Digitization has enabled businesses to grow at scale. The rapid transition to digital technologies has expanded the attack surface with every part of the enterprise infrastructure connected using the internet, resulting in a more open network. More connectivity between customers, employees, vendors, and partners allows cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities through sophisticated attacks. These attacks are targeted to access sensitive data, disrupt operations, and cause financial harm. This can result in non-compliance and data privacy violations. The consequences are indeed devastating. Cybersecurity digital transformation is, therefore, imperative for enterprises to safeguard their digital infrastructure. Here are some common cybersecurity threats which every organization must be wary of.
Cyber threats can cause havoc
Malware: Worms, trojans, or spyware are the types of malicious software using by cybercriminals. They harm devices and networks by changing or removing files, robbing sensitive data such as passwords and bank account numbers, sending unwanted emails, or bringing in bad traffic. Attackers install this to gain access to networks and are usually installed unknowingly by the device user by clicking on a scam link or downloading an attachment infected with malware.
Ransomware: Attackers use malicious software to encrypt files in a device to make it inaccessible to users. The data is extracted, and users are threatened that it will get published on the dark web if they do not pay a specified amount, a ransom, which is usually huge.
Social engineering: Here, attackers dupe people into giving out their usernames and passwords of their bank account information or trick them into downloading malicious software to their devices. In such attacks, attackers disguise themselves as the top executive of a company, coworker, or friend or use persuasive language in emails to influence the reader to act however they want.
Phishing: This is the most frequent form of cyber-attack, where emails or text messages are sent to sway people to give out their sensitive data by clicking on an email link. Such campaigns are driven in huge volume to increase the probability of success.
Insider threats: Insiders are usually employees or stakeholders outside the company or a part of the business ecosystem who have access to the corporate network. They can use their authority to steal sensitive company data and credentials if they have any malicious intent. This can also happen to unintentional human errors, poor judgment, or carelessness from existing employees or ex-employees.
Advanced persistent threat (APT): In APT, adversaries use various tactics after much research to gain long-term access to the corporate network and systems to continuously steal data without prompting any defensive measure already in the system.
Cyber security best practices that can mitigate these threat risks
Develop a Zero Trust Security Model: Adopting a zero trust security strategy is an ideal way to mitigate threat risks. It’s an approach that relies on the principle – Trust but verify. Here the network users are constantly monitored and tracked for any suspicious activity. Devices, users, and networks are checked for hostile or malicious activities through rigorous verification, which includes regular authentication, authorization, and validation of every user request or action. This is the best model for companies adopting hybrid working models. A proactive approach, Zero Trust security model can ensure people only have access to resources, data, and applications based on their roles and responsibilities. The attack surface is drastically reduced as there is role-based access to data. Compliance is enhanced due to stricter auditing, better visibility of network activity, and more flexibility as it adapts to the cloud, mobile, and remote working environments.
Establish security processes: Formulating cyber security process and implementing them is equally essential. It helps in securing digital assets, data and systems from unwanted access theft or misuse. This involves institutionalizing security policies, mechanisms, and procedures to mitigate risks. The benefits include better security for sensitive data, reduced risks, business continuity due to reduced service disruptions or downtime, better customer trust due to improved organizational ability to secure their data, and faster detection of vulnerabilities and threats.
Ensure employee awareness: Employees play a critical role in strengthening an organization’s security posture. Because this is the weakest link, as they can fall for social engineering or a phishing scam, it is very important to train and communicate with the employees on the security dos and don’ts, including the best practices to reduce security risks. They can be trained through simulations of such attacks, the performance can be monitored, and high-risk employees can be trained separately to strengthen their ability to identify malicious emails, websites, or text messages. The benefits can result in an improved security culture across the organization, better threat detection due to improved awareness, and compliance to regulatory frameworks such as GDPR and PCI DSS.
Deploy next-gen security solutions: Advanced IT security solutions are a must to combat complex security threats. These solutions do not use signature-based detection techniques to tackle these threats, which legacy solutions used. They use Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and User Behavioral Analysis for proactive threat detection and response. Next-gen solutions are automated and don’t require human intervention to detect and prevent attacks. They are scalable and reduce false positives enabling security teams to focus on actual security incidents. Analytics features are used to monitor the infrastructure, and insights are derived from tracking activities to take necessary action. Decision makers get a comprehensive view of security status, which helps them remove any gaps in security coverage to protect user identities, endpoints, applications, and cloud environments.
Security Solutions to mitigate risks
Advanced threats must be dealt with comprehensive security solutions that can secure different networks, devices, and systems with a solid security fabric. Microsoft offers a broad portfolio of new age security systems and cyberspace security services to defend user identities, data, cloud, endpoint, and apps that work together across environments. Here are some of the key features of the best cybersecurity solutions offered by Microsoft. First, their solutions can easily be integrated, making it easier to drive security initiatives across environments and platforms. There are AI-ML driven advanced threat protection solutions that offer real-time threat detection and response capabilities. All of them are cloud based and scalable with data loss prevention and information protection features, ensuring compliance by meeting global regulatory standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO 27001. Here are some of the key capabilities of Microsoft security solutions and services.
Azure Active Directory: An Identity and Access Management service which is cloud based, offer user authentication and authorization for apps and services. This means secured access, as users must verify their identity through passwords, biometrics, or keys. User identities can be protected using ML algorithms that stop malicious sign-in attempts and alert IT staff to such threats. Azure Active Directory can centralize, control and manage user and their access to various resources within the network.
Azure Advanced Threat Protection: This solution can detect and examine complex attacks. It uses advanced ML algorithms and behavioral analytics to check for suspicious activities and helps IT teams with actionable insights. With sophisticated analytics, it can continuously monitor users, devices, and resources for malicious activities and suspicious behaviors and provide alerts and notifications to security teams. This is done by baselining normal employee activity and comparing it with any deviations which might indicate a threat. Teams get a centralized view of events and alerts, resulting in faster actions. It is also easily deployable.
Azure Sentinel: A scalable security information and event management solution for 24x7 security monitoring and threat detection. By leveraging AI-ML to analyze large data volumes such as security logs, network traffic and user behaviors from cloud and on-premises environments, it can quickly respond to threats. Sentinel can centralize security operations, giving teams a holistic view of incidents and threats through a single dashboard. It also has Security Orchestration Automation and Response capabilities.
Azure Security Center: Offers a unified view of security posture across every resource, including virtual machines, databases, and networks. It also ensures 24x7 threat protection by seamlessly integrating with Azure Defender and Microsoft 365 Defender. Through automated security responses, every threat is dealt with immediately and effectively. It can quarantine resources for analysis and stop malicious traffic. Cost optimization controls enable detecting and removing unwanted Azure resources to reduce costs.
Microsoft 365 Defender: A unified endpoint security platform that offers total protection against complex threats across emails, identities, endpoints, and applications. It offers end-to-end security management and automated response capabilities to isolate infected endpoints, block malicious emails and fix compromised user credentials. It gives threat intelligence capabilities through insights into global trends on threats to proactively defend against them.
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint: An endpoint security solution with a range of features such as endpoint detection and response, attack surface reduction and endpoint protection platform. It uses AI-ML to detect and respond to complex threats with its proactive threat hunting abilities across various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS. Defender is powered by Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, which can analyze trillions of security signals to ensure total protection.
Microsoft Defender for Identity: The ideal solution to detect threats and unwanted activities in identity infrastructure. It offers comprehensive visibility to identity related activities and creates alerts on any suspicious user actions. By using AI-ML capabilities, it can check for compromised credentials, insider threats or any lateral movement. There is better visibility into identity related actions such as user sign-ins, authentication, and directory changes. With its built-in automated response capabilities, security staff can block malicious activity and revoke compromised credentials.
Microsoft Defender for Office 365: The ideal email security solution to protect against phishing, malware, and spam mail. By using ML algorithms, it can prevent threats to secure the email infrastructure and protect sensitive data. Through a single centralized control, it enables total email security; IT staff can easily configure policies, monitor threats and take remedial actions as and when needed.
Microsoft Information Protection: Provides comprehensive solutions to secure sensitive information and intellectual property. By classifying, labeling and protecting data based on content and context, MIP can monitor and control data access within and outside the organization. Data is protected from accidental or intentional leaks by applying security policies and a range of tools, including auditing and reporting capabilities.
Microsoft Cloud App Security: For enhanced visibility, control, and security of cloud applications, this is the best tool to date. With its capabilities, it can provide excellent visibility of cloud applications across the infrastructure and monitors them to mitigate threats and ensure compliance. By using advanced analytics and ML capabilities, it can detect and mitigate threats such as suspicious logins, data theft attempts and malware. Microsoft Cloud App Security also offers insights, alerts and recommendations to IT staff on how to manage cloud compliance and ways to respond to threats.
Microsoft Device Management: This tool helps manage every possible device, such as PCs, mobile devices, and servers. It offers simplified device management through a single interface and easily configurable settings to deploy apps, software licenses or updates across every device. There is device-level encryption, access policies and automated compliance checks to protect the devices.
The importance of cyber security in digital transformation strategies is needed to secure the data footprint and minimize security vulnerabilities. Adopting best cybersecurity practices and cyber security techniques, a zero-trust strategy, and next-gen cybersecurity management solutions can confidently secure and protect sensitive data in enterprises from risks. These solutions offer greater visibility and insights to remediate threats through automated threat management and response. They can provide several layers of protection across the enterprise infrastructure to create an effective defense against complex attack vectors. With cybercriminals developing new and innovative ways to intrude into systems and networks, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy driven by best cybersecurity practices, analytics and AI-ML is necessary to tackle threats and reduce their impact.