Why Your Organization Probably Isn’t Protected Against Today’s Security Threats

November 29, 2022

7 Layers of Cybersecurity Every Business Should Know About for Comprehensive Protection

The adoption of cloud infrastructure and applications has become essential to running a remote hybrid workplace. Data security, scalability, availability and mobility are no longer “a nice to have” but “a need to have.” By the end of 2022 alone, it’s been predicted that public cloud services will grow to reach a record $420B. This massive increase motivates cybercriminals to target organizations operating in a cloud environment. And because so many businesses moved to the cloud as quickly as possible during the pandemic, many of the services may not have been configured properly and lack the security measures to protect their users and operations, leaving them vulnerable to bad actors.

With the widespread adoption of moving infrastructure and services to the cloud, together with the huge rise in remote working during these last few years, it’s no surprise that security and IT teams across every industry are struggling to secure critical assets, data and communications between connected users. Meanwhile, the chances of being attacked – and proprietary and sensitive information being hacked – have also skyrocketed.

Security incidents have mushroomed across every industry

As you may have already noted from news headlines, an especially troublesome threat is ransomware. According to IDC’s “2021 Ransomware Study,” approximately 37 percent of global organizations said they were the victims of a ransomware attack in 2021. In the U.S., the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 2,084 ransomware complaints from January through July of 2021 – a 62 percent year-over-year increase. And according to Statista, there were 623.3 million ransomware attacks worldwide in 2021. These attacks affected a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to healthcare to government organizations.

Today’s anti-virus security and firewalls simply don’t provide enough protection anymore. The data platform company Splunk reports that 78 percent of security and IT leaders say that remote workers are harder to secure, and 68 percent have reported an increase in attacks during the pandemic. This is partly due to the sheer number of different devices people are using to get work done from widespread locations. These devices have significantly increased the number of potential entry points for malicious actors to compromise a business, whether by stealing data or disrupting its operations.

At the same time, remote working has created a massive increase in mobile device use, and switching between laptops, tablets and smartphones is common. Using public Wi-Fi networks and remote collaboration tools ups the ante even more with a range of possibilities. These include specialized spyware on encrypted messaging apps, the exploitation of security vulnerabilities within Android devices, and mobile malware that can result in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to spam and data theft. In this age of accelerated digital transformation, cybercriminals are always looking for ways to target and cause harm to individual users as well as entire organizations. As Gartner points out in an April 2022 article, the top trend in cybersecurity now is the expansion of what is called the “attack surface” – the constantly expanding digital footprint of today’s organizations.

The upsides (and downsides) of cloud migration

While moving to the cloud offers many benefits – scalability, efficiency and cost among them – cloud services have become a prime target for attacks. Misconfigured cloud settings are often behind the data breaches we’ve all heard about in the news. These misconfigurations, whether due to speed or lack of expertise, leaves organizations open to unauthorized access, interfaces that aren’t secure and account hijacking.

With the average cost of a data breach now $3.86M, it pays to stay on top of security trends to help keep your organization secure. Public cloud offerings, such as Microsoft Azure, provide a multi-tenant solution that is ideal for dev-centric cloud-based applications, while private cloud provides reliable bandwidth and full control of the cloud environment. Every dollar counts, so how do you know you’ve chosen the right one that will keep your business secured and protected? Cloud migration doesn’t have to be confusing but understanding your unique business needs and challenges will be important to fully assess before choosing the right cloud solution.

Without a comprehensive and layered approach to your organization’s digital security, you are quite simply counting on luck not to be hacked or have your data held for ransom – either of which causes work disruption, downtime, extensive costs and loss of reputation among your customers.

Stack up your cybersecurity measures

Cybersecurity is never one piece of technology, software or firewall. There is no “silver bullet” to ensure you are 100% protected.

When IT people talk about your “security stack,” they’re referring to the layers of security that are necessary to protect your operations as much as is humanly possible – hence the reason to stay on top of security patches when they’re needed. According to MicroAge, Canada’s leading network of independently owned IT solutions and service providers, there are generally seven layers of cybersecurity that work as a layered approach for comprehensive protection:

  1. Critical asset security – This is the data that’s essential to protect because it’s part of your organization’s mission and primary operations. Two examples: electronic medical records (EMR) software for a healthcare organization, or customers’ financial records for a bank.
  2. Data security – Security controls are necessary to protect the transfer and storage of your organization’s data. These must also include putting backup security measures in place to safeguard your data in the event of any loss. To make sure this data is secure, you must also use encryption and data archiving. Any data breach can have disastrous and expensive consequences. And for many industries, there are specific security requirements to meet to maintain compliance regulations.
  3. Endpoint security – As mentioned above, this includes protection for all desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Depending on your needs and whether you’re working in the cloud, you need endpoint security for your networks and for applications you use in the cloud.
  4. Application security – These security features control access to an application and the access to your other information assets via that application, including the app’s internal security. In most cases, applications are designed with security measures that protect the app when it’s in use.
  5. Network security – This involves security controls to protect your business’s network, with the goal of preventing unauthorized access to the network. It’s important to regularly update all the systems on your network with any necessary security patches, including encryption. And if you have any unused interfaces, be sure to disable them to protect against threats.
  6. Perimeter security – Here’s the security layer that protects the physical and digital business, including things like firewalls that help to guard against external threats.
  7. Finally, the human layer – This layer refers to processes such as implementing two-factor authentication, systematic and required password changes among users and other prescribed actions that incorporate management and permission controls. It’s surprisingly common to read about a single user unwittingly causing a major hack or falling for an email or SMS phishing scam, which is why the human layer is frequently called the weakest link in a security chain. But these essential user controls help protect against the very real threat that humans – whether inside your business or outside of it – present to a business.

Security relies on continuous improvements in technology, processes and people

A layered security approach is not a one-and-done execution for any organization. It’s a gradual process that begins with a security analysis that involves evaluating and documenting the number of devices, systems and firewalls you’re currently using, then adding security measures where they’re needed. And because new threats constantly appear, it’s essential to keep your security systems and processes up to date. This means that a well-protected company regularly tests its security measures to make sure they work and takes steps to bolster them as needed.

Being proactive is the key. Your company culture must embrace the importance of security and protecting data, which means educating your staff about cybersecurity.  It also means having backup systems in place and a solid incident response plan that allows you to remedy any weaknesses, whether these happen in your offices, among your remote workers or in the cloud.

At Konica Minolta, we believe a stringent security program is a must to ensure the safety and integrity of your data. We understand the challenges that make it tough to put security services in place, such as a lack of resources, conflicts about departmental needs and all the demands of managing daily operations. Our security experts can help you go from reactive to proactive with your cybersecurity protection to mitigate your risks in a world where work has changed dramatically – and so have the opportunities for criminals to attack your business.

Find out more about our cybersecurity services here.

Anthony Garofalo
National Sales Manager for Cloud Services, All Covered