Bottom line: With many IT budgets under scrutiny, cybersecurity teams are expected to do more with less, prioritizing spending that delivers the greatest ROI while avoiding the top five mistakes that threaten their infrastructures.
In a rush to reduce budgets and spending, cybersecurity teams and the CISOs that lead them need to avoid the mistakes that can thwart cybersecurity strategies and impede infrastructure performance. Cutting budgets too deep and too fast can turn into an epic fail from a cybersecurity standpoint. What I’ve found is that CIOs are making decisions based on budget requirements, while CISOs are looking out for the security of the company.
Based on their ongoing interviews with CIOs, Gartner is predicting an 8% decline in worldwide IT spending this year. Cybersecurity projects that don’t deliver a solid ROI are already out of IT budgets. Prioritizing and trimming projects to achieve tighter cost optimization is how CIOs and their teams are reshaping their budgets today. CIOs say the goal is to keep the business running as secure as possible, not attain perfect cybersecurity.
Despite the unsettling, rapid rise of cyber-attacks, including a 667% increase in spear-fishing email attacks related to Covid-19 since February alone, CIOs often trim IT budgets starting with cybersecurity first. The current economic downturn is making it clear that cybersecurity is more of a business strategy than an IT one, as spending gets prioritized by the best-to-worst business case.
Five Mistakes No CISO Wants To Make
One of the hardest parts of a CISO’s job is deciding which projects will continue to be funded and who will be responsible for leading them, so they deliver value. It gets challenging fast when budgets are shrinking and competitors actively recruit the most talented team members. Those factors taken together create the perfect conditions for the five mistakes that threaten the infrastructure cybersecurity and resilience of any business.
The five mistakes no CISO wants to make include the following:
1. No accountability for the crown jewels for the company. Privileged access credentials continue to be the primary target for cyber-attackers. However, many companies just went through a challenging sprint to make sure all employees have secure remote access to enable Covid-19 work-from-home policies. Research by Centrify reveals that 41% of UK businesses aren’t treating outsourced IT and other third parties likely to have some form of privileged access as an equal security concern.
And while a password vault helps rotate credentials, it still relies on shared passwords and doesn’t provide any accountability to know who is doing what with them. That accountability can be introduced by moving to an identity-centric approach where privileged users log in as themselves and are authenticated using existing identity infrastructures (such as Microsoft Active Directory) to federate access with Centrify’s Privileged Access Service.
CISOs and their teams also continue to discount or underestimate the importance of privileged non-human identities that far outweigh human users as a cybersecurity risk in today’s business world. What’s needed is an enterprise-wide approach enabling machines to protect themselves across any network or infrastructure configuration.
2. Cybersecurity budgets aren’t revised for current threatscapes. Even though many organizations are still in the midst of extensive digital transformation, their budgets often reflect the threatscape from years ago. This gives hackers the green light to get past antiquated legacy security systems to access and leverage modern infrastructures, such as cloud and DevOps. IT security leaders make this even more challenging by not listening to the front-line cybersecurity teams and security analysts who can see the patterns of breach attempts in data they review every day. In dysfunctional organizations, the analyst teams are ignored and cybersecurity suffers.
3. Conflicts of interest when CISOs report to CIOs and the IT budget wins. This happens in organizations that get hacked because the cybersecurity teams aren’t getting the tools and support they need to do their jobs. With IT budgets facing the greatest scrutiny they’ve seen in a decade, CISOs need to have their budget to defend. Otherwise, too many cybersecurity projects will be cut without thinking of the business implications of each. The bottom line is CISOs need to report to the CEO and have the autonomy to plan, direct, evaluate and course-correct their strategies with their teams.
4. The mistake of thinking cloud platforms’ Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools can secure an enterprise on their own. Cloud providers offer a baseline level of IAM support that might be able to secure workloads in their clouds adequately but is insufficient to protect a multi-cloud, hybrid enterprise. IT leaders need to consider how they can better protect the complex areas of IAM and Privileged Access Management (PAM) with these significant expansions of the enterprise IT estate.
Native IAM capabilities offered by AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other vendors provide enough functionality to help an organization get up and running to control access in their respective homogeneous cloud environments. However, often they lack the scale to fully address the more challenging, complex areas of IAM and PAM in hybrid or multi-cloud environments. Please see the post, The Truth About Privileged Access Security On AWS and Other Public Clouds, for additional information.
5. Exposing their organizations to a greater risk of breach and privileged access credential abuse by staying with legacy password vaults too long. Given the severity, speed and scale of breach attempts, IT leaders need to re-think their vault strategy and make them more identity-centric. Just as organizations have spent the past 5 – 10 years modernizing their infrastructure, they must also consider how to modernize how they secure access to it. More modern solutions can enforce a least privilege approach based on Zero Trust principles that grant just enough, just-in-time access to reduce risk. Forward-thinking organizations will be more difficult to breach by reorienting PAM from being vault-centric to identity-centric.
Decisions about what stays or goes in cybersecurity budgets this year could easily make or break careers for CISOs and CIOs alike. Consider the five mistakes mentioned here and the leading cause of breaches – privileged access abuse. Prioritizing privileged access management for human and machine identities addresses the most vulnerable threat vector for any business. Taking a more modern approach that is aligned to digital transformation priorities can often allow organizations to leverage their existing solutions to reduce risk and costs at the same time.
86% of all breaches are financially motivated, where threat actors are after company financial data, intellectual property, health records, and customer identities that can be sold fast on the Dark Web.
70% of breaches are perpetrated by external actors, making endpoint security a high priority in any cybersecurity strategy.
55% of breaches originate from organized crime groups.
Attacks on Web apps accessed from endpoints were part of 43% of breaches, more than double the results from last year.
These and many other insights are from Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), downloadable here (PDF, 119 pp. free, opt-in). One of the most-read and referenced data breach reports in cybersecurity, Verizon’s DBIR, is considered the definitive source of annual cybercrime statistics. Verizon expanded the scope of the report to include 16 industries this year, also providing break-outs for Asia-Pacific (APAC); Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); and North America, Canada, and Bermuda, which Verizon says is experiencing more breaches (NA).
The study’s methodology is based on an analysis of a record total of 157,525 incidents. Of those, 32,002 met Verizon’s quality standards, and 3,950 were confirmed data breaches. The report is based on an analysis of those findings. Please see Appendix A for the methodology.
Key insights include the following:
Verizon’s DBIR reflects the stark reality that organized crime-funded cybercriminals are relentless in searching out unprotected endpoints and exploiting them for financial gain, which is why autonomous endpoints are a must-have today. After reading the 2020 Verizon DBIR, it’s clear that if organizations had more autonomous endpoints, many of the most costly breaches could be averted. Autonomous endpoints that can enforce compliance, control, automatically regenerating, and patching cybersecurity software while providing control and visibility is the cornerstone of cybersecurity’s future. For endpoint security to scale across every threat surface, the new hybrid remote workplace is creating an undeletable tether to every device as a must-have for achieving enterprise scale.
The lack of diligence around Asset Management is creating new threat surfaces as organizations often don’t know the current health, configurations, or locations of their systems and devices. Asset Management is a black hole in many organizations leading to partial at best efforts to protect every threat surface they have. What’s needed is more insightful data on the health of every device. There are several dashboards available, and one of the most insightful is from Absolute, called the Remote Work and Distance Learning Insights Center. An example of the dashboard shown below:
85% of victims and subjects were in the same country, 56% were in the same state, and 35% were even in the same city based on FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) data. Cybercriminals are very opportunistic when it comes to attacking high-profile targets in their regions of the world. Concerted efforts of cybercriminals funded by organized crime look for the weakest threat surfaces to launch an attack on, and unprotected endpoints are their favorite target. What’s needed is more of a true endpoint resilience approach that is based on a real-time, unbreakable digital tether that ensures the security of every device and the apps and data it contains.
Cloud assets were involved in about 24% of breaches this year, while on-premises assets are still 70%. Ask any CISO what the most valuable lesson they learned from the pandemic has been so far, and chances are they’ll say they didn’t move to the cloud quickly enough. Cloud platforms enable CIOs and CISOs to provide a greater scale of applications for their workforces who are entirely remote and a higher security level. Digging deeper into this, cloud-based Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) provides invaluable real-time analysis, alerts, and deterrence of potential breaches. Today it’s the exceptional rather than the rule that CISOs prefer on-premise over cloud-based SIEM and endpoint security applications. Cloud-based endpoint platforms and the apps they support are the future of cybersecurity as all organizations now are either considering or adopting cloud-based cybersecurity strategies.
Over 80% of breaches within hacking involve brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials. One of the most valuable insights from the Verizon DBIR is how high of a priority cybercriminals are placing on stealing personal and privileged access credentials. Shutting down potential breach attempts from stolen passwords involves keeping every endpoint completely up to date on software updates, monitoring aberrant activity, and knowing if anyone is attempting to change the configuration of a system as an administrator. By having an unbreakable digital tether to every device, greater control and real-time response to breach attempts are possible.
Autonomous endpoints that can self-heal and regenerate operating systems and configurations are the future of cybersecurity, a point that can be inferred from Verizon’s DBIR this year. While CIOs are more budget-focused than ever, CISOs are focused on how to anticipate and protect their enterprises from new, emerging threats. Closing the asset management gaps while securing every endpoint is a must-have to secure any business today. There are several cybersecurity companies offering endpoint security today. Based on customer interviews I’ve done, one of the clear leaders in endpoint resilience is Absolute Software, whose persistent-firmware technology allows them to self-heal their own agent, as well as any endpoint security control and productivity tool on any protected device such as their Resilience suite of applications.
Worldwide spending on information security and risk management systems will reach $131B in 2020, increasing to $174B in 2022 approximately $50B will be dedicated to protecting the endpoint according to Gartner’s latest Information Security and Risk Management forecast.
AI, Machine Learning And The Race To Improve Cybersecurity
The majority of Information Security teams’ cybersecurity analysts are overwhelmed today analyzing security logs, thwarting breach attempts, investigating potential fraud incidents and more. 69% of senior executives believe AI and machine learning are necessary to respond to cyberattacks according to the Capgemini study, Reinventing Cybersecurity with Artificial Intelligence. The following graphic compares the percentage of organizations by industry who are relying on AI to improve their cybersecurity. 80% of telecommunications executives believe their organization would not be able to respond to cyberattacks without AI, with the average being 69% of all enterprises across seven industries.
The bottom line is all organizations have an urgent need to improve endpoint security and resilience, protect privileged access credentials, reduce fraudulent transactions, and secure every mobile device applying Zero Trust principles. Many are relying on AI and machine learning to determine if login and resource requests are legitimate or not based on past behavioral and system use patterns. Several of the top ten companies to watch take into account a diverse series of indicators to determine if a login attempt, transaction, or system resource request is legitimate or not. They’re able to assign a single score to a specific event and predict if it’s legitimate or not. Kount’sOmniscore is an example of how AI and ML are providing fraud analysts with insights needed to reduce false positives and improve customer buying experiences while thwarting fraud.
The following are the top ten cybersecurity companies to watch in 2020:
Absolute – Absolute serves as the industry benchmark for endpoint resilience, visibility and control. Embedded in over a half-billion devices, the company enables more than 12,000 customers with self-healing endpoint security, always-connected visibility into their devices, data, users, and applications – whether endpoints are on or off the corporate network – and the ultimate level of control and confidence required for the modern enterprise.
To thwart attackers, organizations continue to layer on security controls — Gartner estimates that more than $174B will be spent on security by 2022, and of that approximately $50B will be dedicated protecting the endpoint. Absolute’s Endpoint Security Trends Report finds that in spite of the astronomical investments being made, 100 percent of endpoint controls eventually fail and more than one in three endpoints are unprotected at any given time. All of this has IT and security administrators grappling with increasing complexity and risk levels, while also facing mounting pressure to ensure endpoint controls maintain integrity, availability and functionality at all times, and deliver their intended value.
Organizations need complete visibility and real-time insights in order to pinpoint the dark endpoints, identify what’s broken and where gaps exist, as well as respond and take action quickly. Absolute mitigates this universal law of security decay and empowers organizations to build an enterprise security approach that is intelligent, adaptive and self-healing. Rather than perpetuating a false sense of security, Absolute provides a single source of truth and the diamond image of resilience for endpoints.
Centrify – Centrify is redefining the legacy approach to Privileged Access Management (PAM) with an Identity-Centric approach based on Zero Trust principles. Centrify’s 15-year history began in Active Directory (AD) bridging, and it was the first vendor to join UNIX and Linux systems with Active Directory, allowing for easy management of privileged identities across a heterogeneous environment. It then extended these capabilities to systems being hosted in IaaS environments like AWS and Microsoft Azure, and offered the industry’s first PAM-as-a-Service, which continues to be the only offering in the market with a true multi-tenant, cloud architecture. Applying its deep expertise in infrastructure allowed Centrify to redefine the legacy approach to PAM and introduce a server’s capability to self-defend against cyber threats across the ever-expanding modern enterprise infrastructure.
Centrify Identity-Centric PAM establishes a root of trust for critical enterprise resources, and then grants least privilege access by verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment. By implementing least privilege access, Centrify minimizes the attack surface, improves audit and compliance visibility, and reduces risk, complexity, and costs for the modern, hybrid enterprise. Over half of the Fortune 100, the world’s largest financial institutions, intelligence agencies, and critical infrastructure companies, all trust Centrify to stop the leading cause of breaches – privileged credential abuse.
Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2021, approximately 75% of large enterprises will utilize privileged access management products, up from approximately 50% in 2018 in their Forecast Analysis: Information Security and Risk Management, Worldwide, 4Q18 Update published March 29, 2019 (client access reqd). This is not surprising, considering that according to an estimate by Forrester Research, 80% of today’s breaches are caused by weak, default, stolen, or otherwise compromised privileged credentials.
Deep Instinct – Deep Instinct applies artificial intelligence’s deep learning to cybersecurity. Leveraging deep learning’s predictive capabilities, Deep Instinct’s on-device solution protects against zero-day threats and APT attacks with unmatched accuracy. Deep Instinct safeguards the enterprise’s endpoints and/or any mobile devices against any threat, on any infrastructure, whether or not connected to the network or to the Internet. By applying deep learning technology to cybersecurity, enterprises can now gain unmatched protection against unknown and evasive cyber-attacks from any source. Deep Instinct brings a completely new approach to cybersecurity enabling cyber-attacks to be identified and blocked in real-time before any harm can occur. Deep Instinct USA is headquartered in San Francisco, CA and Deep Instinct Israel is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Infoblox – Infoblox empowers organizations to bring next-level simplicity, security, reliability and automation to traditional networks and digital transformations, such as SD-WAN, hybrid cloud and IoT. Combining next-level simplicity, security, reliability, and automation, Infoblox can cut manual tasks by 70% and make organizations’ threat analysts 3x more productive.
While their history is in DDI devices, they are succeeding in providing DDI and network security services on an as-a-service (-aaS) basis. Their BloxOne DDI application, built on their BloxOne cloud-native platform, helps enable IT professionals to manage their networks, whether they’re based on on-prem, cloud-based, or hybrid architectures. BloxOne Threat Defense application leverages the data provided by DDI to monitor network traffic, proactively identify threats, and quickly inform security systems and network managers of breaches, working with the existing security stack to identify and mitigate security threats quickly, automatically, and more efficiently. The BloxOne platform provides a secure, integrated platform for centralizing the management of identity data and services across the network. A recognized industry leader, Infoblox has a 52% market share in the DDI networking market comprised of 8,000 customers, including 59% of the Fortune 1000 and 58% of the Forbes 2000.
Kount – Kount’s award-winning, AI-driven fraud prevention empowers digital businesses, online merchants, and payment service providers around the world to protect against payments fraud, new account creation fraud, and account takeover. With Kount, businesses approve more good orders, uncover new revenue streams, improve customer experience, and dramatically improve their bottom line all while minimizing fraud management cost and losses. Through Kount’s global network and proprietary technologies in AI and machine learning, combined with flexible policy management, companies frustrate online criminals and bad actors driving them away from their site, their marketplace, and off their network. Kount’s continuously adaptive platform provides certainty for businesses at every digital interaction. Kount’s advances in both proprietary techniques and patented technology include mobile fraud detection, advanced artificial intelligence, multi-layer device fingerprinting, IP proxy detection and geo-location, transaction and custom scoring, global order linking, business intelligence reporting, comprehensive order management, as well as professional and managed services. Kount protects over 6,500 brands today.
Mimecast – Mimecast improves the way companies manage confidential, mission-critical business communication and data. The company’s mission is to reduce the risks users face from email, and support in reducing the cost and complexity of protecting users by moving the workload to the cloud. The company develops proprietary cloud architecture to deliver comprehensive email security, service continuity, and archiving in a single subscription service. Its goal is to make it easier for people to protect a business in today’s fast-changing security and risk environment. The company expanded its technology portfolio in 2019 through a pair of acquisitions, buying data migration technology provider Simply Migrate to help customers and prospects move to the cloud more quickly, reliably, and inexpensively. Mimecast also purchased email security startup DMARC Analyzer to reduce the time, effort, and cost associated with stopping domain spoofing attacks. Mimecast acquired Segasec earlier this month, a leading provider of digital threat protection. With the acquisition of Segasec, Mimecast can provide brand exploit protection, using machine learning to identify potential hackers at the earliest stages of an attack. The solution also is engineered to provide a way to actively monitor, manage, block, and take down phishing scams or impersonation attempts on the Web.
MobileIron – A long-time leader in mobile management solutions, MobileIron is widely recognized by Chief Information Security Officers, CIOs and senior management teams as the de facto standard for unified endpoint management (UEM), mobile application management (MAM), BYOD security, and zero sign-on (ZSO). The company’s UEM platform is strengthened by MobileIron Threat Defense and MobileIron’s Access solution, which allows for zero sign-on authentication. Forrester observes in their latest Wave on Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem Platform Providers, Q4 2019that “MobileIron’s recently released authenticator, which enables passwordless authentication to cloud services, is a must for future-state Zero Trust enterprises and speaks to its innovation in this space.” The Wave also illustrates that MobileIron is the most noteworthy vendor as their approach to Zero Trust begins with the device and scales across mobile infrastructures. MobileIron’s product suite also includes a federated policy engine that enables administrators to control and better command the myriad of devices and endpoints that enterprises rely on today. Forrester sees MobileIron as having excellent integration at the platform level, a key determinant of how effective they will be in providing support to enterprises pursuing Zero Trust Security strategies in the future.
One Identity – One Identity is differentiating its Identity Manager identity analytics and risk scoring capabilities with greater integration via its connected system modules. The goal of these modules is to provide customers with more flexibility in defining reports that include application-specific content. Identity Manager also has over 30 direct provisioning connectors included in the base package, with good platform coverage, including strong Microsoft and Office 365 support. Additional premium connectors are charged separately. One Identity also has a separate cloud-architected SaaS solution called One Identity Starling. One of Starling’s greatest benefits is its design that allows for it to be used not only by Identity Manager clients, but also by clients of other IGA solutions as a simplified approach to obtain SaaS-based identity analytics, risk intelligence, and cloud provisioning. One Identity and its approach is trusted by customers worldwide, where more than 7,500 organizations worldwide depend on One Identity solutions to manage more than 125 million identities, enhancing their agility and efficiency while securing access to their systems and data – on-prem, cloud, or hybrid.
SECURITI.ai – SECURITI.ai is the leader in AI-Powered PrivacyOps, that helps automate all major functions needed for privacy compliance in one place. It enables enterprises to give rights to people on their data, be responsible custodians of people’s data, comply with global privacy regulations like CCPA, and bolster their brands.
The AI-Powered PrivacyOps platform is a full-stack solution that operationalizes and simplifies privacy compliance using robotic automation and a natural language interface. These include a Personal Data Graph Builder, Robotic Automation for Data Subject Requests, Secure Data Request Portal, Consent Lifecycle Manager, Third-Party Privacy Assessment, Third-Party Privacy Ratings, Privacy Assessment Automation and Breach Management. SECURITI.ai is also featured in the Consent Management section of Bessemer’s Data Privacy Stack shown below and available in Bessemer Venture Partner’s recent publication How data privacy engineering will prevent future data oil spills (10 pp., PDF, no opt-in).
Transmit Security – The Transmit Security Platform provides a solution for managing identity across applications while maintaining security and usability. As criminal threats evolve, online authentication has become reactive and less effective. Many organizations have taken on multiple point solutions to try to stay ahead, deploying new authenticators, risk engines, and fraud tools. In the process, the customer experience has suffered. And with an increasingly complex environment, many enterprises struggle with the ability to rapidly innovate to provide customers with an omnichannel experience that enables them to stay ahead of emerging threats.