How SMEs can keep ahead of cyber attacks

When it comes to IT security, many organisations suffer because they cannot stop what they can’t see.

Recently we have seen an increase in the number of offensive capabilities surfacing. The now widespread availability of ‘DIY’ malware kits to the casual attacker and the improvement in automated hacking tools, combined with advanced social engineering techniques such as phishing – all make attacks harder to detect.

The rapid development of methodologies and frameworks have increased the speed with which these tools are created and updated. As the commercial opportunities in IT security have expanded, so has the knowledge and information.

According to the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, breaches caused by malware, external hacking and social engineering techniques are skyrocketing, and insider espionage, targeting internal data and trade secrets are all on the rise. It’s no surprise these trends have made defending the corporate network’s front-line increasingly challenging for IT pros in businesses of all sizes.

There is substantial pressure on the IT department to keep up with the evolving nature of attacks, which can be costly and drain resources. The growing prevalence of advanced hacking tools, and sophisticated attack techniques, coupled with the pressure to meet regulatory compliance and protect the corporate network from attack, is driving a demand for stronger security practices across all organisations.

Resource-constrained IT pros don’t always have access to the tools that they need to protect the networks and secure applications, yet, it’s critical they’re able to detect advanced attacks and stop them in their tracks, regardless of size of business. A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution is a cost-effective way to simplify security management, helping provide automation, relief and strong situational awareness. Although many IT Pros would utilise SIEM for mandatory compliance regulations, they may not be using it to its full advantage. As such, it is important to look beyond the regulatory requirements to ensure optimised performance across the business.

With the help of a good set of log management, search and reporting facilities and event correlation, IT pros have the ability to collect large volumes of data from virtually any device on a network. They are then in the advantageous position of being able to correlate the data in to actionable information, in real-time. This will simplify IT troubleshooting through real-time incident response and effective forensics.

Crucially, by proactively monitoring threats as they emerge, IT pros can streamline and tackle issues in a more cost-efficient and timely manner. In an increasingly changeable working environment, harnessing the right security tools to protect the core business and protect the end-point allows IT Pros to make the case to the wider business for continued investment in IT security.

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