Cybersecurity is essential for companies of every size. Large enterprises, understandably, have far more opportunity for risk and vulnerabilities in their environment than SMBs purely based on their size – and the successful blocking of cyber threats hinges on constant attention to a broad range of operational activities.
It’s not enough to simply have tools in place. If you own or manage a large enterprise, there are several issues that need to be actively addressed and consistently managed in order to protect your company, employees, customers and vendors from the growing number of cyberattacks. Learn more about a few top cybersecurity risks:
Vulnerabilities in the Supply Chain
It’s not enough to secure just your own network from cyber threats—confirming that your vendors’ networks are secure is equally critical. Third-party vendors play a key role in most large enterprises.
From upstream material providers to operational subcontractors and downstream distributors, the number and variety of essential partners can run the gamut, and the larger the enterprise, the greater the level of vendor engagement. Focusing on vendor security should include everything from detailed questionnaires about their operation, infrastructure and practices to onsite visits, technical analyses of their networks, and contractual agreements regarding your expectations and requirements for their cybersecurity practices.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Enterprises continually acquire new companies and often adopt disparate infrastructures and technologies that have potentially been mismanaged or unmanaged when it comes to cybersecurity. While mergers and acquisitions can make it difficult to standardize security practices, the reality is that it’s not optional. Rigorous security vetting must be part of every M&A process. When evaluating the security program of potential acquisitions, companies should review in detail their cybersecurity documentation and implemented policies and procedures. It’s important to note whether they’ve gone through their own certification process and/or whether they’ve been validated by a third party.
Cloud Configuration and Management
There are many advantages to cloud computing but transitioning a legacy infrastructure to the cloud can pose risks for a large enterprise with massive amounts of data. While security measures exist in the cloud, the majority of security technologies used for monitoring on-premise infrastructures do not easily transfer into cloud environments, and the lack of proper expertise in configuring a cloud environment can create bigger issues.
Compounding that is the reality of ongoing “data sprawl” within an enterprise cloud. While the beauty of cloud is its infinite expandability, the downside is that once established, DevOps teams can easily and quickly deploy IT assets without the knowledge or oversight of SecOps. This potentially creates a gateway for threat actors to gain access to cloud data, and from there, attack a legacy infrastructure.
An individual operating system (OS) or application can acquire countless new vulnerabilities over time, each of which needs to be “patched.” If you think an OS upgrade every few years has you covered, think again. The truth is, unpatched software is the top reason systems are exploited; in fact, 5,000 to 6,000 new vulnerabilities surface each year – equating to an average of 15 per day. Unfortunately, patching inevitably causes operational interruptions, a percentage of which can be serious especially within a large enterprise.
In addition, nearly every program has a different frequency and patching method, seriously complicating overall management. When IT assets are managed by an outside vendor, patching schedules are often dictated by a service level agreement versus a proactive security posture. Additionally, some software and devices simply can’t be patched, instead, requiring the aforementioned OS upgrade from the manufacturer. Despite the risks, administrators and users often disable or ignore auto-update alerts to avoid service interruptions or other negative consequences.
Lack of Security Talent
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the shortfall in the cybersecurity workforce will grow a full 30 percent by 2019 to 1.5 million qualified professionals. It’s an increasing issue for large companies trying to stay ahead of the expanding cyber threat universe – especially for those that are growing in size or expanding their footprint. Ideally, enterprise organizations should have at least a few security talent on staff, amplified by an outside managed security service provider.
Lack of Security Awareness Training
The more people connected to a network, the more opportunities there are for security mistakes and network breaches. In an enterprise, as in life and sports, the best defense is a good offense – in this case assertive and ongoing cybersecurity training. Of course, access controls are a key component of network safeguarding, but something as simple as a mouse click on an innocent-looking email link can wreak havoc on an enterprise and its entire infrastructure.
One-time, onboarding training is not enough. As companies grow and expand, it’s important to continually remind employees of common threats, alert them to new ones that are emerging and educate them on what to do if they spot something suspicious in their IT activities.
So What’s the Solution?
There are a multitude of cybersecurity risks impacting enterprises on a daily basis, but fortunately, there are solutions. Look for details on how to mitigate your risks in each of these areas in our next blog! We’ll be sharing insights and best practices that you can integrate into your enterprise operation to help keep the cybersecurity fallout at bay.