Rethinking IT Security from the Ground Up

Hackers aren’t getting any slower, and outdated infrastructures aren’t becoming more secure. To remain protected and fight back against malicious cyberattacks, we must rethink IT security as we know it. In this post, we’ll look at four aspects of cybersecurity that I believe we need to reevaluate.

What Next-Gen Security Looks Like

The crux of excellent cybersecurity is that it must constantly evolve to match the skills and strength of attackers. Cybercriminals are only getting faster and more powerful with time, so organizations’ cybersecurity systems need to do the same.

Traditionally, the problem with this has been that a team of IT professionals can’t implement meaningful changes fast enough to successfully deter hackers. And, even if they can, doing so will often take up an unnecessary amount of the company’s funds and resources. However, as the next generation of cybersecurity becomes a reality, such issues can become a thing of the past.

After all, hackers have created a high degree of automation in their tools, which allows them to attack multiple entities at the same time, carry out attacks at a rapid pace and, ultimately, drive more profit.

So, to adequately defend ourselves, we as companies must be able to respond at that same speed. In the next evolution of security, people will be able to use automated products to understand what new security measures are going to do and run scenarios to determine if those measures will negatively affect their business, all in the span of a few seconds rather than a few days.

In short, rapid automation is the future of cybersecurity.

Prevent, Don’t Pursue

With reports of devastating cyber-attacks surfacing on a regular basis, it can be tempting to believe that hackers are simply too fast, advanced and stealthy to be stopped. Because of this, some members of our industry think we should focus on finding attackers rather than preventing attacks in the first place.

However, doing so would be a critical mistake. That’s a loser’s strategy.

There are actions we should be taking, and technology we should be changing about our infrastructure that are probably less difficult than trying to find the adversary after they’ve broken in. It’s time to think about re-platforming certain parts of our environment to be more secure, so we don’t have to give up.

Effective cybersecurity isn’t about hunting down attackers. It’s about stopping them from infiltrating at all. To do that, we must reinforce our infrastructure from the inside out.

Secure by Design

Of all the many important aspects of your data center, from storage capacity to speed, security is arguably the most critical. That’s why you should design your infrastructure with security in mind. Doing so will result in security that’s delivered both invisibly and seamlessly.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to re-platform your whole environment, although for small organizations that may be a viable and perhaps preferred option.

What it does mean is that it’s worth considering re-platforming specific infrastructure within your environment for the sake of radically improving your organization’s security.

You don’t start with the whole data center. You start with the critical applications that matter, such as the applications that manage the data center or directly communicate with the outside world. Our system essentially builds security into the fabric of the environment where you run your applications.

If you have any doubts about the security of your current environment, just remember that nothing is foolproof. I often say, “Never tell a hacker they can’t do something, because they will prove you wrong.”

Thinking Ahead

The security of our infrastructure should be a top priority, not a last-minute consideration. However, that usually isn’t the case.

Throughout the course of our industry’s history, we’ve always bolted security onto the infrastructure that we’re using after the fact.

We rarely think about it beforehand and build it into a new platform.

Sadly, we continue to make this mistake with new platforms, even though we’ve seen time and again that security is much more effective when it’s designed into the architecture rather than a bolt-on afterthought. Every time we roll out a new platform, be it laptops, tablets, smartphones or the internet of things, the developers focus on the feature functionality, but in doing so, they forget to focus on how the platform is actually going to be used — or more importantly, misused.

Until implementing security on an architectural level becomes an industry norm, it’s up to the rest of us to try to solve the problem by building security into the infrastructure rather than treating it as a tacked-on accessory.

When it comes down to it, the future of cybersecurity has the potential to be bright, but it depends on what we do next as an industry. Do we embrace automation, focus on prevention and think proactively, or do we sit back and wait until the next attack?

The choice is ours.

If you liked this article then check out the Skyport Blog for more about the hybrid enterprise and cybersecurity.

About The Author

Art Gilliland is the CEO of Skyport Systems and a 15 year veteran of the security industry. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.