There is no cure-all when it comes to cybersecurity. While it is always imperative to acquire the right tools for the job, even the staunchest of professionals in this space can get overwhelmed at times by the amount of new technology coming to market.In fact, the ability to lend a discerning eye to the tool selection process has perhaps never been more critical. Half of the roughly 350 respondents to a recent Tripwire survey indicated that they purchased security tools that failed to meet the needs of their organization.
According to the survey, one fundamental mistake that some organizations make is neglecting to update or patch current vulnerabilities within a system. Some point to organizations using outdated systems as opposed to a lack of appropriate defensive tools as one of the contributing factors to the severity of some recent cyberattacks. As the Tripwire survey indicates, “These high-profile attacks have highlighted that paying attention to basic security hygiene and ensuring foundational controls are in place can effectively fend off damaging attacks.”
In an effort to help separate the must-have tools from the rest of the pack, here are a few tools and tips that can help any organization be better prepared to stop or prevent a cyberattack.
Open Source Tools: Open source tools can make a big difference in how you work and the security of your environment. Last year, Palo Alto announced the public availability of MineMeld, an open source tool that simplifies the aggregation, enforcement, and sharing of threat intelligence. MineMeld allows organizations to integrate public, private, and commercial intelligence feeds into a unified framework that natively feeds new prevention-based controls to Palo Alto Networks and other security devices. As an open-source tool, this allows organizations to tailor the input, processing, and output of information for their environments. The source code is available on GitHub and pre-built virtual machines for deployment. Anyone can add to the MineMeld functionality by contributing code to the open-source repository.
Automation: Automation can help spot attacks before they begin. In a recent blog post, Joerg Sieber, director of product marketing performance at Palo Alto Networks, said the use of cybersecurity automation can lead to streamlined processes, less duplication, reduced complexity, and fewer human errors. However, he noted there is a “perceived loss of control” with automated cybersecurity, that IT staff members may have an inherent “distrust in technology,” or may not want to use automation because they fear change.
Next-Generation Security Tools: These tools help organizations effectively respond to threats. For example, behavioral analysis monitors a system for signs of a potential attack and then takes action to block applications that engage in behavior matching one or more malicious patterns. Meanwhile, machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, can help agencies detect previously unseen malware and stop attacks before damage occurs.
Artificial Intelligence: To fight a growing cyber threat landscape, progressive organizations are now exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their cyber risk management operations. According to a Radware report, 81 percent of executives said they have implemented automated solutions for security, while 57 percent said they trust these AI systems as much or more than human security professionals to protect their organizations.
Employee Training: While specific tools are a crucial part of creating a network of protection, if training is not available to users it can be easy for attackers to slip through the cracks. One of the best steps cybersecurity experts can take is to train employees to use the tools effectively. Communicating what the risks are and how to prevent them makes cybersecurity a streamlined approach with fewer lapses in protection.
Cybersecurity expert Erich Kron says 91 percent of data breaches begin with phishing scams. He recommends training for all employees so they will be more wary of suspicious emails and understand how to spot them. A recent Ponemon study found 41 percent of the data breaches in small businesses were a result of employee negligence rather than a nefarious outside attacker. Employees who are trained to recognize the warning signs of lax cybersecurity can be a great line of defense for preventing costly incidents.
As cyberattacks continue to mature and evolve, the ability to effectively fight off these attacks becomes increasingly difficult. Following these tips, among others, can help all cybersecurity professionals make better decisions when it comes to finding the right tool for the job.
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