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Cyber Security

Going beyond Zero Trust: How far should organisations go to protect their information?

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information security

Organisations are under extreme pressure when it comes to protecting data. The range of cybersecurity threats is constantly evolving as the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology.

Cybersecurity breaches are now so commonplace that in the UK an alarming 59% of medium businesses, 69% of large businesses, and 56% of high-income charities have experienced an attack according to latest government figures spanning a 12-month period.

As cyber-criminals use more and more sophisticated methods including Artificial Intelligence (AI) to exploit vulnerabilities in systems and networks, cybersecurity must keep up to date with the latest developments to nullify these threats. From encryption to access control and human firewalls, cybersecurity experts, ramsac, are highlighting how effective solutions such as the Zero Trust security model help businesses enhance cybersecurity in the workplace.

What is the Zero Trust security model?

Businesses and organisations used to assume that most elements of your network were safe, so they focussed on protecting access with VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), firewalls, and on-site equipment. However, as data footprints spread outside company networks and began living in the cloud, the Zero Trust security model offered a more holistic approach.

With Zero Trust, everyone and anything is treated as unknown, forcing legitimate users to authenticate and be authorised before they’re granted access.

The main principles of Zero Trust

There are three main principles of a Zero Trust cybersecurity model that will help protect assets from data breaches and cybercrime, and all of them can be applied across any IT estate to reduce security risk.

Robust user verification:

Zero Trust teaches organisations to authenticate and authorise access to networks and systems based on all available data points such as the user’s identity, location, and device.

Least privilege:

User access should be restricted to only what is necessary based on risk-based adaptive policies. In other words, users should only be granted minimal access to the resources they need to do their jobs in order to safeguard data and sensitive information.

Damage limitation:

Organisations can minimise any damage caused by a data breach or cyberattack by segmenting access via devices and improving application awareness. This helps restrict lateral movement in the event of an attack, while all sessions should also be encrypted end-to-end for greater security.

Using Zero Trust in the workplace

Zero Trust addresses many of the weaknesses that existed with traditional cybersecurity. Historically, users who signed in through single sign-on are gained access to all company networks which could cause widespread problems in the event of passwords being stolen or unauthorised access.

With a Zero Trust approach everything in your IT estate is protected by verifying every device and user identity. Not only that, but it also helps secure remote system access, smartphones and other personal devices, and relevant third-party apps.

For the best cybersecurity results, Zero Trust should be fully integrated across all company architecture including network access, user identities, data, endpoints, infrastructure, and apps. There are many reasons for this including:

Identity:

Identities are the foundation of any strong Zero Trust policy. The highest level of authentication, authorisation, and verification should exist for both human and non-human identities when connecting to company networks from both personal and corporate endpoints with approved devices.

For example, multi-factor authentication (MFA) should always be enforced to reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack, while users could also be required to follow passwordless authentication such as biometrics and facial recognition when signing in. Many companies hire an identity provider for identity support to protect their cloud apps and on-site infrastructure in this way. It also allows for real-time user analysis, device activity, and location to spot suspicious activity and limit any damage caused by a data breach.

Endpoints:

All devices and endpoints should be registered with your identity provider in order to heighten security. Smartphones, mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and even servers can be managed and monitored using a service such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

In addition, company devices should be encrypted while workstations and servers should be secured. An Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution is also beneficial for the early detection of any unusual activity across a network, and the emergency response to keep all system and reputational damage to a minimum.

Apps:

Companies can benefit from strong threat protection and detection across their entire app ecosystem with a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB). This allows you to expand all security controls to any app in any browser, in real-time.

Companies should start by identifying any cloud-based apps their workers are using and take steps to deny any unsanctioned apps that have not been officially improved and could contain viruses and cyber threats. Again, all apps should only be made available with the least amount of privilege access applied to users, and ongoing verification in place.

Digital infrastructure

Runtime control – the ability to make changes to a running system – should be activated across the full company infrastructure under Zero Trust. This typically involves managing permissions and access across environments alongside the configuration of servers.

Combined with real-time monitoring and app identity, this approach will identify abnormal behaviour on a network, send out alerts, and take action to mitigate the risks.

Data

Under Zero Trust, all data should be classified in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The use of sensitivity labels and encryption should be applied to emails, files, documents, and any form of data that could become vulnerable to a cyberattack.

Smart machine learning models allow companies to strengthen data classification so that networks and data are protected by the very latest tools. Not only that, but data loss prevention policies can also be put in place to limit the risk of a data breach.

Network

Devices and users should not be trusted just because they’re linked to an internal network. Therefore, before access is granted to any private or public network, traffic filtering and segmentation is applied when implementing a Zero Trust policy.

Cyberthreat protection can be further enhanced by leveraging machine learning to encrypt all traffic, activity, and internal communication on workplace systems alongside limiting access and running real-time threat detection.

How to implement zero trust

It is important to understand that Zero Trust is not a product, it is not something you can buy off the shelf, but it is a strategy and among the most robust and effective cybersecurity strategies available today. Not only does it minimise your attack surface and reduce the risk of a data breach, but it also gives you greater control over your network and cloud environments and mitigates the impact of successful attacks, thus saving time and money.

Organisations can implement Zero Trust in the workplace in the following ways:

Monitor networks and devices

It’s crucial to gain full visibility of network traffic and connected devices so that users, laptops, smartphones, and other equipment are continuously verified and authorised.

Update devices always

Organisations with Zero Trust policies can restrict access to vulnerable devices at risk of a cyberattack. Similarly, all identified weaknesses and vulnerabilities should be immediately patched up and fixed to maintain maximum security.

Implement Least Privilege Practices

As previously mentioned, everyone from company executives to IT departments should have the least amount of access they need to limit any potential damage if a user’s account is hacked.

Break up the network

Partitioning the network into smaller sections will help contain any breaches and minimise damage before it escalates.

Adopt MFA security keys

Hardware security tokens that leverage encryption algorithms, authentication codes, or a secure PIN to complete MFA or 2FA prompts are significantly more secure than soft tokens such as one-time passcodes sent via email or SMS.

Focus on threat intelligence

As cybercriminals are constantly refining their nefarious tactics, it’s vital to utilise the latest threat intelligence data feeds to stay ahead of the game and identify security risks early.

Take a pragmatic approach

Making end users re-verify their identities throughout the day via multiple security tools can ironically decrease security. It can produce a similar negative effect as overly strict password protocols that may cause users to recycle the same passwords time and time again.

As you can see, companies with a Zero Trust policy strengthen their cybersecurity as they are continuously authenticating and verifying every user, device, and app trying to access their system. Not only that, but they are also encrypting everything on the network, segmenting it to contain threats and attacks in real-time, and limiting access to only those who need it, so their digital environment receives the highest level of threat protection at all times.

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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity monitoring: the robot every organisation needs on their payroll

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Cybersecurity monitoring

Let’s clear something up, there’s no organisation or industry in the world that doesn’t appeal to cyber criminals. But why is that? Well, where there’s data, there’s opportunity, and organisations hold a lot of data. That’s why they’re an attractive target for cybercriminals, and too often, their cyber defences are easy to penetrate.

From media and telecom companies to manufacturing firms, no industry is safe. In fact, over the last year (2022-2023), IBM noted around 95% of studied organisations were a victim of one or more cyber breaches. What’s more around half of those organisations continue to put themselves at risk by failing to increase their cybersecurity measures.

So, what if there was a solution that supported your organisation when a breach occurred? According to cybersecurity services provider, and creator of secure+, ramsac, it could be as simple as employing a cybersecurity monitoring service, just like you would an employee. It’s time to consider that proactive cybersecurity measures are just as essential as your payroll or HR department, and just as vital as your paid specialists. Without it, your organisation could see tough times ahead.

What is cybersecurity monitoring?

Designed to detect a breach the moment it happens, cybersecurity monitoring services offer a proactive response and resolution when a cyberattack occurs. Approximately 90% of all cyber-attacks are caused due to human error or simple mistakes. With the chances of human error being so high and the consequences costly beyond belief, securing your operations and systems before a cyberattack occurs should be the top priority.

Why is it important for organisations?

Cybersecurity monitoring is an essential part of any organisation. It’s just like your HR and payroll departments; without them in place, it can affect a whole number of factors. Morale, productivity and employee trust can easily spike in the wrong direction. However, with them in place, it not only offers stability for your workforce but also ensures you remain compliant.

Consider the essential employees your organisation has that you can’t function without. In your organisation, it could be valuable content writers who know your client’s needs thoroughly or a data analyst who is fundamental to keeping your organisation on track. Without them, you may struggle to meet client requirements and expectations, or you could fail at achieving your business objectives. Without fundamental employees, it could be detrimental to your organisation’s success.

So, why should your business be without cybersecurity monitoring? As an “employee” or an essential element of your company, it carries a lot of weight. Without it, you could experience downtime that eats into your profits, affects your employees’ ability to serve customers and damages your overall brand health. However, with it in place, you’ll be able to mitigate some of these hurdles, ensuring a secure remote backup is available so there’s minimal downtime and your customer data remains intact. You’ll also show initiative by actively monitoring potential weak points and taking immediate action before things escalate.

What about good anti-virus software?

Anti-virus software is not cybersecurity monitoring but it should still be a staple for any organisation, or any computer. Yet only 58% of Brits actually use it. As a security programme, it’s designed to detect, prevent, search and remove viruses from all devices, including networks. Organisations without any form of cybersecurity in place are sitting ducks for potential attacks.

Many might ask what the need for a cybersecurity monitoring service is when you have good anti-virus software in place. Monitoring offers organisations even more autonomy and will normally mitigate a potential cyberattack. A good monitoring service uses Machine Learning and AI to flag unlikely or impossible digital scenarios Essentially, it gives companies options and peace of mind, ensuring minimal disruption for customers, service users and employees, whilst guaranteeing business operations can remain functional.

As a 24/7, 365 service, cybersecurity monitoring is completely tailored to your organisation’s needs, priorities and sensitivities. Unlike anti-virus software, that proactively monitors your devices, but doesn’t understand the complexities your company faces, a managed cybersecurity monitoring service fills that gap. That doesn’t mean to say you should drop your anti-virus software, because doing so could make you incredibly vulnerable. Instead, the two are designed to work in harmony. When partnered alongside a cybersecurity monitoring service, they create the ultimate power couple.

What are the benefits of cybersecurity monitoring for your organisation?

  • Consistency of service for your customers

Whilst there are official channels and processes your organisation must follow when a cyber-attack occurs, you’ll want to ensure your customers still receive the service they expect. It’s also important that you can confidently reassure them about the situation.

Offers preparedness around cyber-attacks

The first indication of a cyber breach is often after it’s too late. With a proactive service by your side, organisations can rest assured that potential breaches are being monitored around the clock with intervention in place to reduce the threat.

  • Adapts to evolving cyber-threats

With AI embedded in almost everything, it’s no surprise that scammers are utilising this tool too. Cybercriminals are able to simulate more realistic requests through AI, such as an email requiring bank details or a requirement to meet with the CEO. As technology and software changes, cybercrime will evolve. Fortunately, a cybersecurity monitoring service is a step ahead here. As well as monitoring for active threats, it can measure potential threats and understand how cybercrime is evolving. Now, your organisation can stay ahead too.

So, are you going to remain vulnerable?

With cybersecurity monitoring services now an option for organisations, it’s the right time to employ them as part of your workforce. Just as you would with vital business functions, it’s time to protect your organisation’ online presence.

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Cyber Security

Cyber Breaches Impact Nonprofit Organizations Beyond Finances at , Says Info-Tech Research Group

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Cyber Breaches Impact Nonprofit Organizations Beyond Finances at , Says Info-Tech Research Group

The firm’s latest research-backed blueprint explains how nonprofits can bolster their defenses against data breaches by proactively assessing existing privacy and security gaps to implement improvements.

The modern digital landscape has significantly amplified the potential for sensitive data leaks and theft. Data breaches at nonprofit organizations in particular can result in heightened risks and as they compromise the wellbeing of their members, donors, and users, causing disruptions to nonprofits’ day-to-day operations. These consequences extend beyond finances and include operational disruptions, service delays, and potential penalties. To aid nonprofit organizations in safeguarding their stakeholders’ information, Info-Tech Research Group, a leading global IT research and advisory firm, has released its latest industry blueprint, Strengthen Your Nonprofit’s Privacy and Security Operations.

“It’s crucial for nonprofit organizations to remember that if privacy and security fall short, it may become impossible to carry out tasks and initiatives that fulfill their mission,” says Monica Pagtalunan, research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “Data breaches can put members, donors, and users at risk, disrupt nonprofit operations, expose liability, and ruin the reputation and revenue nonprofits have built. The stakes for nonprofits are much higher than for for-profit businesses.”

Info-Tech’s resource explains that a nonprofit organization’s fiduciary obligation and mission promise to prioritize the stakeholders’ interests must include its obligation to protect IT assets that hold their personal data through privacy and cybersecurity protocols. However, nonprofits face several obstacles in combating data breaches, including prioritizing mission-focused budgets over operational ones, a lack of defined cybersecurity and privacy foundations, and an inaccurate reliance on cyber insurance as a sole solution.

“Nonprofits are starting to pay attention to data security, yet they loathe to make changes that mitigate cyber risks due to lack of capital and human resources, which remain major obstacles to the path of maturity and consistency,” explains Pagtalunan.

According to Info-Tech’s research, the foremost concern for nonprofits is the risk of information leakage, which affects the entire organization and is not limited to IT alone. There are several processes where a nonprofit may be exposed to the risk of a data leak, including data collection, processing donations or event registrations, or transferring data to the cloud. The impacted data can include sensitive, personally identifiable information of donors, members, and users. The potential impacts can include the following:

  • Exposed confidential or sensitive information
  • Inaccessible data and a compromised environment
  • Reputational damage and the loss of support and revenue
  • Legal or regulatory fines and investigations
  • Organization-wide interruption

To combat data breaches, Info-Tech advises nonprofit organizations adopt a comprehensive approach, which includes effectively communicating the importance of robust cybersecurity and privacy programs to key stakeholders using language that aligns with the organization’s goals. Additionally, evaluating the intersection of privacy and security measures will help in understanding how to mitigate the risk of data leaks or loss of donor or member information. Taking the crucial first step of assessing existing privacy and security gaps enables nonprofits to proactively address vulnerabilities and enhance their overall defense against data breaches.

Managing security operations is an ongoing and continuous responsibility for organizations. Despite obstacles like the cybersecurity skills gap and limited IT resources, allocating appropriate oversight and supervision is crucial to ensure effective security and privacy operations. In cases where assembling an in-house IT team is not feasible, Info-Tech recommends outsourcing as the ideal option.

About Info-Tech Research Group

Info-Tech Research Group is one of the world’s leading information technology research and advisory firms, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals. The company produces unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. For 25 years, Info-Tech has partnered closely with IT teams to provide them with everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Company Safetech Launches in London

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Cybersecurity Company Safetech Launches in London
  • Safetech Innovations Global Services (“Safetech”) launches today in London at Plexal, the innovation hub for tech change-makers.
  • With today’s launch, Safetech combines their unparalleled, global cybersecurity expertise with the UK’s legacy of being at the cutting edge of cyber development.
  • The launch marks one of the most significant Romanian private investments into the UK tech sector post-Brexit.

Cybersecurity company Safetech Innovations Global Services (“Safetech”) launches today in London to provide cybersecurity services and training to British critical infrastructure and organisations which are most vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks including healthcare, financial services, retail, and local government.

For the past decade, Safetech’s parent company has been at the forefront of cybersecurity developments in Romania, a global sector leader. Today Safetech officially launches in the UK, bringing together Safetech’s unparalleled global cybersecurity expertise with the UK’s legacy being at the cutting edge of cyber development. Safetech will also build a new Security Operations Centre at Plexal Stratford, the innovation hub for tech change-makers and the legacy site of the 2012 Olympic Park.

This launch marks one of the most significant private investments into the UK tech sector by a Romanian company since Brexit, and will create highly skilled local jobs to service clients around the world.

Safetech is a Department of Business and Trade supported organisation.

“Anything with a digital interface can be hacked – but having the most advanced technology is only half the battle in protecting organisations from cybercrime. You must also understand the behaviour of cyber criminals and how they prey on your vulnerabilities. By combining our expertise in both the technology and people involved in cybercrime, we keep our customers safe,” said Anca Stancu, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Safetech Innovations Global Services. “I’m proud to launch Safetech here in London as testament to the strength of the British market, and to continue Britain’s legacy being at the cutting edge of cyber development.”

“I’m pleased to celebrate the launch of Safetech in the United Kingdom, as yet another example of the strong Romanian-British partnership,” said Laura Popescu, Romanian Ambassador to the UK. “Romania is a world leader in cybersecurity, and I hope this significant investment in the UK technology sector will attract even more business for our two nations.”

“I’m excited and humbled that Safetech has chosen to base their headquarters at our Plexal Stratford location and will also build their new Security Operations Centre here,” said Andrew Roughan, Chief Executive of Plexal. “Safetech is emblematic of Plexal’s mission to bring together expertise and innovation in technology, from industry leaders to government policymakers, and solve the greatest challenges facing the UK.”

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