the same way we approach protecting a building. Your firewall is the digital version of a security gate establishing a perimeter and the remaining filters act as an elaborate home security system with sensors and trip wires set to alert you when something bad happens. The problem is that you deploy these solutions and sit back, thinking you’re properly protected. But remember, cybercriminals have proven that they can get around these defensive measures and keep their presence hidden for seven months.

Instead, think of your new approach to cybersecurity more like the human body. How is it that you can always tell when you’re coming down with something before you actually ever get sick? Because you know your body. You know exactly how your body normally feels and can tell when something starts to feel off. So, you take some extra vitamin C, consume more fluids, or do whatever it is that you normally do to avoid getting sick.

This same tactic works with your business network. With the right technology solution in place, you can monitor everything on your network and create a baseline for how everything normally operates. When a machine starts to behave abnormally, you can isolate the device and determine if it has been compromised or if it’s simply experiencing a hardware failure. This type of solution will dramatically increase the speed at which you detect threats and your ability to adapt to change. By moving to a behavior-based security model, you’ll be able to see and respond to threats in almost real-time.

Even though risk is always present and the consequences can be destructive, you can create a plan. There are ways to guard against risks, to prevent them, and to minimize their effect if and when they occur.  To speak to someone about a risk assessment or creating a customized plan for your company, touch base with one of our specialists.

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