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EXCLUSIVE: Integrating security to deliver consolidated defences

By , Channel Manager Check Point at Westcon-Comstor
Africa , 13 Oct 2022
Lindsay Blackie, Channel Manager Check Point at Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa.
Lindsay Blackie, Channel Manager Check Point at Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa.

Cyberattacks are becoming more advanced and are a constant concern for companies embarking on digital transformation projects. Today, every business, cloud services provider, and data centre is vulnerable to compromise. And regardless of the company's security solutions, more can always be done to maintain a defensive posture. This has become even more important at a time when hackers are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to perpetrate attacks.

Whether on-premises or in the cloud, the data centre holds the most critical data meaning it has become a massive target for threat actors. Data loss is only one of the risks of a security breach, as a single ransomware attack can shut down operations for weeks. This results in both financial losses and reputational damage, and as such, the modern data centre has had to become adaptable and agile.

Just consider how quickly software as a service has grown over the past two years. Many companies are migrating to multi-cloud environments to benefit from the respective strengths of service providers. Of course, this has introduced more complexity into cybersecurity real estate. As a means to mitigate against some of this risk, many technology leaders have taken steps to integrate security into the DevOps workflow.

Using AI, ML, and deep learning, businesses are equipping themselves to deal with multi-vector and highly evasive attacks that have scaled to the extent that no human-run team can keep up with the pace of change. The rapidly expanding remote workforce has contributed to a surge in virtual private network (VPN) connections and a shift in network traffic patterns. What was once restricted to a more secure office environment is now 'open' over the internet, with more people accessing mission-critical systems from home.

This has also seen growth in network traffic, especially for larger file sizes. Invariably, this necessitates more extensive backup procedures and systems while giving rise to a veritable explosion in virtual machine adoption. Increasingly, organisations are turning to automation to scale the performance essential for a digital business and scale that across the datacentre, network, and cloud.

A changing world

Fundamentally, cybersecurity for the business has changed and evolved beyond just keeping the network and datacentre safe. It is now a case of consolidating security management to manage operations better regardless of geographic location, and businesses must integrate security into every aspect of operations. If anything, security by design will become one of the primary drivers heading into the future as the means to manage the cybersecurity footprint of a company.

Companies must therefore secure the cloud better and not only be reliant on their service providers to do so. They also need to enhance their cybersecurity posture and leverage analytics to identify any gaps in the security chain. This will require them to manage workloads across the network infrastructure and secure the web traffic of distributed employees in the process. This will also see the need to inject APIs with more fortified security, especially since APIs enable employees to access cloud-based systems from anywhere in the world.

Constant threats

The Check Point 2022 Mid-Year Report highlights that companies will have to contend with many small-to-medium ransomware groups targeting operations instead of a few large groups.

This will likely result in more diverse email infection chains as these malicious users start exploring alternative file types to prevent detection while using more sophisticated social engineering techniques to dupe employees.

Further adding impetus to the need for consolidated security management across operations is the prevalence of attacks attempting to disrupt civil society. Critical infrastructure, government departments, and supply chains are becoming focal points for cybercriminal organisations to compromise countries' economies.

Innovating for growth

But cybersecurity does not have to be a stumbling block. It can spur innovation, especially when injected into all facets of the business. If anything, security can be the unifying chain to shoring up on-premises and cloud defences. And by embracing automation, security teams can combat alert fatigue to focus on delivering more strategic value for the business.

Throughout this, zero trust will be crucial, especially with companies continuing to accelerate cloud initiatives. This will help provide employees with secure access to the data and resources required to still be effective at their jobs in a hybrid work environment. Building from here is Zero Trust Network Access which limits access on an application-by-application basis. It also authenticates every device and user while acknowledging the complexity of today’s networks.

Indeed, security is continually evolving, and the best way to manage this environment is by harnessing the potential of a consolidated cyber secure environment providing decision-makers with complete visibility of their entire IT footprint.

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