What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the process of securing sensitive information and the IT infrastructure that contains it from unauthorised access by digital threats. This process often combines several components across multiple levels, including personnel, hardware, software and the policies informing how all of the above work together. The most common threats that enterprises and organisations face are cyberattacks, a broad category of methods designed to infiltrate, steal, disable or destroy information. Common cyberthreats include malware, phishing, ransomware and denial-of-service/distributed denial-of-service (DoS/DDoS) attacks – just to name a few. Cybersecurity is applicable to virtually any industry, helping protect both individual users, clients and employees, as well as preventing access to mission-critical applications, services and stored data.
Why is cybersecurity necessary?
Today, technology has grown beyond isolated working environments and data centres; work can happen anywhere at almost any time around the world. All employees need is a password and a strong internet connection to access a robust suite of applications, proprietary technology and data through cloud-based and on-prem infrastructure. Furthermore, businesses are collecting, storing and analysing vast volumes of data, all generated by an increasing number of endpoints across the infrastructure and supply chain. While these digital technological advances are a critical driver of innovation, they also create more windows and backdoors for threats to enter and cause disruptions on a massive scale. And despite the ongoing development of countermeasures against cyberthreats, these threats continue to adapt and evolve.
So, whether you are in healthcare, manufacturing, finance, transportation or beyond, defending your infrastructure from end to end is essential. Without the proper protections and guidelines, any data – from private patient information to intellectual property – can be accessed by attackers for monetary or personal gain. But data is just the beginning. Cyberattackers can also manipulate entire operations – anything from a personal device to a manufacturing plant or even an entire power grid. Any disruption compromises a company’s ability to function, protect its employees and the community, and build public trust (as any number of cyberattack-related headlines reveal).
Thankfully, the C-suite is recognising this growing threat. According to a Gartner survey, 88% of corporate executive boards view cybersecurity as a business risk, an increase of more than 20% from previous years. By contrast, the same survey cites only 12% who see cybersecurity as a technological concern alone.
What are some common cybersecurity threats?
Cybersecurity threats are as varied as the motivations behind them. They can be driven by personal interests like revenge or hacktivism, or even large-scale reasons like industrial espionage or state-sanctioned spying. No matter the intent, even the smallest attacks can have costly consequences for cybervictims. Here are some of the more common examples of cyberattacks, several of which can be used in combination or as a precursor to another attack.
Malware: A form of software designed to infect devices or systems and delete essential files and/or programs, preventing proper functionality.
Ransomware: An aggressively invasive variant of malware that accesses information and uses complex encryption to lock out data, applications or entire systems, usually as a form of extortion.
Phishing: An attempt to extract user data like passwords or personal information (i.e. national insurance numbers, bank accounts, PINs, etc.) from willing individuals through emails or texts that mimic legitimate communications.
Denial-of-service (DoS) attack: A cyber tactic that overruns an enterprise-level system to impair or shut down service requests, preventing users from accessing an internet-connected resource.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack: This is a tactic similar to a DoS attack, except on a larger scale, in which cybercriminals use a system of devices or bots to overwhelm enterprise infrastructure across multiple networked resources.
What are cybersecurity technologies and best practices?
How cybersecurity manifests itself varies from industry to industry. Certain conditions like compliance and other forms of regulation also determine how an enterprise approaches its cybersecurity. For example, a company under a government contract may be required to protect select resources in highly contained, on-prem IT environments rather than in the cloud, whereas other industries may have more flexibility.
In general, there are several established and emergent technologies utilised in cybersecurity. Protections like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enable real-time detection of threats, using data analysis to identify, alert and resolve compromises before they can cause damage. Likewise, behavioural analytics learns how users act and move across digital environments and uses that information to identify anomalies that could indicate incoming or in-progress attacks. More advanced examples include blockchain, Zero Trust protocols and cloud encryption. Each method involves preventing or limiting access to information. Blockchain, specifically, stores data in blocks and connects it through cryptography. Once saved, that data cannot be changed or removed. Zero Trust is a form of multi-factor identification that requires users to validate their credentials, limiting widespread access to systems. And cloud encryption transforms readable information into unreadable code and stores it in the cloud, requiring a user with a proper encryption key to access it.
Cybersecurity best practices
No matter the specific cybersecurity set-up, companies of any size should abide by several standard cybersecurity guidelines:
EDUCATE YOUR WORKFORCE
The more they know, the better protected they will be. While many workers understand not to open unfamiliar emails or links, they may not be aware of the latest cyberthreats and how to avoid them. Regular updates or tutorials can help keep employees out of harm’s way.
DOCUMENT CYBERSECURITY FEATURES
Putting policies in writing clarifies procedures and responsibilities before, during and after cyberattack incidents. And with clear roles in place, you can avoid operational confusion. Having documentation is also helpful for service-level agreements (SLAs), as it determines each party’s roles and requirements.
BACK UP ALL DATA
Backing up data is the surest way to mitigate complete data and infrastructure loss, as well as accelerating recovery time in the event of a catastrophic attack. Many cyberattackers will attempt to destroy backups as well, so it’s imperative for backup systems to have their own built-in defences.
DEPLOY MULTI-FACTOR IDENTIFICATION METHODS
There’s no better foolproof protection than “trust no one”. Zero Trust protocols reduce intentional and accidental security lapses by requiring multiple verifications before granting access to data and any networks connected to it, preventing unauthorised users from accessing and/or damaging multiple areas.
HPE and cybersecurity
HPE is a world leader when it comes to secure technology, whether through its robust portfolio and industry-best security features or educational programmes that help teach younger generations the dangers of navigating the internet and social media. HPE offers services like HPE GreenLake Management Services to combat existing and emergent cybersecurity threats.
HPE GreenLake Management Services offers a complete managed security solution, helping identify and remediate IT security gaps and providing ongoing monitoring and management. This service includes coverage compliance, software asset management, backup and disaster recovery – every tool enterprises need for protecting their IT, data and reputation. This solution includes specialised protection from ransomware; HPE GreenLake with Zerto delivers continuous data protection (CDP) technology with journal-based recovery, letting customers recover in minutes and to a state seconds before an attack.