Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

4/12/2017
10:30 AM
Justin Somaini
Justin Somaini
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

How Innovative Companies Lock Down Data

A mix of back-to-basics security and a set of new, data-centric best practices is key to defending against a future of growing and sophisticated cyberattacks.

In digital businesses, data is the fuel driving companies toward new business models and better business outcomes. Data plays both offense and defense at these companies, keeping them ahead of their competitors. No longer a bench warmer, data’s profile of high value, large volume, and vulnerability quotient is getting the attention of hackers like never before. These three components are at the root of why cyberattacks on business assets are becoming more sophisticated and more frequent.

Data holds incredible value—both for digital businesses and for hackers. McKinsey & Co. reported a $2.8 trillion GDP increase from data flows in 2014 as more trade and commerce shifts to online business models. According to the analysts, data flows of information, communication, transactions, and intracompany traffic is surging, and virtually every type of cross-border transactions has a digital component.  

The pace of data creation also impacts digital businesses. The combination of mobile data, Internet of Things data, and Big Data has created a very large and attractive data footprint for hackers. In fact, storage manufacturers are expected to ship 521,000 PB of enterprise storage capacity by 2020 to keep up with the rising volume of data.

And just as data value and the volume increases, so does its vulnerability. Digital businesses store data across hybrid infrastructures—on premise, in the cloud, and on endpoints. Each of these comes with risks, especially with the influx of mobile devices and the fast approaching IoT devices. Hackers view these endpoints as vulnerable and an easy entryway to business and personal data. Not surprisingly, they have already been testing the waters.

Attacks have become increasingly more sophisticated and persistent. In 2015, 65% of companies experienced a targeted attack and an average of 1.9 million records was breached every day. The increase of attacks is easily correlated back to the increase in the value of data, the volume of data and the vulnerability of endpoints.

[Check out the two-day Dark Reading Cybersecurity Crash Course at Interop ITX, May 15 & 16, where Dark Reading editors and some of the industry's top cybersecurity experts will share the latest data security trends and best practices.]

For digital businesses, the threat watch is real and the calls to protect data are coming from throughout the company. Conversations have changed from being a “bottom up” conversation to a “top down” one within organizations. Executive management is talking about security in terms of business impact—not technology. Something else that is unique in these businesses is that the individuals voicing concerns about security threats are not solely from the IT side of the company, they are also being voiced by the business side. CEOs and chief data officers want a security strategy that protects their brand and reputation. CFOs want protection from spear phishing. CMOs and HR managers are asking about multi-factor authentication and encryption. Security is as much a business discussion as it is a technical conversation.

A Mix of Old and New
Companies that are carving out a niche as digital leaders are finding the best approach to securing their business assets is to revisit proven security practices and throw in a set of new best practices born out of the current emphasis on data. The network perimeter still needs strong protection, but digital companies realize that mobile devices and IoT devices perpetually create holes in that very expensive wall as they connect to the Internet. With that in mind, security needs to move closer to the business apps, and in them.

Other security basics are also getting dusted off. Security teams are renewing efforts to prevent default passwords, weak encryption protocols, incorrect authorizations, and disabled whitelists, which are still common weaknesses that open businesses to successful exploits. On top of these steps, digital businesses are taking this back-to-basics approach to protect their business apps:

  • Ensuring that a consistent and regular process is in place for patches and updates. Unpatched software poses the highest serious security risk for businesses.
  • Encrypting communications between business systems with SSL/TLS and SNC.
  • Checking the interfaces to business systems to see if they are adequately secured.
  • Revisiting data backup plans and disaster recovery strategies.
  • Reviewing the business systems platform’s security configurations.  

There’s no new news here. These are fundamental to practicing good security, but still too many companies ignore them. A return to these basics is essential for companies going digital because in the next phase more processes will be automated, more services cloud-based, and more devices will be connected. Companies will need to add in these digital best practices to continue their transformation:  

  • Identify and prevent attacks from within the apps
  • Protect data with an all-encompassing strategy that covers the cloud, on premise, and mobile devices
  • Apply 360-degree correlation analytics across the network, endpoints, application, and data
  • Accelerate threat detection with real-time incident response and forensics to limit threat impact
  • Respond to threats in an adaptive manner with deep-learning powered cybersecurity analytics

Security Cornerstones: Products, Operations and Culture
To secure products, security must be incorporated into the applications, delivering the ultimate protection of content and transactions. Secure operations meets the security principles of “Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability,” providing a comprehensive end-to-end cloud and IT operations security framework. To create a secure company also means nurturing a well-established security culture and a secure environment with end-to-end physical security of business assets and business continuity for operational resilience, including employee training programs that teach everyone in the company about the latest threats and how to avoid them.

During the next few years companies will embrace new technologies such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and cognitive intelligence to keep their business assets secure. Companies that combine these future-oriented tools with tried-and-true best practices of the past will have the security they need to be a data-centric, automated digital business. 

Related Content:

 

Justin Somaini joined SAP from cloud provider Box, where he was chief trust officer, having previously held a number of senior positions at both Yahoo and Symantec, and has accrued more than 20 years' professional experience in the IT security sector. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...