Last week, over 1,000 IT security professionals watched as Kevin Johnson, CEO of Secure Ideas, presented his expert opinion on lessons learned from recent, high-profile retail breaches. Here’s a summary of key takeaways from the webcast plus an on-demand recording of the full, 60-minute presentation.
Understanding the “why” behind attacks
According to Kevin, the primary problem is that security administrators often struggle to understand the why behind an attack. While security teams work tirelessly to prevent the attacks they can brainstorm, it only takes one attacker and one idea to slip through the cracks.
Here’s a look at just three types of susceptibility discussed in the Webcast:
- Lack of network segmentation. When your networks are fully connected, attackers need to only find one opening to access everything. Instead, segment your network into logical segments that will allow all the traffic, but also monitor it.
- Trusted third-party access. Third parties are critical to IT, as important functions are outsourced to trusted third parties at greater numbers. Unfortunately, this opens up a bevy of less-secure applications through which attackers can access your network.
- Client-side attacks. Workstations are smaller targets that are valuable for their access. They’re connected to the network and run tons of different programs, making patching (especially with client software and agents) more difficult. The locked down servers are often not the target – the less monitored, weaker workstations are.
Applying security to the real world
In the real world, there are no certain answers. Even after major security breaches like those with Target, Neiman Marcus, and Macy’s, security professionals still don’t actually know what happens – and the final report may never come.
Throughout the webcast, Johnson shares real-life examples that show that the world’s strongest password won’t save your data if you don’t understand what you’re protecting against. If you cannot understand the possible attacks, there’s no way to prevent them.
Each industry can fall victim to its own unique set of threats – data loss, incident response, fines, data, and system recovering, or damage to your reputation. It’s difficult to say what may or may not attack your company at a given time – but monitoring and auditing your systems will provide a flexible defense. Being aware of your exposure is the first step forward.