Enter November! The busiest season for businesses. With massive discounts, coupon offers and whatnot welcoming customers to queue up, the almost-year-end season witnesses a rush in all senses. As the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation journey for businesses, it was not just about doing business online anymore. Organizations started focusing on providing the best digital experience to their customers with digital technology making omnichannel experiences possible. However, in a bid to accelerate technology in business, security began taking a backseat. Enough and more has been said about the type of threats that could attack businesses. If anything, the past years have taught us, it is for the CISOs and IT leaders to take a closer look at their security strategy as attackers are in control of the wheel while security approaches still seem to be riding the backseat!
Jumping on the trend is not enough!
As per an IDC report published in 2021, more than one-third of organizations worldwide have experienced some ransomware attack or a breach that blocked them out of their own systems. As organizations begin tapping the potential of digital technology, a tremendous amount of valuable data is circulated in the system that is often overlooked for security. SMBs were quick to jump on the trend to migrate their business to the cloud and adopt remote/distributed teams. Still, IT systems took the brunt when security strategies were not prioritized during this transition. The unpreparedness, along with the general attitude of ‘it-can-be-dealt-later,’ is a formula for disaster. It may not be intuitive for small businesses to be proactive about security. For many, it could just be a part of their IT strategy, but it may not be something they go on the offensive with. This is where merely jumping on the trend is not enough. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday providing the annual shopping frenzy, businesses need to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach in terms of security. If anything past experiences have taught, it is to understand that attacks do not follow a pattern and often lead to a high recovery cost.
Reality check for CISOs
Being proactive starts with CISOs breaking away from the pattern of approaching security with a siloed mindset. Instead, they should focus on innovation and putting together a strategy that supports the digital transformation goals. The first blanket of security starts from within and begins with checking the security health of the systems. In addition, investing in the right technology focused on long-term goals is also essential.
And no, it is not the same as installing an antivirus software!
Attacks begin with open points that are vulnerable. Weak passwords, phishing emails with exciting deals, and compromised credentials can result in threat vectors. Therefore, it is necessary for businesses, whether 10 or 100 in number, to have a security policy in place so that the employees can take accountability and be aware of the best practice. However, with the variety and sophistication of cyber-attacks, it is not enough if a cyber security policy is just on paper. Implementing healthy endpoint security means investing in technology that secures all the points to prevent mishaps. Automating these security measures with endpoint protection tools gives IT admins an overall view of the security health of the systems in one place so that they can enroll, manage, update, and retire hundreds of endpoints from anywhere. This significantly takes the load off IT so they can focus on high-value, business-critical tasks. In addition to providing a birds-eye view, a unified endpoint management (UEM) system allows businesses to be more resilient in a competitive environment, especially when most businesses continue to focus on distributed working conditions.
Focus on long-term
A record $430 is spent on average during Black Friday, which opens doors for vulnerable endpoints. With the biggest business weekend coming up, it is necessary to upgrade your security game, so businesses do not open a field for attackers. In the past, almost 4000 online retailers were unaware of them being hosts to credit card skimmers. The reason why attackers go after businesses rather than individuals is obvious– businesses offer more financial benefits than individuals. Unpreparedness causes financial loss, damage to reputation, and not to mention legal complications.
Many SMBs have found themselves not taking cyber security seriously and have lost ground while focusing on short-term fixes. Moreover, businesses need to understand that they are dealing with consumers who are extremely conscious about associating themselves with products and services that are secure for them. With business reputation on the line, SMBs need to do what enterprises are doing and see the larger picture. Endpoint protection strategy is not just about securing endpoints anymore but a holistic approach to adopting digital security hygiene.
(The author is Mr. Apu Pavithran, CEO, Hexnode and the views expressed in this article are his own)