Taking a modern approach to cybersecurity means adapting your defences to fit the demands of the new digitally charged world. Much like how we wouldn’t use medieval suits of armour to combat bullets, we shouldn’t be dependent on older cybersecurity tactics to keep safe from the cybercriminals of today.
Modern approaches include using newly available technology and methods to protect our systems. There are certainly a lot of different elements that come into play when defending an organisation from today’s cyber threats. However, here we will highlight three of the most critical ones that could tremendously improve any organisation’s security posture: Adopting a zero-trust security model, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and utilising cloud technology.
The zero-trust model has become an essential component of modern cybersecurity. Hybrid work environments have poked holes in our previous security models, so businesses must now trust no one. The zero-trust model hinges upon the belief that organisations should not trust anything or anyone both internal and external. It’s all about verification and access. Not all employees can and should have access to a businesses’ highly sensitive data, so monitoring that is key. Zero-Trust implementation should also be aided by AI to evaluate access and identities in real-time.
Artificial Intelligence has been making waves in many areas of business, and in cybersecurity, its impact is particularly profound. Let’s face it. Organisations and security teams are overwhelmed by the sheer volume, variety and sophistication of modern cyber threats. But fret not. AI can now be used to automate and enhance protection, detection and response to cyber threats. For instance, Artificial Intelligence can be beneficial in monitoring activities within systems, evaluating the risks and implementing the associated policies automatically to facilitate a successful implementation of the zero-trust model autonomously.
While advanced technologies such as AI used to be beyond the reach and affordability of most organisations, cloud computing has democratised the most powerful tools needed for businesses to stand a fighting chance against the onslaught of cyber attacks.
For example, hyperscale cloud-based AI solutions are now used for endpoint security, Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM), as well as Security Orchestration Automation Response (SOAR) to realise the protect, detect, and respond mindset. Since it’s improbable that humans can detect threats in the mountains of data, a technological solution in the form of AI should be implemented.
While solutions like SIEM have worked in the past for organisations to effectively analyse and mitigate threats, the increase in threat actors and tactics have resulted in the need for an upgrade. These days, AI integrated SIEM have gone past being searchable, role-based log engines to providing automated and continuous analysis of an organisation’s IT environment. Equipped with AI and machine-learning, enabled by the cloud, a company’s SOC is provided with results that can better help them evaluate and manage the security of a business’ systems and data.
As the name entails, SOAR connects the processes of security orchestration, automation and response. With the use of AI-based tools, organisations can shorten their incident response processes, ensuring the eradication of threats occurs at a timely pace.
In addition, the hyperscale cloud has allowed for the cost-effective micro-segmentation of data. In the event of an attack on a single segment, data in other segments will not be affected by the incoming threat. This method can save organisations time, money and effort spent to recover after a business-wide attack. With hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures becoming highly popular and affordable, enterprises can protect themselves with backups, and other fail-safes should their infrastructures become compromised.
The existence of a hyperscale cloud aids a modern security approach by allowing the leverage of AI for cybersecurity purposes and micro-segmentation. But this is simply a single piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. For organisations to protect themselves from today’s varied and highly sophisticated cyber threats, their approach to cybersecurity must be holistic and multi-layered, combining modern technology with a forward-thinking strategy.
About Dr Dzaharudin Mansor
Dr Dzaharudin is the National Technology Officer (“NTO”) for Microsoft Malaysia. With more than 33 years of professional experience in ICT, he engages with key national technology stakeholders including academics and policymakers to contribute to national development. Passionate in technology, he works closely with academia, holding advisory positions at several universities.