No organization is immune from cyber attacks. So it's fitting to address cyber security challenges for midsized companies since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The main message: your midsized business is a prime target for cyber attacks.
Speaking at a recent government cyber security briefing at the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association he (Bill Wright) cited Symantec's 2014 Internet Security Threat Report, noting that targeted attacks on mid-sized firms (those with 251 to 2,500 employees) and small firms (those with 250 employees and fewer) rose by 61% in 2013 from 2012 levels. (Source: Information Week)
Often midsized organizations help cyber criminals succeed in their attacks through lack of preparation and company-wide awareness. Many companies think cyber criminals only target large enterprises. This is a dangerous assumption to make. Fortunately, cyber security technology solutions are becoming more affordable for midsized organizations to empower them to fight back.
The approach companies take to cyber security is crucial for success. Organizations can no longer view digital security as a function of "wall building" and defensive maneuvers. Attacks by sophisticated cyber criminals call for proactive security processes, where enterprises continuously hunt for current and potential threats. Big data analytics have an important part to play for proactive protection initiatives that continuously get smarter for anticipating future attacks. The availability of less expensive technology for big data processing infrastructures is making a positive impact on using advanced analytics in support of cyber security.
Cyber security threats often show up as patterns that usually deviate from the expected behavior for most authorized users or for activity on particular devices and technology platforms. To identify and fight such attacks, security teams need technology that can find and analyze deviant trends. This is a natural fit for big data mining and analytics -- predictive analytics in particular.
Data that has been extracted from big data sources can be enriched with other kinds of data and information to reveal patterns and trends related to cyber attacks. Analytics now take on a forensics mission while searching through data for patterns of irregular, suspicious or unexpected activity. Organizations can now take the necessary actions to block such cyber threats and make improvements to prevent future attempts.
Big data analytics provide faster access to continuously updated information from diverse sources – speed is essential to head off many cyber attacks. These days cyber criminals move more quickly to foster attacks and digital thefts, to try to subvert current security systems and measures. Analytics and monitoring approaches have to be constantly altered and fine-tuned to anticipate such ever-changing tactics.
Often overlooked, awareness is an important weapon against cyber threats. When midsized businesses accept that these threats are ever-present and educate their staff on how to secure their data and equipment, quite a bit can be achieved. But with the growing sophistication of cyber criminals of all kinds, midsized organizations must also arm themselves with smart technologies like big data analytics to keep ahead of the continuous attacks that threaten their businesses.
Image source: uwf.edu
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective