2018 didn’t disappoint in terms of cybersecurity headlines, as an estimated one billion people were affected by breaches disclosed last year. All the while, you were confronting the challenges involved with impeding data leakage and addressing attacks amid arguably the largest skills gap in history.
But, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With that hopeful tone in mind, let’s rehearse three actions that will help you make it through 2019 unscathed, with the added bonus of using them to augment your security maturity.
1) Keep an Eye on the Latest Threats
You can never go wrong by trying to stay ahead of the latest threats and using intelligence to help prioritize and tackle what is most likely to impact your organization in the year ahead.
Generally speaking, experts – including our gurus at Trustwave SpiderLabs – seem to agree that cryptomining malware and IoT-related attacks are going to increase in 2019. Meanwhile the old standbys, including ransomware and phishing, will continue to rear their ugly heads, as will newly emerging types of malware, including of the fileless variety.
Businesses will also need to ensure their cloud and supply chain security are up to snuff as they continue to rely on and entrust data and access to third-parties.
Want more help? Download the Ultimate Reference Guide to Cybersecurity Threats
2) Don’t Neglect Your Databases
In many cases of compromises, attackers ultimately want to ransack the database – yet these repositories of sensitive information are somehow regularly overlooked. Businesses tend to place disproportionate emphasis on traditional perimeter technologies like firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection and anti-virus, yet fail to cover the last mile: databases. But with employees and partners from around the world accessing your databases, lowering your risk posture is more critical than ever. A database security methodology should include:
- Inventorying your databases to know where they reside and what they contain.
- Scanning and penetration testing for vulnerabilities or “toxic” combinations of vulnerabilities (misconfigurations, deployment issues, operating system exploits, etc.) during development and before, during and after deployment.
- Patching vulnerabilities and remediating flaws discovered during the testing process.
- Implementing user rights management to ensure users only have the privileges necessary to do their jobs.
- Monitoring for anomalies, like threats and privilege escalation, with a specific but robust activity monitoring policy.
- Protecting your databases by automating the stopping of internal and external threats.
- Responding to incidents immediately to help eradicate threats and conduct forensic investigations.
Want more help? Download 10 Principles of Database Security Program Design
3) Emphasize Detection and Response
No longer should organizations necessarily be castigated for sustaining a compromise. Your foes are simply that skilled and motivated that intrusions should be assumed.
However, where companies are going to increasingly face the heat is in their ability to detect an active threat and mobilize to mitigate and/or extinguish it. Fortunately, technologies and services, especially endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools and proactive threat hunting, make it possible to uncover malicious activity; collect logs, events and alerts; analyze data; and ultimately cut off in-progress attacks before they can cause irreparable harm.
Reducing time from detection of initial exploitation to remediation is *the* best way to make security better. We can't depend on being able to predict and prevent every vulnerability but we can realistically detect when exploitation has occurred and respond before attacker wins. https://t.co/j4m6V0Leor– Dino A. Dai Zovi (@dinodaizovi) December 21, 2018
Want more help? Download the Hassle-Free Guide to Dominating Your Next Security Incident
Admittedly, this all requires a lot of work – and talent. As a result, reducing burnout and job fatigue, which is common across the infosec community, will be another important ingredient to you and your team’s success in 2018. To manage the pressure, implementing a culture of security across your organization will be paramount, as will adopting – as Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Jon Oltsik calls it – a “portfolio management approach to cybersecurity workloads” that involves delegating certain tasks to service providers.
Good luck in the year ahead!
Dan Kaplan is senior manager of online content at Trustwave and a former IT security reporter and editor.