The rising threat of cyber crimes
During the pandemic, dependence on digital technologies has seen unprecedented growth. From managing remote workforces to catering for changing customer expectations, the paradigm shift towards digital has brought a host of security challenges. With cybercrime costs expected to touch $10T by 2025, and the number of malware programs skyrocketing from 65 million to one billion according to AV-TEST Institute, it is evident that the threats and attacks are on an upward curve, with a scope that is spreading out to diverse business territories.
Hacking is a co-op game: What is more alarming is that these threat actors are often part of a coordinated effort to fulfill a broad objective. This effort may involve collaborating to create various malware, the method of its distribution, or the different mechanisms to monetize. Hacking, these days, has become a co-op game. The question then arises: when cyber-criminals and hackers come together to achieve a common goal, what stops us from collaborating effectively to build a culture of security and create a safer world?
With increasing complexity comes decreasing collaboration
The pandemic has given rise to hyper digitization, bringing in a dizzying array of new tools and digital services. As businesses scale up to cope with the ‘new normal', they often overlook the security implications that these new tools and services bring. In 2020 alone 20 billion personal records were exposed due to a variety of reasons. Security teams are struggling to keep up with the pace of adopting new digital initiatives and have to be in constant hero mode to save the day. The best way to address this challenge is by simplifying security without changing the overall end-user experience.
Simple Security Hacks
Some of the methods include:
- creating a simple, standardized control.
- leveraging automation.
- keeping the security layer transparent to end-users.
- factoring in end-user behavior when designing the rules.
Whichever strategy we adopt, refraining from bogging down the users with complex security measures is key to establishing a smoother end-user experience, resulting in broader adoption.
Empowerment breaks silos
The traditional business landscape is increasingly experiencing disruption by innovative, on-demand services that put end-users at the helm of affairs. Companies like Uber disrupted the cab industry by giving away control to the drivers, thereby operating with minimum ownership while fully empowering the drivers. The result? Faster, on-demand scaling and optimized cost by zero spend on maintenance.
Collaborating for a safer tomorrow: Empowering users and businesses to make informed decisions regarding securing their data and systems is the key to building a collaborative architecture that focuses on governance instead of control. Instead of letting security professionals burn out micro-managing controls, we must allow businesses and users to be responsible and let them weigh in on opportunities vs. risk when figuring out how to keep their systems and data secure. This promotes collaboration and allows us to scale faster in securing information while still optimizing our costs.
Building an open culture and trust for a secure world
Dr. Martin Luther King create a profound impact by mobilizing people to become activists? He could successfully create a culture of openness and trust that made people want to be a part of something more significant and more meaningful than themselves. Change agents through the centuries have been those who have inspired individuals to come together for the common good.
An open culture of cybersecurity requires us to instill a similar mission: security is everyone's responsibility. It is part of a bigger objective that demands continuous collective teamwork between businesses and security professionals. Like siloed systems, we, as individuals, can be slow in diagnosing and responding to threats, but with collaboration, we can work together and take collective action to stay protected.
In 2018, when Gary Brantley took his job as Atlanta's Chief Information Officer, the city was still reeling under the shock of one of the most high-profile ransomware cyberattacks which had hit over a third of their applications. This threat created a renewed focus on building a security framework through an open culture and a web of collaboration between state, city, and federal cybersecurity officials. The proof of the success of this effort was the subsequent Super Bowl event, which was one of the most extensive cybersecurity operations at a Super Bowl to date.
In the realm of cybersecurity, creating a consistent culture of sharing both our success and pitfalls helps build trust and resilience in our ability to keep their data secure. Research Wipro undertook for the The State of Cybersecurity Report 2020 showed that 60% of organizations participate in sectoral simulation exercises and 57% are willing to share Indicators of Compromise with their peers. These are great steps towards a more collaborative and secure world, and getting it closer to 100% would be a meaningful goal for all of us.