For today’s businesses, success requires an online presence. But cyber threats are always lurking in the fringes. Thus, it is critical to protect your business the best way you can. In addition, it’s vital to pick the right approach when it comes to cybersecurity.
Most companies are now aware that investing in cybersecurity is essential because becoming a victim of a cyber attack can be quite costly. Globally, the annual cost of cybersecurity attacks will be about US$10.5 trillion by 2025. The amount is not difficult to achieve considering that the current frequency of cyberattacks is every 11 seconds.
Aside from the disruption to normal business operations, a cyber attack can damage vital infrastructure and IT assets that may be difficult to recover from if the organization does not have the resources or budget. A cyber attack causes financial losses and loss of productivity. In addition, there will be damage to reputation, legal liabilities, and problems with business continuity.
In 2021, several high-profile cyber-attacks and data breaches were made public. In June 2021, Volkswagen Group of America reported that a third party got information about customers and interested buyers from the U.S. and Canada through a vendor used by Volkswagen and Audi. The vendor left the data unsecured between August 2019 and May 2021. As a result, about 90,000 driver’s licenses of Audi customers and interested buyers were exposed. Some of these affected customers also had their private information, such as Social Security Number, date of birth, tax identification numbers, and account or loan numbers compromised. According to Volkswagen, all these people will receive $1 million in insurance, credit monitoring services, and assistance if identity theft occurs.
Ransomware attacks were a big issue in the first half of 2021 because of their high-profile targets and the amount paid by these companies to continue their business operations. You probably know about the attacks on Colonial Pipeline, which paid nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency to recover 100GB of data. JBS Foods, attacked in June 2021, paid $11 million in Bitcoin to resume operations in Australia, and the U.S. Brenntag SE, a chemical distribution company in Germany, was attacked in May of 2021. Since it has subsidiaries in more than 77 countries, it opted to pay $4.4 million in Bitcoin to continue its business operations. The attack compromised 150GB of data.
Cybersecurity needs a proactive assessment approach
Organizations cannot afford to take a reactive approach to cybersecurity. A reactive approach means that the company waits for an attack before taking the needed steps to fix the breach.
The more effective route is a proactive approach. Here, the organization takes the necessary steps to test and secure its network system regularly, even if there are no signs of an attack. Organizations that subscribe to this method invest in security programs or platforms to significantly reduce the potential of an attack or ensure that the effect will be minimal in case of a cyber attack.
In undertaking security assessments, the organization can implement methods such as vulnerability assessments, purple teaming, third-party evaluation, and penetration testing. All of these assessment methods can determine the weaknesses in security systems and ways to fix the vulnerabilities. But there are limitations to them, as most of the methods only provide a point-in-time evaluation.
With the sophisticated methods cybercriminals use to exploit the weaknesses in security programs, organizations need a continuous security validation platform.
What makes continuous security validation effective?
With continuous security validation, you can see the accurate picture of your entire security program and whatever vulnerabilities are present. In addition, the method emulates an actual cyber attack, creating the scenario to test how well your cybersecurity program can withstand an attack based on the attack vectors contained in the MITRE ATT&CK framework.
Purple teams from your IT team or your vendor can conduct the test using the actual techniques and tools hackers use to attack similar businesses. When you deploy a continuous security validation, you are getting ready for the exact form of attacks that are likely to occur. You can set the frequency of the security validation, which you can conduct manually or automatically.
Benefits-wise, continuous security validation can provide:
- Greater cyber resilience from frequent validation and testing
- Understand and view actual attacks accurately
- Identify and fix vulnerabilities testers or the system will find
- Address the challenges from the changes occurring in the company
- Reduce business interruption because of data breaches
- Supply the organization with necessary metrics useful to remediation
- Enhanced defense contra zero-day vulnerabilities
When your organization is better prepared for any form of cyberattack, it makes it easy for your company to comply with cybersecurity compliance regulations.
Understanding cybersecurity compliance
Specific industry sectors have cyber security compliance requirements. For example, companies in the healthcare, financial services, government, defense, energy, and consumer businesses sectors must employ a range of specific technologies and organizational processes to ensure that they protect the data they collect and store. Protecting information means safeguarding your organization.
Some compliance regulations affect all concerned sectors across the United States, and some are state-specific regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). In contrast, the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NCRR 500) of the New York Department of Financial Services covers organizations not necessarily based in New York. Other major compliance requirements include:
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for the healthcare sector
- FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) for schools, students, and parents
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for defense and all companies handling controlled unclassified information
Aside from the above, you should know the cybersecurity laws, such as HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) of 1999, Homeland Security Act, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), of 2002, Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, and Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. In addition, you should also check the regulations set by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you conduct business with European firms and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DDS) if you are engaged in e-commerce.
Do not disregard these laws and regulations because the fines for violations are hefty. For example, HIPAA can charge you $50-$50,000 per exposed record, while the GLBA charges $100,000 for each violation.
Organizations must understand their security weakness before they can decide how to mitigate the risks. Aside from the various requirements to ensure cybersecurity compliance, they should know themselves and their enemies. It is necessary to know the procedures, techniques, and tactics that cybercriminals use to attack organizations through a continuous security validation platform that will provide real-time results on the strength and weaknesses of their security systems against emulated cyber attacks.