Ten steps to prevent a data breach, both on-premise and in the cloud

Cyber-attacks and data breaches have skyrocketed since the outbreak of the coronavirus, largely due to the development of a more digital society and economy where everything is connected. We have put together ten tips to help businesses protect themselves from cybercriminals trying to breach their network.

Many companies have made headlines in the last year for being victims of ransomware attacks large enough to cripple their business, but while this is one of the most common cyber threats, there are many risks lurking in corporate environments at a time when the pandemic has led to a large proportion of staff remotely accessing corporate resources via virtual private networks.

This reality means that IT security teams need to do more with less to make their business more secure by keeping company operations safe, identifying and preventing threats, leveraging the value of their security tools, and being able to attract and retain security specialists.

In our predictions for 2021, we at Syntax already advanced that this issue was going to set the technological agenda and, to illustrate the relevance of cybersecurity today, in one of our posts dedicated to the protection of cloud deployments we also provided this data: cybercrime causes losses to companies of more than one trillion dollars a year, compared to the 600,000 million dollars it represented in 2018, and this amount could rise to 10.5 trillion dollars in 2025.

In the current scenario where attacks are more targeted, sophisticated and difficult to detect, these are the ten recommendations from our specialists to help prevent a cyber incident.

Tip 1. Develop a comprehensive strategy and test it.

It is important to have a vision of the security strategy and develop a comprehensive plan that covers all potential vulnerabilities in the organisation so that you can be proactive, rather than reactive to a potential attack.

The strategy must be accompanied by sufficient resources to be able to deploy it and ensure that they have the necessary expertise to prove that they can actually prevent attacks. Audits and penetration tests applied to the IT infrastructure play an important role in this self-assessment.

Tip 2: Ensure visibility of the technology environment

In the face of advanced cyber threats, it is important to have a consistent structure for detecting, monitoring, managing and protecting the corporate network, capable of minimising the detection time of an intrusion.

This will require gaining visibility of the entire network to identify any problems and prevent them from spreading. The most common route is to use intrusion detection systems (IDS), and these must be properly configured.

Tip 3. Try to stay ahead of cybercriminals

A strong security posture will ensure that the company can continuously identify, assess and remediate risks and threats across its IT environment. They must be prioritised and addressed.

It is no longer a question of whether the company will fall victim to a security breach, but how often and how serious. Therefore, there needs to be a vulnerability management plan in place and patches released by IT vendors need to be applied quickly to prevent incidents.

Tip 4: Be fast and apply artificial intelligence

Enterprises need to be faster at detecting and responding to threats, and this can be achieved by using advanced cloud-native incident management tools (SIEM) and automated response solutions (SOAR), aided by artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.

Tip 5. Have or contract a Security Operations Centre (SOC)

It is also important to set up an in-house SOC  for future security incidents or partner with a managed service provider that has a SOC that can help monitor and manage security around the clock to reduce the risk of a breach. A SOC tracks user behaviour and looks for unusual activity using artificial intelligence and machine learning; manages vulnerabilities; and verifies and validates that security solutions are working properly, are up-to-date and generate security alarms.

Syntax, has these services, as it has a SOC in its value proposition.

Tip 6: Engage senior management

Cybersecurity is now a major corporate concern and should therefore be a top management priority. For this reason, managers need to be aware of what it costs to reduce security risks and what a security problem could cost their organisation.

If the entire organisation is not involved in cyber security, there will be problems.

Tip 7. Train employees in cybersecurity

To protect your organisation, cyber security must be part of your organisational DNA and culture. To do this, all employees must be made aware of its relevance and be trained to recognise and avoid attacks.

Tip 8. Protect devices

It is not only the infrastructure and network that needs to be protected. Protect all devices, too, by investing in EDR, endpoint threat detection and response solutions.

Tip 9. Backup solutions

No cybersecurity strategy will work without a business continuity and disaster recovery plan because, in the event of a major security incident, it will allow the company to get back up and running.

High availability solutions are crucial at this point and, if the company is a SAP user, CxLink Backup, our proposal for streamlining SAP backups on AWS, is a good alternative.

Tip 10. Don’t rule out cybersecurity outsourcing

If you don’t have the resources to shield your company from cyber-attacks, outsourcing your security services to an expert can be a good solution.

For those companies that already have their SAP systems in the cloud or are thinking of doing so, security in these environments is also key and Syntax can help you to resolve your doubts. By following this link you can download the webinar we have organised with SAP and AWS on how to secure SAP data in the AWS cloud.