This post is by Dwayne Ruffin, Chief Market Development Executive at CSG Invotas.
One of my colleagues likes to say that cybersecurity starts at the top. That is to say, security is not just a challenge for IT teams alone. A cyber attack is an attack on an organisation’s reputation, its relationship with consumers, and its revenue. We all know that consumer trust builds over time but can be wiped out in an instant and take a lifetime to rebuild.
Let’s face it, high-profile data breaches make front page news regularly these days, and the more we read about cyber attacks, the more we recognise the responsibility organisations have to protect the customer data in their systems.
But that protection is far easier said than done. The popularity of 4G LTE technology has greatly expanded the opportunities for cyber attacks and the need for improved security strategies across the board—a need further complicated by the exponential extension of the digital ecosystem through increased mobile device use. More and more payment information and other sensitive data are shared with organisations of all kinds, which leaves more and more points of contact at risk and in need of defence.
Attacks on telecommunications providers in particular are attractive to cyber criminals because of the extensive networks providers support and the incredible amounts of data volume that travel across them. Telecom providers, like other organisations, are faced with ever more difficult challenges in order to manage the number and sophistication of evolving threats. Once we factor in the growth in popularity of services delivered over 4G LTE, we find a big push by telecom providers to handle sensitive information more securely.
What keeps me—and everyone else on my team—awake in the middle of the night is how to speed the remediation of security threats and protect our clients and their customers from the protracted damage caused by cyber attacks. It is now possible to defend organisations at machine speed by orchestrating responses to security incidents in real time or near-real time by automating as many basic, repeatable, or repetitive actions as possible. Automating security responses enables telecommunications providers to utilise security resources more strategically, and given the widespread shortage of skilled staff and the complexity of the technology they support, it’s a strategy that applies to any critical infrastructure in any industry.
As systems that house consumer information continue to expand to accommodate increasing consumer data traffic, threats and breaches will also continue to expand—and even outpace—consumer use. Unfortunately, no matter how much security is integrated into the digital environment, some threats will inevitably break through. The goal is to proactively integrate orchestrated threat responses to close the attack window quickly and minimise damage, while preserving data integrity, consumer privacy, brand reputation, and company revenue.
Telecom providers can take this approach a step further by ensuring that their executive teams and boards of directors understand the grave effects cyber crime can have on their businesses. With that understanding should come the will and the resources to create an enterprise-wide security plan and automated threat response strategy. Such a strategy can form the foundation of a programme that looks at the big picture and supports guidelines for all of the people, technologies, and processes throughout an organisation. It also can assure both leadership teams and end users that we are prepared for the inevitable attack. And that means we can all sleep a little better at night.
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