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Cyber security goes far beyond prevention

"Prevention is better than cure" - we encounter this well-known saying in a wide variety of areas, be it health care, insurance or burglary protection. Prevention is also indispensable in cyber security - but today it is no longer enough. Why, and why you should invest more in cyber attack detection and response, we'll show you in this article.

Taking care of your cyber security

Autumn is approaching and with it, the number of burglaries is likely to rise again this year. I am sure that you have already taken precautionary measures for that too. You haven't? Then now is a good time to check your locks and monitoring system. By the way, find tips about protecting your home and what role the NIST Cyber Security Framework can play in this in our free informational graphic, which can be downloaded here.

Your company must also be in a position to constantly deal with the challenges posed by impending cyber attacks - in just the same way that you defend yourself against burglars. That's why we are urging you to take care of and strengthen your cyber security now - or a little more elegantly expressed, your "cyber resilience".

NIST Cyber Security Framework as the basis of your cyber resilience

A systematic approach to security is a precondition for successful cyber resilience. International standards such as ISO 27001 or the NIST Cyber Security Framework offer recognised standards to create, implement, monitor and continuously improve your own cyber security. These include targeted risk management, the development of an appropriate security concept and the use of solutions to protect, detect and respond to cyber attacks, quite apart from the definition of security guidelines and processes and the establishment of emergency planning. The NIST Cyber Security Framework thus forms the perfect basis for effective cyber resilience.

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Guide to Cyber Resilience

Detect & respond – the quintessential element of cyber security

As you can see, cyber resilience is a challenge. New, ever smarter cyber attacks are occurring every day. Believe me, our experts at the Cyber Defence Center can tell you a thing or two about it. What is even more dangerous than the sheer number of attacks is their increasing quality and complexity. Typically, classic security measures detect known malware and attack patterns, but professional hackers are cunning and can circumvent systems like these. They operate "under the radar". Experience has shown that it can take weeks or even months before intruders are discovered and a counteroffensive can be launched. By then, unfortunately much too often, it is already too late!

Effective protection from cyber attacks

It goes without saying that conventional defensive measures remain an integral part of your cyber security. Defence is definitely necessary, but it is still inadequate to ensure cyber resilience. This means that setting-up and developing targeted measures to strengthen resistance to cyber attacks is a necessity. I'm sure you agree with me that detecting attacks quickly, responding to them even faster, and optimising and strengthening cyber security in the long term are all critical today.

Vulnerability management – identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities

It is well known that cyber security is only as strong as the weakest link in the system. This particularly applies to corporate IT systems. Therefore, it is important to find potential weak points in the system, minimise them promptly or even eliminate them (as far as it is possible to do so).

As you might have guessed, the magic word here is vulnerability management. In other words, this is the targeted detection and elimination of weak points in your IT systems, regardless of whether they are due to configuration errors, missing patches or unprotected administrator access. As we have already discussed in an earlier article, vulnerability management goes far beyond using a scanner. In our opinion, it is a necessity for every company to be constantly checking for weak points and optimising its own infrastructure. It is, unfortunately, true, but you can believe me when I say that what we see again and again is that this important task is often not accorded the time and human resources needed to accomplish it. This is a mistake that can have serious (financial) consequences, as most attacks are the result of long known vulnerabilities in systems.

The intelligence of both the artificial and human varieties is essential for detection

Cyber attacks and other security breaches are not only annoying but can also cause enormous costs and damage the company's image. The threat to sensitive company data is constantly on the increase - it's a ticking time bomb that must be taken seriously. One of the reasons for this is certainly the increasing professionalism of the attackers' tools and tactics. Novel detection systems are required to immediately detect threats and analyse active unauthorised network access. Our experience has shown that a combination of known methods, machine learning, data science and behavioural analysis is particularly effective. Solutions such as these help in rapidly and automatically identifying network attacks, irrespective of the method used by cyber criminals, but you shouldn't rely solely on tools to detect them. It is just as important to have experienced experts who can verify the alerts that have been generated and carry out in-depth analysis.

Simulation and analysis of cyber attacks

So, you have now explored all the risks and built up your cyber security correspondingly. The protection measures required have been taken and the weak points have been eliminated. You also have systems in place to detect cyber attacks. Now you're probably wondering, what next?

In our opinion, now is the time to test your cyber resilience, because here, too, prevention is better than cure. It's definitely better for you to find any weak points before a hacker does. Don't you think? Of course, the best way of doing this is to understand what makes hackers tick and how they operate. Using these tactics can also help to improve the defence, making it even more effective.

 

Are you ready? More information  about our Cyber Attack Simulation

 

Clarity can be provided by a stress test, including a simulated hacker attack as well as a theoretical simulation of various failure scenarios. This will provide you with important insights for optimising your cyber defence and hence strengthening your cyber resilience.

Rapid response and rapid recovery

The security of your "crown jewels" can never be 100% guaranteed, even with the best protection against cyber attacks in place. Even if every possible mechanism is deployed, cyber criminals can still successfully infiltrate networks. You need to prepare for these scenarios too and have recovery plans and Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) ready. To find out why the rapid detection of attacks and an even faster response are so important, have a look at the upcoming blog article.
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Cyber Defence , Cyber Security

Reinhold Zurfluh
About the author / Reinhold Zurfluh

InfoGuard AG - Reinhold Zurfluh, Head of Marketing, Mitglied des Kaders

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