Digital Transformation Requires a New Kind of Castle

Digital Transformation Requires a New Kind of Castle

Why don’t we build castles anymore? The answer, of course, is that we do—they just look a lot different. In fact, thinking about how and why castles have evolved can tell us a lot about how we can improve our approach to securing the enterprise “kingdom.”

The first medieval castles were a lot like first-generation enterprise networks: giant walls surrounding centralized assets. Nearly all the value of the kingdom could be held within the walls (data, productivity, etc.). A single drawbridge (the firewall) was connected to the outside world. Turrets gave better visibility to threats coming from the outside. It was a simpler time: With most value contained within the walls and little need to connect outside, it was much easier to build up a hardy perimeter. But these castles were also big targets, with a huge attack surface and lot of value to be taken. Moreover, there was little in the way of internal security. If attackers breached the perimeter, they had their run of the kingdom.

Gunpowder changed everything

Then someone came along and invented gunpowder. Firepower is a lot like malware, ransomware and social engineering tactics. Suddenly you can shoot over castle walls or even through walls. The response in medieval times was to build more walls—to create castles within castles. We did the same in the digital enterprise world, adding VLANs, secondary firewalls, app-specific encryption and other “walls” around specific internal assets.

That’s where most organizations are today – still structured around the idea of the secure perimeter. We secure the thing that holds the value—the network, the server, the app, the endpoint device—but not the value itself (the data). We hone our sights on external threats, missing the threats that are already inside the castle walls.

The digital castles of tomorrow

It’s increasingly clear that a perimeter-based approach doesn’t suit the modern kingdom. You’re never going to completely stop all breaches, and tougher walls will end up locking your own people out and stifling value creation. So, what does a forward-thinking data security strategy look like? Here are four key features we’ll see in the digital enterprise “castles” of tomorrow:

  • There will be perimeter—but it will be porous. There will always be boundaries, but we’ll only rely on the perimeter to stop the most obvious and basic attacks—and we’ll ensure it doesn’t thwart our users’ productivity.
  • Smaller targets—less attack surface. Data security strategies will start at the most granular level which is at the user’s endpoint device. By making the targets small and many, it makes it more expensive (and less fruitful) to attack them.
  • Turrets that look inward. As threats increasingly come from within, we’ll turn our lookout towers around. We’ll use data visibility tools to see where our data lives and when it moves, and get better at recognizing when something doesn’t look right.
  • Securing the value itself. Instead of securing the thing that holds the value, we’ll secure the value (the data) itself. That means finding ways to ensure that attackers can’t actually remove data, and/or that the enterprise never truly loses that data (and all its value).

To close out our medieval castle analogy, the next-generation digital “kingdom” won’t have giant walls to protect our gold. We’ll use data visibility tools to know the second a gold coin moves somewhere it shouldn’t, and we’ll use data recovery tools to ensure we can always yank that gold coin back, no matter where someone tries to take it.

Forrester’s Mitigating Insider Threats: The Security Playbook

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The C-Suite: Your Company’s Greatest IT Risk

In the era of headline-grabbing ransomware attacks and lawsuits over stolen trade secrets, cybersecurity is more important than ever. According to our recent CTRL-Z Study, a pan-global report looking into the data practices of some of the world’s largest organizations and most senior stakeholders, 42 percent of those surveyed believe that losing all data on their corporate endpoints would destroy their business. With such importance placed on keeping endpoint data secure, you would assume that the C-suite would lead by example and practice safe “data hygiene” practices, right?

Well, that assumption is all wrong.

Three quarters (75 percent) of CEOs and more than half (52 percent) of business decision makers admit that they use applications or programs that are not approved by their IT department. The vast majority (80 percent) of CEOs and 65 percent of BDMs also say they use these unauthorized solutions to ensure productivity. This is despite 91 percent of CEOs and 83 percent of BDMs acknowledging that their behaviors could be considered a security risk to their organization.

What does this mean for your organization? Get the full picture of how C-suite actions could affect your organization in the infographic below.

The C-Suite: Your Company’s Greatest IT Risk

CTRL-Z and the Changing Data Landscape

The massive “WannaCry” ransomware attack that appeared in Europe last week and spread to over 150 countries is a perfect illustration of why enterprise data storage is in a period of flux. Today, organizations can choose to keep their data in the cloud, on-premise, or across both in a hybrid deployment. This variety of choice is great – it caters to pretty much every type of organization and allows IT decision makers to see where sensitive corporate information is at all times—right?

Wrong.

In 2017, 50 percent of all corporate data is actually held locally, at the endpoint, on employee devices. This is according to 800 IT decision makers (ITDMs) and 400 business decision makers (BDMs) surveyed as part of our brand new CTRL-Z Study, a pan-global report looking into the data practices of some of the world’s largest organizations and most senior stakeholders—including the C-suite—across the U.S., U.K., and Germany. The endpoint is also where 78 percent of ransomware attacks begin, and WannaCry has reportedly spread to over 100,000 organizations so far.

When ‘benefits’ outweigh the risks

The serious security implications and risks to productivity that this shift in data repositories represents are well understood at the top of the organization, with 65 percent of CIOs and 63 percent of CEOs stating that losing all the data held at the endpoint would destroy their business. But, in reality, awareness of the risk is doing little to dissuade poor security practices.

Three quarters (75 percent) of CEOs and more than half (52 percent) of business decision makers admit that they use applications/programs that are not approved by their IT department. The vast majority (80 percent) of CEOs and 65 percent of BDMs also say they use these unauthorized solutions to ensure productivity. This is despite 91 percent of CEOs and 83 percent of BDMs acknowledging that their behaviors could be considered a security risk to their organization.

So, to put it bluntly, there’s behavior at the top of numerous enterprises that favors productivity and getting the job done over data security, and CEOs and key BDMs realize this. Therefore, especially in light of coordinated global cyberattacks, the big question is: “Where does the enterprise go from here?”

Recovery is the key to data security

Productivity is undoubtedly the key to business success. At the same time, it is integral to business continuity to protect data and to be able to rapidly recover from a breach or to undo a ransomware infection. Around 50 percent of respondents to the CTRL-Z study admitted that their organization had suffered a data breach in the last 18 months. As evidenced by these numbers, the days of a ‘prevention only’ approach to security is not sufficient. Tried and tested recovery must now be at the core of enterprise data protection strategy—to get employees back up and running quickly should a breach occur. After all, the biggest cost of a ransomware attack isn’t the ransom payment—it’s the lost productivity that can result from not having the right backup and restore solution in place.

When it comes to security, there are three pillars to ensure success. First, organizations must be able to spot risk sooner. Gaining visibility over where data is, how it moves, who accesses it and when could act as an early warning system to alert ITDMs to both insider and external threats. Second, the enterprise as a whole always needs to be able to bounce back. When a data incident occurs, internal teams and the backup solutions in place need to be tested and ready to face the challenge. Finally, if the organization is to remain competitive, it needs to recover quickly. Time is money, and in the modern enterprise, so is data. Whatever goes wrong, whether that be a company-wide breach or an insider leaking a single file, IT professionals need to be able to identify the where, when and who of the situation immediately if they hope to mitigate the risk.

Now is definitely the time for change, and the enterprises that want to remain competitive are starting to act. As many organizations around the world have learned in recent days, it’s not if you will be hit by a cyberattack, but when. IT security visionaries and leaders must step forward and turn their business into a CTRL-Z organization with Code42.

See how you can become a CTRL-Z organization by downloading the report here.

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