The Art of (Cyber) War

July 15, 2015 | Leave a Comment

By Chris Hines, Product Marketing Manager, Bitglass

Screen_Shot_2015-07-07_at_1.52.32_PM“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu

We are at war. Cyber criminals vs. enterprises and their security counterparts. Black Hatters vs. White Hatters. If you don’t believe it, do a quick Google search for “data breach” and take a look at the vast amount of headlines that pop up in .3 seconds. You’ll probably see a news article posted within the last 5 hours or so, maybe even in an industry you currently function within.

But why war? Why are we fighting in the first place? What are we attempting to protect?

The answers to those questions are quite simple. We are fighting because we must do so in order to protect our customers, our employees, and our data from criminals. These cyber criminals have created sophisticated phishing attacks, hacked public wi-fi networks, stolen sensitive company information, infected enterprise networks and unleashed a litany of other tactics gauged at causing damage. The motivation? In most cases, money and fame.

But we as enterprise stakeholders need not fear. Not if we take the time to truly understand our enemies, and to recognize the weaknesses within our own IT environments. What we need is a battle plan.

The Plan

Using what we’ve seen in recent data breaches we can understand the methods black hatters are using and predict their moves before they even make them. We know cyber criminals are phishing employees. Let’s train our employees to look out for them and use single sign-on solutions to help limit data exposure. We know malware is trying to infiltrate our environments and siphon off data. Let’s use technology that can recognize malware and cleanse our networks. We know criminals are leveraging our adoption of both cloud applications and BYOD devices to wreak havoc, so lets work to secure them. We already have the ability to track data anywhere on the Internet. Let’s use this technology to detect anomalous activity and oust breaches before they cause irreparable damage.

But we must also recognize the holes within our own systems and ask ourselves “how do we improve our own security posture?” Do we have visibility into user activity, control over who can access our public cloud applications from mobile endpoints,  the ability to stop sensitive data from leaking out to risky destinations? If the answer to any of these is “no” then fix it. Find the right security solutions that can plug up YOUR security gaps. Be honest about the security tools you need, and don’t attempt to repurpose existing security solutions to protect against a situation in which they were not intended for.

Realize that there is no one “fix all” security solution. We must use a collection of security technologies that will help protect our employees, customers and data from the cyber criminals attempting to pillage enterprise data stores.

So ask yourself this. Do you know the enemy? Do you know your security gaps?

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