In conversation with Nexus' CISO
Cybersecurity is always evolving, and organizations worldwide are facing an increased level of complex cyber-threats. More stringent compliance regulations and digital transformation have made information security an integral part of every business. This leaves CISOs with several challenges when it comes to ensuring their businesses are both well-protected from cyber-attacks as well as compliant with new legislation.
We’ve sat down with Nexus’ CISO, Haifa Totangy, to get her thoughts on cybersecurity.
Why is cybersecurity important for organizations to focus on?
We’re living in a more technologically advanced world than we were as recently as a decade ago. Nexus is a security software company that provides security products for sensitive organizations, and from that end, our customers and partners must be able to trust us. Through the rise in the widespread use of technology, global connectivity and usage of cloud services to store sensitive data and personal information together, there has been an increase in cybercrime and attacks. Digital economies are clearly at risk. The total malware infections and ransom attacks have been on the rise for the last ten years and now increase faster per month than it did during an entire year, 5-6 years ago.
Because of the major increase in risk and through support by new legislation such as GDPR, cybersecurity is no longer something that can be ignored in businesses of any size. All organizations need to protect their business and information from cyberattacks. In the approaching new world, protection against cybersecurity risk will be a competitive advantage. Behavior matters more than documents and cybersecurity is an integral part of the business and product process.
How can IT leaders stay up to date on the current cyber threat landscape?
- Reserve time in your calendar for learning the latest trends and best practices in cyber security
- Keep informed on the latest vulnerabilities and cyberattacks published in major sources and discuss them with your team.
- Always use modern technology from vendors, and keep it updated.
- Engage in communities to learn, as the IT Security paradigm changes faster and faster.
- Be engaged with customers and suppliers and be up to date with legislation as security regulations are frequently enhanced and can vary depending on location.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic caused more organizations to be at risk of cyber-attacks?
Yes! We have observed a spike in phishing attacks as well as spamming to mislead employees and implement attacks. Cybercrime is up 600% due to the COVID-19 pandemic*.
At Nexus, we have increased awareness within our staff. We have also started to see the nature of the threat changing, leading us to increase our defense strategy.
*Source: U.N. news, newsy, May 23, 2020
What do you think will be the biggest cybersecurity threats in 2021?
Phishing and social engineering attacks have increased rapidly over the last few years and can be the biggest threat while using new technologies. Attackers often target Active Directory and the admins to gain access to business assets. The client can also be the weakest point of attacks. IoT attacks will also continue to be a main concern for businesses when looking forward to 2021.
Cyber threats can occur at any level of an organization. Now more than ever, it’s important to have a cyber-strategy in place. Haifa has also shared best practices and easy actions that organizations can start implementing today to stand up to threats:
- Employee Awareness: At Nexus, we believe that knowledge within our staff is essential to create a security culture and to increase the cyber defense level in the organization.
- Minimize insider threats: Conduct background and ID checks for all employees to minimize insider threats. Try to involve HR in the process before giving a person an internal identity and strengthen the process even more with identity authentication and authorization.
- Remote working: Create and enforce an additional policy for remote working with strict rules to prevent potential cybercrime.
- Use multifactor authentication (MFA) and strong passwords: Protect your organization from unauthorized access by using strong authentication. In addition, the use of automation can help ensure people only have access to services which their role defines. Be sure to also define onboarding, change, and off-boarding processes.
- Backup & recovery to protect against data loss or corruption: Though this might seem like a basic security measure, it’s often forgotten. Don’t forget to back up your data and have a recovery process in place.
- Monitoring: This is a very important topic to have on your security agenda in order to follow up on the effectiveness of your organization's cyber defense. Enable continuous threat monitoring, detection and prevention. This should be a continuous task, not a once a year thought.
- Incident Management: Try to see if it is possible for faster incident handling by integrating the process into IT Service Management (ITSM) systems such as ServiceNow or Atlassian Jira ServiceDesk.
- Cybersecurity insurance: This is something that organizations of all sizes need to think about, in order to protect their business against the risk of cyberattacks.
- Think risk: Take more time for risk analysis and scenario planning to ensure your organization's incident process is natural and easy for employees to use.