Major ‘Whys’ of Security Breaches and How Organizations Can Eliminate Them

Security breaches are growing sophisticated and rampant, adversely impacting organizations across the globe. It is important for organizations to identify all the underlying incidents that lead to these security breaches. This is to not only understand the reason behind their occurrence, but also to harness valuable insights to tactfully and efficiently counter the growing number of threats.

It has been seen that the leading causes of security breaches include data breaches due to hacking and breaches done by default or weak passwords. Social security breaches also account for a significant fraction of cyberattacks, whereas data breaches that involve credentials stealing malware have also been growing at a rapid rate. Human errors have also contributed to a palpable extent of data breaches in organizations.

Key Reasons Behind Security Breaches

Working with cloud providers renders organizations to understand and follow the shared responsibility model. However, most organizations are unaware of the part of cloud providers in shared responsibility and the part they need to act on themselves. A common reason behind security breaches is the assumption of organizations that default configurations work appropriately.

Compromised passwords have been a major reason for security breaches in recent years, which are stolen through credential harvesting. Access to user credentials is an easy way for accessing systems, which cyberattackers usually exploit as it is an area with least resistance. For example, at the Justus Liebig University (JLU) based in Germany, more than 38,000 students were notified of receiving new passwords because of malware breach.

Human errors are responsible for more than one quarter of the security breaches. Some examples include employees leaving their devices in locations vulnerable to attacks and inadvertently emailing critical information to third parties that are unauthorized. A key instance of basic human error that results in adverse security breaches is misconfiguration of a database or application. This has a great potential of mistakenly exposing sensitive information. 

In security the areas that involve are people, technology, and processes. There are errors in radical security processes. For example, improper patch management results in security breaches. Similar to passwords, unpatched systems have been a potential target for cyberattackers, as efforts involved in successful system breaches are very low. Technology is not perfect. There are many areas where failures may occur periodically, which results in a compromised system.

How Organizations Can Safeguard Against Security Breaches

Basic security hygiene processes, managed and implemented correctly will mitigate several breaches caused by hacking. Organizations must look to ensure that security regression testing is an indispensable part of their deployment processes to prevent technology failures which result in security breaches. They must also look to encrypt data on mobile devices to prevent security breaches involving stolen or lost devices.

While several organizations assume passwords are vital for secure and valid authentication, these are actually the achilles heel of authentication practices. For mitigating real threats of security breaches arising from weak or default passwords, organizations must consider reinforcing their authentication practices with adaptive multi-factor authentication solutions that provide robust security with contextual awareness.

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Virtualization Gains Popularity as a Viable Solution for Enhancing Cloud Security

Virtualization has evolved rapidly to become a necessary part of cloud security strategies. A recent Gartner study states that over 30% organizations across the globe will implement virtualization tools for their data requirements by 2020-end. Virtual machine infrastructures have been the most adopted powerful technology in recent years, despite the related risks such as man-in-the-middle and DoS attacks.

Endpoint security remains an oxymoron concept while being the holy grail for organizations worldwide. As cybercriminals grow more and more sophisticated, security tools are evolving in tandem, with virtualization technology enabling operating system isolation and enhancing safety. This has made virtualization the best approach to cloud security, helping organizations keep sensitive information safe.

How Virtualization Drives Cloud Security

Organizations are leveraging virtual machines in several ways for enhancing their cloud security, which include operating system virtualization, application virtualization, and virtual desktop infrastructure. While the last two address a small part of the vulnerability landscape, operating system virtualization removes cloud security issues inherent in application and VDI virtualization software.

The operating system virtualization enables organizations to protect critical information against every attack vector. Also, in contrast to other approaches it ensures them to realize the performance expected and sought in professionals. With this, the end-users of an application can install, work, and access resources as and when required, without security barriers or worrying about compromising sensitive data.

Key Cloud Security Benefits with Virtualization

By adopting virtualization in their cloud environment, organizations can realize the following security benefits.

  • Organizations have the flexibility to share systems without essentially having to share critical information or data across the systems.
  • They can prevent loss or damage to critical data, in cases where the system is compromised owing to malicious activities.
  • They have the ability to reduce the risk of multiple attacks in case of an exposure by methodically isolating applications and virtual machines.
  • It improves the physical security of organizations by reducing hardware requirements, thereby leading to fewer data centers.
  • A higher level of access control is offered to system and network administrators, which separates responsibilities and improves the system’s efficiency.

A key consideration that organizations must take into account is that their system must be appropriately set up or configured to leverage virtualization for cloud security effectively. Modern organizations must safeguard their virtual environments against the growing plethora of threats. 

Some of the key considerations in protecting a virtual environment include keeping software updated, following configuration best practices, and utilizing AV software. While some risk of threat remains even with some defenses, it is essential for organizations to implement security tools to track changes and maintain throughput security.

The Way Ahead

Virtualizations is a viable solution for organizations that focus on strengthening their cloud security. To ensure a robust security posture, multi-layered protection must be put in place and followed thoroughly. Organizations need to strategize and have better preparedness and understanding of handling the security issues in virtual infrastructure and its components. Virtualization must be a top priority, not an afterthought, for organizations that look to strengthen their cloud security.

How Enhanced Security Can Result in Improved Business Performance

Organizations around the world deem robust security as an important focus area in the current harrowing threat landscape. However, the way organizations put the culture of cybersecurity is yet uncertain. The ISACA and CMMI Institute report that much progress is required in this area, as over 90% of organizations realize the gap between the desired cybersecurity culture and their current status quo.

Prioritizing investment in security training is one of the key drivers of developing a strong cybersecurity culture for organizations. Moreover, it is necessary that they measure and assess the views of employees on security annually, which will lead them to increased awareness and enhanced security.

Developing a Robust Cyber-security Culture

While security providers advise organizations on the ways of strengthening their cybersecurity, it is the organizations that decide on the degree of cybersecurity they need. Developing a resilient security architecture does not just involve the IT team. Considering their business requirements, it is imperative that organizations ensure communicating risks and advantages. When organizations are able to document these, a sound and robust security architecture can be achieved that provides their business with significant cost savings.

The business status and requirements provide organizations with insights they need for developing an impactful business strategy while mitigating cybersecurity risks. Both of these are core contributions for organizations to design their security architecture. Moreover, a key positive influence of this is the seamless alignment of cybersecurity measures with the business needs of organizations.

Organizational reputation, business continuity, brand perception, and financial success all hinge on the performance of security infrastructure. However, in order to manage and maintain performance effectively, organizations need to measure it. Nearly one-third of businesses have been witnessed to fall behind the competition owing to perceived lack of high-performing security within their organization. Thus, it is not an overstatement to say that cybersecurity performance is indispensable to realizing business success.

The Role of Organizations

A key aspect of developing a resilient cybersecurity infrastructure is determining whether the organizations have distinctly defined their role in preventing cyberattacks. Some organizations resort to the usual ‘fire drills’, wherein they commence a staged event followed by the rest who leap into action. In such cases, employees are tackling certain tasks and memorizing steps that are essential. This further enables them to determine necessary actions in case something goes awry.

With a well-structured security architecture, organizations get the foundation to build their defenses. Moreover, they get a set of technologies, which can be used with their IT staff that is well versed in maintaining robust security. For any organization, a high-risk situation and the relevant consequences make the business vulnerable, which can be effectively mitigated by holding a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.

To Sum Up

Cybersecurity concerns can no longer be avoided in the development lifecycle of organizations. A demonstrable and clear process is vital to illustrate the essentiality of data protection within as well as outside an organization. Businesses and consumers both must be straightforward when it comes to risks that they collectively confront in the digital world.

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