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Infrastructure Security Critical as Corporate Hacks Continue to Rise – Report

With the advent of artificial intelligence and cloud computing technologies in our online world, the number of pain points and vulnerabilities to this digital system has also increased. Moving all our applications to the cloud has increased the risk of data breaches. If only a single device were vulnerable to the hack by malicious content, now one device can be the chink in the armor for a well-crafted cloud-based service.

Recent reports by established journals and consulting companies have put down some significant trends for us to follow in cybersecurity. The onus is on organizations to look ahead and perceive cybersecurity threats instead of acting reactively. A proactive approach is the need of the hour as more and more businesses switch to cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The sophistication of hackers has also increased considerably as the need to sure up our online defenses grow. 

Increased investment is critical to stemming this parade of hacking incidents in corporate entities. However, before investing, corporates should know where and how to invest in making serious inroads into cybersecurity instead of performing patchwork. In the following few sections, we shall look at some of the most pressing concerns related to cybersecurity these days. These include the ever-increasing demand for ubiquitous data, AI-enabled hacking systems, and gaps in regulatory frameworks.

The Need for High-Speed Ubiquitous Datasets

With the current trends of working remotely and the era of e-commerce, the need for large datasets available online has increased. This increase marks the shift to an increased vulnerability by the cybersecurity system as the pain points continue to grow due to a cloud computing system. The cloud computing environment is the way to proceed in this day and age, but exposure to cybersecurity systems is increased manifold. 

A business report highlights the potential for cloud-based services around the $180 Billion mark by 2026, which is astounding. The need for data to influence buyers’ decisions has made buyers value this data to the point that data collection and provision have become a business itself. 

This need for data and storage makes for an intriguing new setup requiring top-of-the-line latest technologies. These latest technologies come at a price but also do things differently. The new systems based on a dedicated web-service provider’s platform are more agile and customer friendly. However, with this new system comes a lot of vulnerabilities. 

As mentioned earlier, these pain points increase as the number of users uploading data to the cloud increase. Moreover, any attack on an individual device can translate into a hack into the cloud system, as evident from the Marriot Hotel breach. This data breach was caused by using an employee’s credentials to access the wider network, i.e., records of 5.2 million guests. 

The Use of AI and Modern Tools to Hack Corporates

Artificial intelligence has become ubiquitous in our online world as the Internet of Things further increases its dependence on newer technologies. Cloud computing and AI are those two modern tools frequented by organizations and software providers to make agile software for the masses. The use of technology isn’t limited to the ‘providers’ only; it is also being utilized to its fullest by hackers making massive inroads into an organization’s systems. 

Gone are the days when hacking was done by a maverick ‘lone wolf’ looking to get one over the system. These days, teams with plenty of tech prowess enable whole companies to band together and perform sophisticated hacking into large conglomerates. These organizations are proving more efficient daily as they use the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to hack systems.

A prime example of the increased sophistication of these attacks is the increased ease of ransomware and phishing attacks over the past three years. According to one report, phishing attacks increased 510 percent in one month of 2020, while ransomware attacks increased 148 percent in the same period. These high numbers suggest a method behind these attacks instead of targeting senseless. These targeted attacks are manned by AI-based tools to send custom-made messages to different persons automatically. 

Overzealous Regulatory Framework Strains Already Depleted Cybersecurity System

Many regulators have started to introduce stricter measures against cybersecurity threats. These measures include reporting and compliance requirements by regulators in the wake of high-profile data breaches. These stringent reporting demands strain the already limited resources of most companies, which still need to be better equipped to tackle the latest cybersecurity threats. 

With the regulators moving briskly to tackle the latest threats in the cybersecurity domain, organizations still need to train the resources at hand to tackle these threats. Risk assessment in the cybersecurity domain in these organizations needs to have the nous required to ascertain risks and formulate an effective cybersecurity risk plan. 

Mitigation of these risks will only be possible if the human resources develop as fast as the risks emerge and thus formulate plans to avoid facing such threats. One statistic that speaks volumes about the skill gap in the cybersecurity domain is the need to fill 3.5 million cybersecurity-related jobs by 2025.

Other Stat-Worthy Cybersecurity Risks

The inability to perceive future threats to a company’s cybersecurity is one of the many deficiencies organizations need to address if they want to feel secure from hacking attempts. The stats regarding cybersecurity paint an alarming picture. The number of hacking attempts in 2021 was 50% more than the year before. 

Using Third-Party Services

If you need clarification about reacting to cybersecurity threats or need more expertise to tackle them, third-party services will always provide these services now. These companies offer software applications as a service, just like modern web service providers. Since the threat to modern systems is directly attributed to cloud computing, such services may offer a solution. 

Services such as SD-WAN, differ from your traditional network by having a software-based network control. The software-defined wide area network of such services offers better security with software-based internet management instead of physical routers. These systems are one possible solution to your cybersecurity woes, as they provide a system catering to your online needs with a built-in security system. 

Another statistic quotes the FBI, which investigated email-related phishing attempts. It reported that since 2016, there had been at least $43 Billion stolen via business email phishing. In another statistic, a report lays bare the claim that there has been an increase in socially engineered attacks with greater sophistication than before. 

Managing Cybersecurity – A Way Forward

Starting with the email-phishing and how to avoid its harmful effects, here are some instructions from the FBI. It includes keeping the provision of two-factor authentication for online apps and accounts and checking the URL of a site you’re being redirected to gauge the email’s authenticity. Links to websites you’re asked to open can have spelling mistakes or intentional typos, which is one way to avoid such emails. Following such tips can mitigate the risk of losing your hard-earned money through email phishing. 

  • Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan

A crucial part of managing cybersecurity is to formulate a cybersecurity risk plan. According to surveys, many organizations still need to draft a risk management plan or strategy to deal with current or future threats. Devising such a risk management plan will not only set the course for an implementation plan but also mitigate any disasters in the future. 

The management plan, which should comprise the people and resources of the organization, should be a well-rounded plan to protect the critical functioning of the system and put up safeguards to ensure security. The risk management plan will also identify what needs protecting and what processes can be pegged lower down the safety ladder. 

The first and foremost thing that this plan must visualize is to protect the organization’s data. As the debate above, data is the key to the functioning of most organizations these days, and reliance on it is also paramount. Hence the need to protect the data at all costs by putting safeguards such as layered security to protect against data breaches. 

  • Using Automation to Counter Automated Threats

While the first step is formulating a plan of action, the second must be its implementation. Implementing a cybersecurity plan using artificial intelligence and modern tools must be the priority. Automation tools are needed to ensure our safeguards against malware powered by AI-based tools. 

These tools can help with identity authentication, offering advanced warnings and malware identification. Identity authentication is a labor-intensive task that AI can handle these days. Also, companies can employ machine learning tools to improve analytics and increase the efficiency of processes. Finally, an organization response may be required in case of ransomware events. 

  • Zero Trust Regime

The zero trust regime is the name given to the philosophy of assuming zero implicit trust when a user establishes a connection to an application. The application will continuously ask the user for identification at different stages to ensure the utmost safety of the system from data breaches. It is one of the most basic yet needful cybersecurity measures, which, if implemented expertly, can mitigate the risk of using cloud services. 

Taking Cybersecurity Seriously

Fifty percent of the companies in the United States possess a functional cybersecurity plan. It begs us the question of why organizations don’t take it seriously. The sections, as mentioned above, highlight the reason for this lacking and the measures needed to improve cybersecurity in organizations. So far, many organizations need to catch up in reporting and train their personnel to look for threats in the future. 

A proactive approach is a must here, with the onus on developing software and applications driven by a cybersecurity approach. Applications and services must be designed keeping in view cybersecurity and its different facets to succeed in the real world. Companies and organizations must invest heavily to avoid costly data breaches hurting them financially.

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