Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 35 - Page 66

INDUSTRY WATCH “Of course, once the inevitable happens and a breach occurs, how the IT security team responds will be critical. This requires that the right people and response strategy must be in place if the company is to mitigate against the potential damage of the breach. Matt Walmsley, Head of EMEA Marketing at Vectra Craig Freer, Executive Head: Cloud and Managed Services at Vox Telecom Craig Freer, Executive Head: Cloud and Managed Services at Vox Telecom, says that security ‘is no longer a luxury’ and is something that must take top priority at every organisation. “Cybersecurity must be addressed at a board level and not left being ‘relegated’ to an IT decision-maker,” he said. “Companies need to conduct an extensive audit of their entire IT environment, invest in getting the right cybersecurity infrastructure in place and ensure their systems are updated to factor in emerging threats. They also need to continually assess their ability to effectively deal with attacks. In our experience, most companies are not geared to repel any type of attack, much less recover effectively from one. It has become a case of businesses being sitting ducks. Very few SMEs really understand their vulnerabilities and it can be quite complex for them to secure themselves as best as possible. It really is a case of they do not know what they do not know. “Cybersecurity at an organisation is not a snapshot in time but evolves as the threat landscape changes. Businesses must do more to educate themselves about the threats they face and take the necessary steps to protect themselves.” Indi Siriniwasa, VP at Trend Micro Sub Saharan Africa, said that far too many local organisations still believe they will never be targeted simply by virtue of the fact that they are based in ‘deepest, darkest Africa’. “This thinking is certainly not limited to South African companies but extends throughout the continent,” he said. “Whether this could be attributed to believing that African companies are not ‘worth’ being attacked when much more attractive targets are based in Europe and the United States 66 INTELLIGENTCIO Indi Siriniwasa, VP at Trend Micro Sub Saharan Africa is up for debate. However, the reality is that decision-makers must reassess how they protect themselves at a time where data forms the lifeblood of any business. Compromised data is akin to giving away the keys to the safe. “Despite this, it is still frightening to think how few enterprises approach their defences with more than firewalls and anti-virus solutions.” Even though the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) segment is still the hardest hit, attacks are increasing against public entities. “Most of these attacks have a monetary motivation to getting data. For companies to more effectively safeguard this data, they must understand that even if they have all the security tools available, a breach can still occur. “Companies must also look at common security controls and ensure these are updated to the latest definitions to have a baseline to work against. Moreover, it must establish a people process and technology methodology that can increase the security effectiveness as the one cannot work without the other. “Using solutions capable of correlating data across network, cloud, email, and endpoints for a more pro-active cybersecurity environment is therefore essential. Ultimately, it is about responding faster to attacks, delivering more effective counter measures, and keeping data as secure as possible while not impacting on operations that will be the difference between success and failure.” Anton Ivanov, Security Researcher at Kaspersky, says that the threat of ransomware remains as powerful as ever and the company’s detection data shows that larger organisations, such as city authorities and enterprises, are the fastest-growing target. “According to our data, attacks on employees of large organisations have gone up 17.9% in the last 12 months (from 198,334 in the period June 2017 to end May 2018, to 233,763 for June 2018 to end May 2019), compared to an increase of just 3% in attacks on individual consumers,” said Ivanov. “Attacks on urban infrastructure are often worryingly successful, with far reaching impact on essential systems and processes, affecting not just the authority itself but local businesses and citizens. What makes cities a target? It could be the fact that they run vast networks of connected technology that can be hard to update, manage and patch effectively, or because the attackers believe they may be more inclined to pay the ransom to avoid recovery costs that can be many times higher than the ransom fee. “To protect city infrastructure against the threat of ransomware, Kaspersky recommends securing all data, devices and networks with robust security software. “But with many non-technical employees, located across many different sites, employee training and awareness is probably the greatest priority. n