Digitization and the consumerization of IT have resulted in an increasingly connected world with enterprises adopting mobility to enhance collaboration, productivity and retain talent. Enterprise IT, however, is struggling to ensure the security of sensitive data in an environment where employees seek anytime, anywhere and any device access to corporate networks and applications. This is further compounded by the continually evolving threat landscape with hackers developing sophisticated tools to launch targeted attacks that the existing security tools are powerless to detect or prevent. Moreover, enterprise IT lacks complete visibility over end-user activities on unsecure mobile devices and organizations are not equipped with the necessary expertise or resources to manage end-to-end security in-house. To address these challenges and improve their response to security incidents, organizations are partnering with strategic security service providers.
This paper takes a look at the emerging security and threat landscape, the evolving role of the information security officer and the approach organizations need to adopt to overcome their security limitations.
Today, enterprises operate under the looming threat of online attacks that can occur at any time. Successful attacks can wreak havoc with an enterprise’s reputation, adversely impact business and employee productivity underscoring the need for adopting a strategic approach towards enterprise security. However, the in-house security function of enterprises often lack the requisite resources to detect and effectively respond to emerging and advanced threats forcing IT teams into reactive postures. As a result, several enterprises are outsourcing the management and implementation of their security programs to Managed Security Service Providers (MSPPs) equipped with advanced technologies, expertise, processes and tools. Enterprises can enhance security without investing heavily by partnering with MSSPs.
Cyber Crime Reaches a New High
Cyber criminals are successfully infiltrating numerous government and corporate networks and the range of attacks is expanding to include government-sponsored spying, watering hole attacks and zero day threats. Organizations are therefore finding it increasingly difficult to protect critical, proprietary and sensitive data. Going forward, the frequency and magnitude of security attacks is only set to increase. Also, the attacks will target a variety of components making their detection almost impossible. Given the advanced nature of security attacks, organizations will find it challenging to combat them effectively.
Cyber criminals invest in developing sophisticated hacking tools to exploit security vulnerabilities and have successfully developed robust tools with advanced features such as anti-forensics, easy to customize application programming interfaces (APIs), etc. Cyber criminals use advanced exploit kits that take advantage of vulnerabilities in the browsers and their plug-in features, email spams, operating systems, infrastructure and applications. Traditional security solutions such as intrusion detection systems/intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, content filtering and anti-spam products are powerless to detect these attacks.
Security Demands Are Growing
As enterprises increasingly rely on security technologies to help alleviate risks and reduce vulnerabilities, security naturally is slated to become a top priority for enterprises by 2020.
Organizations are facing cyber security threats such as data breaches that steal user/organization data, attacks on social media that exploit the trust of the brand, mobile malware attacks, sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service attacks particularly those on targeted host, and denial of service attacks.
In most cases, security vulnerabilities are identified only after the organization has suffered the consequences of a security incident or attack with substantial impact on business. Such incidents are primarily due to improper assessment of business risk, poor security incident detection, inadequate monitoring and weak response mechanism/controls.
Cyber Threat and Risk Landscape
Malicious entities use a variety of methods to infiltrate corporate networks thereby eroding customer confidence.
Figure 1:Depicts the different types of tools
Enterprises need to “Gear Up”
Enterprises need to change the way security operations are managed to handle the complex cyber threat landscape, its sophistication and the havoc it can create. They should invest to build the necessary infrastructure and hire skilled resources to proactively gain intelligence on threats, traffic behaviors and risk that cannot be detected by traditional means. They should therefore hire threat intelligence analysts to proactively detect suspicious/malicious behavior. While some entities in the government and financial sectors have integrated this function into their organizational setup, a majority of the enterprises have not taken this step.
Leveraging and seamlessly integrating existing physical and IT security systems with unified communications and flexible command and control systems is essential to enhance an organization’s ability to foresee and protect itself from potential threats.
Changing Role of Today’s CISO
In today’s increasingly connected world, the role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has evolved into the role of a chief security officer encompassing physical and technical aspects of organizational security. Additionally, the CISO is expected to:
Handling these responsibilities efficiently and implementing a comprehensive security program demand specific skills and expertise that may not be available in-house. As a result, despite investing substantially in security technologies, organizations continue to face data breaches due to improper implementation of security programs.
In this scenario, CISOs should consider engaging with a service provider equipped with the expertise to provide the support that enables them to fulfill their responsibilities without compromising quality. While outsourcing will relieve the CISO from managing security systems in-house, lower total cost of ownership and capital expenditure besides providing better security expertise, the responsibility of a data breach will lie within the organization. Hence, CISOs should conduct a thorough investigation of the Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) before entering into an agreement. CISOs should carefully examine the following criteria while selecting the MSSP:
An MSSP’s Role in the Current Landscape
Several industry sources have predicted that the global managed security services market will grow at over 16 percent in the coming few years. It is evident from this data that organizations no longer believe that they are equipped to handle the evolving needs of information security. As a result, MSSPs will play a greater role in the security landscape and offer the following benefits:
The continual occurrence of security breaches has underlined the inadequacy of enterprise IT to protect confidential information and manage the security needs of the organization effectively. Enterprises can, however, engage with an MSSP and leverage their superior technologies, processes, tools and expertise to enhance security which is essential for protecting data as well as ensuring regulatory compliance.