Sunday, July 14, 2013

Five Ways To Plump Your Security Program Without Going Broke

Some are quick, cheap and often free! Others require a little more time and critical thinking

Addressing cyber-attacks is not just a technology issue. It requires a holistic view from the entire organization. Today's security threats span a broad spectrum of social engineering schemes, international hackers, and insider threats like the recent NSA breach.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the potential threats and where money should be spent to keep up, let alone stay ahead of the curve. Security functions are getting only 70 percent of the resources that they need to do an adequate job" of securing the business, including hardware, software, services and staff. 

The hard stuff is in the next 30 percent." Meanwhile, worldwide spending on security infrastructure, including software, services and network security appliances used to secure enterprise, rose to $60 billion in 2012, up 8.4 percent from $55 billion in 2011, according to Gartner Inc. That number is expected to hit $86 billion by 2016.

Security experts offer five tips for enhancing security that don't cost a lot of cash — and sometimes no money at all — so companies can spend their security dollars on the hard stuff.

1. Patch security holes and identify vulnerabilities

Three of the top 10 botnets reported in February 2013 were more than 8 years old, according to Fortiguard Labs, the threat-researching arm of network security firm Fortinet Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif. In the most successful attacks, the majority of those threats had been identified and fixed by vendors years earlier, said Derek Manky, global security strategist.

Companies need to keep patches up to date.

2. Install your free firewall and antivirus upgrades

A lot of people don't realize their basic support contracts with most vendors for support, firewalls and antivirus include free upgrades. If you don't have a strategy to revisit what the available technology is that you've already paid for, then you're missing out on a lot of new features and enhancements" that could prevent a security breach. 

Call your vendor and revisit our firewall and antivirus solution contracts.

3. Keep up with BYOD

Personal devices in the business environment are here to stay. Yet 79 percent of businesses had a mobile security incident in the past year, ranging from malicious apps downloaded to a mobile device to unsecure Wi-Fi connections to lack of security patches from services providers, according to a June mobile security report by Check Point Software Technologies.

These mobile security incidents cost companies between $100,000 and $500,000 in staff time, legal fees and resolution processes.

Organizations can improve mobile device security through BYOD agreements with users to ensure they take security precautions. The checklist should include installing available upgrades and patches; ensuring that each mobile device infrastructure component has its clock synced to a common time source; reconfiguring access control features as needed, according to the Computer Security Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

4. Define a enterprise-wide security strategy

Nine out of 10 big companies lacked defined security strategy and security plans, or they re not tied with business goals and business objectives. There's no way to know if you're supporting business objectives unless you take the time to develop the security strategy and make they're sure they're doing the most important things for overall risk reduction. 

5. Educate Employees

Successful attacks are usually ones that exploit the human mind. Humans are always the weakest link in the chain.

Education can help stop employees from falling victim to phishing attacks or pretexting schemes or careless use of login credentials, which accounted for 3 of the top 10 threat actions performed against large companies, according to Verizon's 2012 data breach investigations report.

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