5 WAYS TO OVERCOME CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGES IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

According to the World Economic Forum’s The Global Risks Report 2021, cyber threats are among the leading global risks. 

With remote and hybrid work changing the landscape of how businesses operate, new vulnerabilities have emerged practically overnight. Hacks are now more commonplace due to the rise of mobile usage and internet of things (IoT). Data protection compliance has become more complex with the introduction of regimes like GDPR. And, to compound this, a growing ecosystem of cybercriminals are more technologically savvy than ever – resulting in sophisticated cyberattacks that can get around an organisation’s employees, firewalls or SIEM software, and cost companies millions of dollars. 

There’s no doubt that cybersecurity is something to pay attention to. It’s an issue that’s made its way into the boardrooms of companies large and small, impacting even the world’s most prominent financial and healthcare organisations. 

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to understand and develop strategies to overcome cybersecurity challenges. Here are five ways to prepare yourself and your company, so you can strengthen your cybersecurity posture and be future-ready. 

 

1. Understand how cybercrime tactics have evolved

Cybercriminals are opportunists. New technology, processes and practices are always being developed. And, at the same time, threat actors–including ransomware groups and adversarial governments–are constantly adapting their ways to circumvent security measures.  

Though cybercriminals are usually money, some also want to expose data and confidential information or simply degrade a company’s reputation. 

The most common types of cybercrime tactics include:

  • Distributed denial of service (DDOS): A disruption of network service where attackers send high volumes of data through a network, which then becomes overloaded and stops working. 
  • Phishing: When cybercriminals “fish” for data from third parties, usually via email. These phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so much so that some of them require cybersecurity experts to distinguish them as phishing. 
  • Malware: Also known as malicious software, malware comprises over one half of all cybercrimes. It’s designed to gain access to a computer or network, and is often introduced via email attachments, software downloads or OS vulnerabilities. 
  • Internal privilege misuse: This is when an opportunistic employee secretly steals or leaks confidential information for monetary gain. They can also take personal information, including healthcare data, for financial crimes or identity theft. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the rate of cyberattacks. As companies were forced to experience rapid digital transformation and implement remote work arrangements, cracks appeared which cybercriminals knew they could exploit. 

Even though it’s been more than two years since the pandemic began, many overworked and unprepared IT departments are still struggling to keep up with security demands. Employees are still logging into corporate networks from unsecured computers. And cybercriminals have found ways to target software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. 

Cybercriminals also take advantage of urgency. During the pandemic, Cayman experienced a spike in phishing attacks and malware, which was largely due to cybercriminals exploiting people’s fear of medical equipment shortages, and the urgent need for fundraising.

Finally, for the most part, cybercriminals operate worldwide and know no borders. A crop of “corporate cybercriminals” has emerged, who are more savvy and have access to extensive resources to pivot quickly – taking advantage of vulnerabilities.

The first step to keeping your company secure is to understand–and stay on top of–these trends.

 

2. Prioritise cloud and endpoint security

Cloud and hybrid OS and data systems are here to stay. This has caused unique challenges for companies that have traditionally operated using on-premise networks. 

The good news is that cloud networks are often more inherently secure than on-premise networks, but customers need to understand that they have a shared responsibility for cloud security. Failing to recognise this can lead to costly outcomes. In fact, Gartner predicts that  through 2025, 90% of the organisations that fail to control public cloud use will inappropriately share sensitive data. 

Adding to the complexity is the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) and remote work policies. This raises concerns around endpoint protection. Simply put, an endpoint is one end of a communication channel, and in a workplace context involves items like laptops, mobile devices, tablets and printers. Cybercriminals can exploit unprotected endpoints and use them as an entry point into your network.

As cloud infrastructures grow, and more companies enter into hybrid cloud and remote work scenarios, it’s important for companies to prioritise cloud and endpoint security. 

 

3. Embrace end-user cyber security training 

The biggest security gaps usually lay with end-users. In fact, according to Gartner, 99% of cloud security incidents through 2025 will be due to end-user errors. That means it’s important to create a corporate cybersecurity policy that includes comprehensive end-user training. 

Developing employee knowledge around what to watch for, how cybercrime works and cybersafe best practices will go a long way in ensuring your company and your employees are protected.

End-user training can include:

  • How to recognise phishing and social engineering attacks
  • Best practices to manage passwords
  • Steps to keep devices and endpoints secure
  • How to avoid malware and ransomware attacks
  • Physical security tips, such as device and document locking

 

4. Recruit top IT talent

According to a 2021 study by Gartner, the biggest barrier to adopting new technology is a lack of talent. This is especially the case when it comes to security technology and cybersecurity talent.

Compounding this problem is the fact that IT budgets are often stretched thin. When resources are limited, companies tend to put them towards supporting day-to-day needs, rather than towards measures that are preventive or proactive. Unfortunately, it often takes a breach or cybersecurity incident to occur before companies will invest in cybersecurity talent.

Of course, “talent” doesn’t necessarily mean every employee needs to be a cybersecurity expert. It means finding and fostering a team that’s keen to learn and adopt new technologies, committed to staying current on cybersecurity threats and that’s generally aware of cybercrime tactics. 

If you’re unable to find the right talent, outsourcing this role to an expert is another option. That takes us to our final point.

 

5. Consider hiring cybersecurity experts to support your IT team

 

With competing priorities and technology continually evolving, IT departments are stretched thin. 

Although guidance documents – such as Cayman’s Statement of Guidance: Cybersecurity for Regulated Entities – are available to support cybersecurity teams, they can be difficult to implement alone.

As a result, it can be cost-effective to utilise a managed cybersecurity service or IT security partner. Good cybersecurity experts are up-to-date on the latest issues, are ready to get your organisation compliant with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA or Cayman’s data protection legislation, and can create and monitor your systems with advanced SIEM software. 

Outsourcing your cybersecurity to experts who are already well-versed in all aspects of your security needs – including policies, infrastructure, cloud services and other services – can also free up time for your IT team to focus on key strategic priorities.

 

Partner with Kirk ISS and take control of your cybersecurity

If you’re seeking a cybersecurity partner to help keep your business safe, Kirk ISS is here to help. We offer a full range of cybersecurity services including:

Cybersecurity Assessments

Get a comprehensive review of your organisation’s cyber security posture, highlighting gaps in your defenses and recommending specific steps to remediate them. Help satisfy data protection regulations and stay compliant.

  • Cybersecurity risk assessments
  • Penetration testing
  • Office 365 security assessment

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Penetration Testing

See how a simulated attack on your network would play out if an attacker were to bypass your existing controls. Verify which controls are adequate, which should be revised and where the vulnerabilities within your network lie. 

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Social Engineering Assessments

Social Engineering Assessment IconGet customizable scenarios that test the controls and security awareness levels of your end users. Understand where your vulnerabilities are and show end users on how to identify phishing and what to do when it occurs.

  • Email and website campaigns
  • Voice phishing (vishing) campaigns
  • Physical access walkthroughs

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Managed Cybersecurity (SOC as a Service)

Benefit from a fully-managed, Security Operations Centre (SOC) that delivers the protection modern businesses need, without costly infrastructure or time-consuming management. Our SOC aggregates and analyses data points across your organisation to proactively identify threats, as well as combines specialised tools, organisation-specific alerting models and 24/7 monitoring.

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Serving the Cayman Islands since 2005, our team of IT experts can help keep your data safe, your employees protected and your operations running smoothly.

To learn more or book a free discovery call, contact us today.