Just as the way businesses use technology has changed over the past 5 years, so too has the cybersecurity threat landscape. Previously, businesses were concerned with securing a small number of systems, such as networks, phone systems and endpoint devices, such as PCs and printers. As businesses have introduced new technologies to increase productivity, collaboration, connectivity, and the support move to hybrid work, they now must consider how they can keep all these systems safe from a cyberattack. There is not a single security software that is able to promise this, so businesses must implement a holistic security ecosystem, with multiple solutions working together to secure their IT systems. In this article we will discuss the key systems that a security ecosystem should protect, and how businesses can create a comprehensive ecosystem.
Elements of a Security Ecosystem
Endpoint security focuses on securing any device that is connected to a network or IT system. This includes laptops, mobile phone, desktops, IoT devices, servers and virtual environments. This is essential, as endpoints are key vulnerability points of entry for cybercriminals. If a hacker gains access to an endpoint and executes malicious code, they can potentially steal private data or launch a larger attack. When deciding on an endpoint security solution, it is important to implement a solution that goes beyond traditional antivirus and has smart features with an emphasis on user behaviour.
Update & Patch Management
Many cyberattacks and data breaches can be avoided by ensuring all operating systems and software are up to date. Although this is simple in theory, often employees will delay updates and patches due to the inconvenience of having to restart their device. This can be avoided with the use of a solution such a Microsoft Intune. Intune is a mobile device management and mobile application management tool that allows IT administrators to remotely manage employee devices.
In 2021, 83% of reported cyberattacks or breaches were phishing attacks. This is no surprise as email has been the number one attack vector for many years. A successful phishing attack can launch a multitude of other cyberattacks, including ransomware, that can have devastating consequences. A comprehensive email security solution can stop phishing emails before they reach a user’s inbox. Similarly, many modern email security solutions have features that combat internal threats, if a user’s email account is compromised.
Although security solutions are typically designed to prevent an attack in the first place, it is also important to have a solution in place that allows for data recovery in the event of an attack, or other disaster. This is only possible with a disaster recovery plan, such a plan requires two key objectives, the recovery point objective (RPO) and the recovery time objective (RTO). The RPO how frequently a business must backup their data to recover from a disaster. The RTO is the amount of time a business’s systems can be down without causing significant damage to the business. A comprehensive disaster recovery solution may also automatically quarantine any ransomware and revert back to a safe backup to limit the impact of the disaster.
Security Awareness Training
While the previous solutions should stop many attacks before they pose a threat to a business’s IT systems, in the case of a cybercriminal passing the layers of defence, employees should be able to identify and report potential threats. Cybersecurity awareness training encourages employees to understand the cybersecurity threat landscape, how to identify security risks and the process of reporting potential cyberattacks or poor security practices. Effective cybersecurity training can decrease the chance of a business falling victim to a cyberattack, whilst developing a positive security culture within a business.
How to Create a Comprehensive Security Ecosystem
1. Take Inventory
Before a business implements any new security solutions, it’s important to take inventory of all IT systems, software and current security solutions. Whilst assessing current systems, it’s necessary to have visibility of how data is shared across systems, as this will affect how each element of the ecosystem will be implemented. After this step, businesses should be able to identify any potential gaps in their security controls.
2. Set Goals
To measure the success of a new security ecosystem, businesses should set clear goals which may include a decrease in the amount of cybersecurity incidents, an increase in patching cadence, or an improved score on employee phishing tests. These goals will measure success, as well as dictating which solutions will be implemented.
3. Assess Solutions
There are many security solutions on the market, each with its own benefits and shortcomings. For businesses that are implementing a security ecosystem in-house, it’s important to spend time researching to find solutions that strike a balance between being cost effective and offer adequate support. Businesses that do not have the resource or expertise in-house are recommended to outsource this process to a trusted third-party IT provider.
4. Implement Solutions
After all the planning is complete, businesses can implement their chosen solutions. Depending on which solutions are being implemented, it may be beneficial to set up Microsoft Intune first, then use the MDM functionality to implement additional services and solutions.
5. Monitor and Evaluate
After the creation and implementation of the security ecosystem, businesses should monitor each of the solutions individually, as well as the ecosystem as a whole. This will ensure that all systems are working as intended, as well as providing a view of any threats that the systems have identified or mitigated. Finally, over time, businesses can evaluate the effectiveness of their ecosystem in terms of meeting the goals set in step 2.