Security as an Enabler of Business Innovation

Cybersecurity can be a highly complex endeavor, and yet at a basic level, its mission is simple. Ensure that the right people have the right access to the right things. As relatively simple as that key objective may appear to be, we have created a complexity of countless tools and acronyms such as EDR, XDR, SASE, SIEM, SOC, immutable storage, and user behavior analysis to make it a reality.  It is no wonder why companies are confused about how to best protect themselves from the growing threat landscape that emanates from everywhere.

That’s because ensuring dependable and secure access entails more than just configuring access policies. For instance, a DDOS attack can circumvent that objective as can a single compromised user with escalated privileges can usurp a SASE system. One unpatched system can become the hole in the dam that begins a ransomware attack that brings down a core business. The truth is that cybersecurity is indeed a highly complex undertaking, which is why cyberattacks continue to proliferate across the globe. When you read the headlines, one might conclude that we are falling behind, not getting ahead.

Hybrid Cloud Changed Everything

If you are an IT veteran, it is only natural to look at cybersecurity from a nostalgic viewpoint. For many years, securing your enterprise simply entailed keeping the front door locked, otherwise known as the firewall. The problem is that there is no front door anymore, in fact, there’s not even a perimeter in most cases. It’s a lot easier to concentrate your forces around a single attack avenue than it is to protect the vast frontier of today’s hybrid attack surface.  The hybrid cloud has indeed changed everything.

Attack Objectives Have Evolved

It was also easier to understand the mindset of the “back guys” back in the “good old days.” For decades, hackers worked to steal the crown jewels from the safe, otherwise known as sensitive data. At the same time, security teams worked to protect that data from being stolen. Thanks to ransomware, the mission today is often to destroy the jewels rather than take them. Because data protection is no longer just about preventing data exfiltration, IT teams need a different type of security strategy to protect against changing attack objectives and methodologies.

Skills Are As Important As Tools

Securing the cloud is different than on-prem protection. Take something simple as the backup and restoration of data. There are no tape drives in the cloud, so that is one less option. Companies have realized that legacy security tools that could amply protect their on-prem environments can’t cut it with the cloud. That has induced organizations to acquire the new best-of-breed tools they need. The problem is that hybrid cloud security isn’t just about tools. It’s about having the right skills to understand what is going on across your entire IT estate, including all those underlying layers beneath the cloud surface. In the same way can’t expect a Group Policy veteran to immediately understand how to manage everything using MDM, you can’t expect your on-prem security teams to comprehend all the vulnerabilities and attack methodologies within the cloud.

Automation Increases the Need for Security

The world is moving at warp speed today. A video showing a new easy way to hack into an S3 bucket can go viral and suddenly your teams must create a way to stop the imminent wave of attacks that come days later. We hear a lot about automation and one can assume that automation makes things safer. But what if that automation becomes compromised? Who is running that automation? What is securing the code that is being perpetually released through your pipelines? Attack windows are becoming extremely compressed, which means you don’t have time to interpret prescribed metric alerts and log files.

It is Time to Look at Security Differently

It is time to stop looking at security as a separate discipline. Instead, it must be integrated into your decision making at every level. Your new IT investments can’t create new vulnerabilities. That is like taking two steps forward and one step back, sometimes more. Whether it is a new line of code, a new container or a new server, your IT teams must do more than ensure they run correctly when introduced to the network. Integrated security is about maximizing your current and future IT investments so that your business objectives are achieved.

The reason why hybrid clouds environments are so vulnerable is because many organizations don’t properly operationalize them. If the point of modern operations is to get the full value out of your IT investments, then security must be a part of operations. It’s also important to transition from a mindset of protection to one of prevention. Prevention focusses on stopping security incidents before they occur by proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, robust policy implementation, and a comprehensive understanding of one’s risk environment.

Security and Evolving Solutions

Evolving Solutions is putting greater focus and investment into our cybersecurity initiatives. Security is nothing new for us. We have helped clients secure everything from mainframes to native-cloud environments. For too long, security has been viewed as an obstacle to innovation, rather than an enabler. We are working to reverse that by introducing new strategies to our clients in which security is an integrated contributor to the innovation that will transform their businesses and deliver that business safely to their customers.

Michael Downs

Chief Technology Officer

Michael is the Chief Technology Officer at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2014. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn here.

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