Cybersecurity Compliance

IT Challenges & Solutions

IT Network Security & IT Security Risk Management

IT practitioners have been confronting persistent cybersecurity problems for decades.  Try as they may with point solutions and restrictive policies, the evolution of technology, user experience, and interconnectedness of networks gives threats the upper hand. Well into the 21st century, organizations continue to address network visibility, defense, and threat containment issues. Cyber tools and security operators are plagued by overwhelming network noise, mountains of false-positive results, and outright alert fatigue. IT networks continue to grow and change to solve new and emerging busines problems. This need for transformation results in new blind spots, encounters with unknown threats, and an array of aging and unsupported tools. Finally, with shrinking teams and shortages in highly trained personnel, IT practitioners are reliant on connected vendors and service providers, which further extends the cyber risk surface.

Unwanted, unneeded, uninvited nuisance traffic clutters the firewall and sometimes gets through to the network. As a result, it creates a costly burden and increases the possibility of a security event. Limited firewall rule sets put forth a static perimeter configuration that can be understood after repeated reconnaissance scans. This provides the attackers with an advantage when planning a network attack. Organizations need an evolved approach to defend the network.

Vendor risk management is a full-time job. It is alarmingly difficult to maintain continuous digital trust. Vendor ecosystems are expanding and evolving at a dynamic rate making it more difficult to maintain continual digital trust on networks. Each supplier granted network access adds a layer of risk to the enterprise. IT environments are at greater risk due to normal physical interactions behind the security layer. Vendors, third parties and employees frequently plug-in with external storage or internet connected devices for maintenance and monitoring, creating a vector for introduced and undetected threats.

Skyrocketing global IP traffic volumes create an increased risk of a successful DDoS attack. Relentless, brute-force attacks, distributed denial of service events, and fractional and targeted DoS attacks against enterprises and specific targets within the enterprise continue to increase. Out of control IP traffic volumes contribute to heightened risk and overall cybersecurity costs.

In today's global economy, it is not enough to simply block a country on a firewall. Both troublesome content delivery networks and worldwide enterprises are leveraging server infrastructure all around the globe. Clients and partners may have operations in countries that might otherwise be out of scope for internal operations. Blocking at the country level is no longer an acceptable solution to protect the network because it is too restrictive to support offshore activity. How do organizations prevent access to and from high-risk geographical areas without excluding potentially valuable customers or business partners?

Successfully deploying a SIEM is a complex task. That complexity is amplified by unmanageable noise from within the network and from skyrocketing volumes of global IP traffic. With SIEM vendors who have volumetric pricing models this can drastically increase subscription/license related costs. This struggle plagues security operations in organizations of all sizes and is a root cause problem.

Patch management is an important and necessary tool in hardening IT devices to prevent known attacks from exploiting known weaknesses. However, the process is insufficient to protect against, and has little impact on unknown threats. And for many legacy production systems that are still operating but no longer actively supported by the manufacturer, patching isn't even a possibility. How can organizations maintain continuity, remain secure, and achieve compliance while using unsupported legacy systems.

Nearly every cybersecurity compliance standard requires network logging as part of the security program. A common practice is to log everything from network and security devices. However, logging everything can lead to an overwhelming amount of data that is difficult to process, analyze, and store. Many organizations use a combination of tools and policy to consolidate logs into security events, which can be both blessing and bane. The large amount of log data from disparate sources often creates an inordinate amount of off-target and false-positive alerts. Even with advanced correlation mechanisms to escalate the suspicious activity, it's easy to overwhelm operators with too many alerts. Alert overload often results in on-target events being ignored, baselined or even "squelched" to the point of ineffectiveness. Alert Hell is a real place, and this root cause problem plagues security operations in organizations of all sizes.

A problem shared by many organizations is the ability to attract and retain security personnel. Many security teams are understaffed and often backfill open positions with operators that are not cybersecurity experts. Realizing that many if not most operators are not cybersecurity experts, are the cyber tools operator friendly. How much care and feeding beyond the initial implementation are the tools going to require. Solutions that can be self-sustaining and require reduced levels ongoing intervention are ideal.

Whether your organization is a small two-site location or large, multi-node distributed environment, detecting and then stopping an attack is difficult without the correct tools. Many networks are either flat or only lightly segmented which allows threats to sprawl across the organization. Every device connected to the network communicates across the network creating a base level of traffic that looks like noise to network monitoring systems. Threats sprawl through the network noise. However, to counteract the noise, many network operators baseline common activity, reducing visibility. The inability to observe network asset or user behavior quickly and adequately amid all that noise creates blind spots. Threats hide in the blind spots. Chasing a moving and morphing threat through a critical environment is challenging to say the least. Finally, what solutions are in place to effectively stop the threat and prevent it from expanding its reach into other IT assets or the corporate IT network. 

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