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TAP Into Technology

Leading the Way in Network Technology

Key Tools and Tips for Successfully Identifying Security Breaches

Posted by Chris Bihary | 5/10/18 8:00 AM

When a company is breached, every second counts in the race to mitigate damages.  But most aren’t prepared – today it takes most companies more than 200 days to even detect a breach in the first place.

Data breaches have finally slowed down this year – but the numbers are still frightening.  2017 saw more than 1290 data breaches, compromising 174 million records. This year looks more promising with only 250 incidents that were reported through the end of March, which resulted in approximately 5.4 million compromised records.  

While this is down from 2017 findings, it’s clear that there is a lot of room for improvement.

Common Tools for Preventing a Data Breach

In the face of such wide spread cybercrime and the ever evolving threat matrix, companies need every weapon they can afford.  Consider the following when you’re building a defensive strategy: 

  • Next-gen firewalls: Today’s firewall technology goes far beyond the typical functions of a network barrier. With the addition of intrusion prevention, application awareness, deep packet inspection and SSL, organizations can be better prepared for the latest waves of cyber threats.
  • Advanced threat protection: Traditionally, reactive cyber security solutions don’t always ensure early detection. With advanced threat protection, organizations can move beyond known threats to quickly and efficiently identify next-gen attack types.

    Download the Protecting the Data eBook
  • Data leakage prevention: With the rise of cloud technology, more and more files are being stored off-premises and are more vulnerable than ever before. DLP software lets security professionals establish rules for accessing sensitive information, keeping unauthorized users from sharing data maliciously.
  • Forensics: One of the biggest reasons that companies take so long to detect breaches is the fact that very few have the ability to thoroughly investigate issues once they suspect that there is a problem. That’s why it’s so important to have a forensic solution that lets you quickly go back and investigate whether an anomaly detected by a firewall or ATP solution was a real threat or just a chance aberration.  With a forensic system in place, organizations can investigate and analyze evidence from any compromised IT system to determine the exact chain of events in the event that malicious activity is detected.  More importantly, it gives companies empirical evidence that they can use in court and with the Board should any issue occur.   

Recognizing the Early Warning Signs

Unfortunately, technology alone isn’t enough to successfully identify security breaches. While most attacks are credited to criminal ingenuity, it’s often human insight that can make all the difference in speeding the time it takes to detect a data breach. Security teams need to start educating everyone involved in monitoring network traffic on the early warning signs of a data breach.  In this day and age, why wouldn’t you want everyone on high alert? 

Here’s a few conditions to look out for on a daily basis:

  • First, know your baseline traffic to determine what is not normal
  • Presence of unknown/unauthorized IP addresses on wireless networks
  • Multiple failed login attempts for system authentication and event logs
  • Suspicious activity on the network after-hours
  • Unexplained system reboots or shutdowns
  • Services and applications configured to launch automatically without authorization

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of what network and security professionals should keep an eye on, it will help organizations become more proactive about their cyber security efforts. If you want to be the exception to the 200+ day time to detection average, you cannot just rely on technology to keep you safe.

Implementing a vigilant set of security protocol and network monitoring scenarios is the best way to ensure that hackers do not remain undetected in your network for any extended period of time.

[Want to get more information on how to protect your data from a cyber attack? Download the free whitepaper on Protecting the Data: 5 Tools to Fight Against Today's Threats.]

Topics: Network Security, Hacks and Data Breaches

Written by Chris Bihary

Chris Bihary has been in the network performance industry for over 20 years. Bihary has established collaborative partnerships with technology companies to complement product performance through the integration of network test access points. Previously, Bihary was Managing Partner at Network Critical.