The State of Cybersecurity in a Digital Age
With the increase in ransomware, malware and denial of service (DoS) attacks within the global IT economy, companies small and large are looking to bolster their defenses. According to the Insurance Journal, the proportion of cyberattacks has increased from 38% to 43% in the past year. The pandemic has caused drastic changes to working environments and security protocols, opening up opportunities for aggressive actors to capitalize on weak spots in security. Data is now more at risk than ever as these actors find more sophisticated methods to steal and siphon data from unsuspecting employees.
One of the most common types of attacks involves social engineering, where an attacker poses as a colleague to gain vital information. It could be in the form of a text message, email or phone call, and is used to manipulate employees to reset passwords, gain access to networks and/or send important documentation.
These attacks have been especially prevalent within large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Attackers recently gained access to proprietary information and sensitive customer data at Microsoft through a phishing campaign. A large amount of data was recovered and secured while networks received a major refresh to get Microsoft back online. However, major Microsoft partners’ sensitive data was still exposed. (Reuters)
For good reason, cybersecurity is top of mind for most, if not all, companies in 2021. The days of implementing standard encryptions and antivirus software are gone; companies must now protect themselves using all methods available to them. One of these methods is IT Asset Management (ITAM).
ITAM and Cybersecurity
ITAM and cybersecurity are related in several ways. Like all tools and practices in an organization, ITAM solution needs to have security protocols in place so that it does not compromise the organization’s cybersecurity. ITAM solutions can also support and enhance cybersecurity efforts by:
- Providing full visibility into their IT environments, allowing them to identify and fix potential vulnerabilities
- Ensuring a company’s hardware and software data is accurate and up-to-date, enabling cybersecurity teams to more accurately identify and respond to threats
- Increasing visibility to data, allowing for faster incident response times and identification of hardware-specific security protocols and/or patching
As well as establishing ITAM and cybersecurity practices, it is important companies take the following 3 steps into account when establishing a solid cybersecurity practice:
1. Update Data Protocols
Cybersecurity is no longer a back-office practice. It is front and center and requires vigilant practices to ensure there are no gaps in protocols.
One place to start is by ensuring the company’s ITAM and cybersecurity solutions are goal is to ensure that systems are set up, so they assure security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of customer data.
ITAM solution providers are now putting a major emphasis on data security with platform updates and new solution releases. These updates often include enhanced encryption methods, password protection protocols (e.g., hyper-encrypted password vaults) and data security policies (e.g., mandatory VPNs). Make sure the ITAM solution you choose has security protocols in place.
It is also important to review any internal processes that involve sensitive data, check for vulnerabilities in the processes, and then implement any improvement measures.
Remember that most hacks involve targeting the weakest points in protocols and processes, not the hardware itself. Make sure that the company and its ITAM and cybersecurity solutions have airtight security protocols to keep it safe from cyberattacks.
2. Mature Existing Practices
Any enterprise leader can tell you that if their product portfolio never matured, then they would be out of business. The same goes for internal practices. Mature ITAM and cybersecurity practices have up-to-date protocols and involve the correct teams, tools and processes. One sign that ITAM and cybersecurity practices have reached maturity is when they have become an integral part of the discussion around managing the company’s networks, mitigating the company’s risks and protecting its data. Ultimately, having both a mature ITAM and a mature cybersecurity practice in place will increase an organization’s chance of preventing cyberattacks.
3. Ensure Employees are Educated
Education is one of the most important practices a company can have in place when it comes to cybersecurity. Keeping workforces informed about the latest types of attacks as well as prevention is key, as there is less of a chance that employees will fall victim to cyberattacks (e.g., phishing or baiting attacks). Many technology companies require employees to take quarterly, sometimes monthly, security trainings. The more an enterprise’s employees know about information security, the better protected the company will be.
Now is the time to ensure that you and your customers’ data is protected. The best way to do this is to educate employees on cyberattacks, update data protocols and make sure that the company has mature ITAM and cybersecurity practices for all processes and utilized toolsets. ITAM and cybersecurity work together to protect the organization; with increased visibility comes better prevention, and with better prevention comes greater cybersecurity. Employ these strategies and your organization will be prepared to meet the security threats of the digital age.
- Insurance Journal: https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/04/19/610514.htm
- Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/technology/microsoft-says-new-breach-discovered-probe-suspected-solarwinds-hackers-2021-06-25/
- Imperva (SOC2): https://www.imperva.com/learn/data-security/soc-2-compliance/
- AICPA (SOC2): https://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/frc/assuranceadvisoryservices/aicpasoc2report.html
- ISO: https://www.iso.org/isoiec-27001-information-security.html