From the Cisco 2017 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study, here’s a picture of how cybersecurity challenges are affecting UK companies.
As a result of stronger and smarter cyber attacks, the issues facing us are clear – but so are the solutions.
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There are some possible reasons behind why the UK experiences significantly more downtime than other countries. The UK was an early adopter of IT, so our equipment is naturally older and more in need of regular patching. Also, UK companies receive on average more daily security alerts than other countries, half of which can be investigated. It’s clear that more harmful files are making their way in, without our knowledge. The solution is to increase our visibility in our networks.
This is a real issue, because it often means that security often gets “bolted on” rather than embedded in a company’s ecosystem. That can often lead to gaps in your infrastructure, which hackers thrive in working their way through.
Every organisation needs to make cybersecurity a business-level priority. Leadership must own and evangelise cybersecurity, instilling and driving its importance and the proper defence techniques throughout the organisation. Cybersecurity can’t be “an IT challenge” - its effects are too broad and costly.
In the UK we are seemingly overwhelmed by the amount of security alerts our systems ask us to look at. Most alerts will turn out to be non-harmful, but how can we prioritise them? This is a problem that can be addressed through automated security – an area we’re really focusing on at Cisco. For example – a network security device that can spot an infected computer, and has the network automatically quarantine it so it can’t do any further harm. Automation allows you to see more, and respond faster.
In 2016, we saw a massive increase of smaller bands of cyber criminals and new entrants who vastly expanded their market share. The majority of them were sophisticated and agile, and using advanced techniques to gain access to systems. At the same time, 27% of connected third-party cloud applications (used on multiple devices) introduced by employees in 2016 posed a high security risk. Dealing with the rise of advanced threats and BYOD must be a high priority for UK organisations – and this means making cybersecurity a business issue, rather than just an IT issue.
There are some possible reasons for this – we may have greater crisis PR strategies in place when suffering a breach, or we aren’t letting on when a data breach has occurred. However, this percentage is likely to rise with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation act (GDPR) in May 2018. This EU law will force organisations to reveal when they’ve suffered a data breach, and they must do so in 72 hours once it has been found. Find out more about GDPR.
Because a lot of modern cyber criminals use ‘brokers’ to avoid detection, the newest types of cyber attacks are difficult to find, and can remain in networks for long periods of time. If it is “easy”, then why are UK company breaches so severe – and leading to significant downtime? The contradiction between the rate and severity of breaches, and the UK confidence in security posture, suggests that our confidence is very much misplaced. And of course denial itself is an inhibitor to increased security effectiveness. Read more about how you can see more threats.