The evolving data protection strategies demanded by emerging cyber threats

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Dell Technologies

Managing cyber security in 2021 brings to mind the Spear and Shield paradox.

In the story, a man is selling a spear and a shield. Asked how good his spear was, he replies that it can beat any shield. When asked how good his shield was, he replies that it can defeat any spear. When asked what would happen if his spear was to strike his shield, he cannot answer.

Everyone thinks they’ve got the strongest protection (the shield) against the strongest attack (the spear). Honestly, that’s not possible, due the fluid nature of cyber threats. The approximately 3,600 cyber security vendors worldwide will tell you that they have the solutions to protect everything, to give your organisation complete protection. But can they? The chances are they can’t.

The only way to truly protect something is to keep it away from the attack. Instead of defending with the shield, you need to remove the target from the battlefield and place it far away from the point of attack, in a safe place that only you can reach.

But how do we achieve that today?

Cyber security in 2021

Organisations are under increasing cyberattack.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that in 2021 there’s a likely cyber security incident or ransomware attack every 11 seconds. And the average cost of cybercrime to an organisation is $6.8m, according to Accenture research from 2018.

And Australia isn’t isolated or immune from the threat.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 67,500 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous financial year. That equates to one report of a cyberattack every 8 minutes compared to one every 10 minutes last financial year.

The threat is real, and all too urgent.

Challenges and disruption

Further to the threat of cyber crime, there’s a variety of other challenges facing your organisation.

From newly remote workforces to the shift to multi-cloud, modernising applications and growing regulatory requirements, to the simplification and optimisation of everything IT related, organisations are dealing with a lot.

Yet you still need to protect yourself. To do so, the shield remains important, but it won’t stop everything - preparation for what happens next is key. The need to be ready to recover more quickly and more effectively in case you suffer an attack is now equally important.

Transitioning from cyber security to cyber resiliency

WFH, and keeping pace with emerging technologies are cited as key strains on organisations data protection processes and systems.

With more vectors for attacks, organisations need to be better prepared for not just an attack, but the aftermath of an attack. That means shifting focus towards cyber resiliency.

Cyber resiliency is the “the ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources” according to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. 

A cyber resiliency strategy needs to cover three stages – before, during and after an attack. The “before” timeframe includes the “identify” and “protect” activities which include the assessment of risk and protecting the organisation against known risks. The “during” timeframe focuses on “detect” and “respond”, where threats are identified and organisations attempt to mitigate and understand the threat. Finally, there is “recovery”, where organisations must get back on their feet and return to business as usual following an attack.

The benefits of Isolation

Isolation is a key design principle driving a comprehensive data security and resiliency strategy. It’s like adding a castle to the spear and shield analogy – the place where your royalty (data) is kept safe and secure, far from where the spear and shield meet.

Isolation solutions are powered by automated workflows that securely move copies of business critical data into a remote environment. Isolation solutions will also use intuitive dashboards that give you the ability to quickly and easily create protection policies while also displaying information on potential threats in real time.

So, you’re no longer solely relying on a single shield to protect everything. Instead, you’re removing critical data - the focus of attacks - from the battlefield and keeping it in a safe place where it’s ready to recover if something goes wrong.

Ensuring continuity

It’s clear that in 2021, your organisation needs to be prepared for anything when it comes to cyber security. However, with the frequency and sophistication of threats increasing, it’s not enough to just protect yourself.

You need to adapt to change and adopt new and emerging technologies, even as they stretch your ability to secure your data and networks. You need to continue evolving – to do better work and offer a better product to your customers.

In a year of increasing threats, a robust cyber resiliency strategy powered by capable and flexible technology from a trusted partner is critical for ensuring continuity if the worst is to happen.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.