Wish you a very happy Diwali and a safe and secure New Year 2019


Wish you all a very Happy Diwali and a Secure New Year. Securing a company will always remain a challenge. The cost of data breaches in India has doubled in the last 5 years. From smaller companies to large enterprises, no one is immune to cyber attacks, many of which go unreported. Almost, 22,000 Indian companies were attacked from April 2017 to January 2018, India business being the top victims of ransomware attacks worldwide.

Securing an organisation has to be more practical. A copy book style will not work. There are just too many ways that protections can be breached. Many a times, we are not even sure, whether our gates have already been broken. Each aspect of protecting an organisation has to viewed holistically and an approach, not being overbearing on users, will go a long way.

More often we make our security too complicated and end up mis-managing it. Any security implementation should begin with knowing what to protect and understanding the attack vectors. You need to create your own defence rings around your data with a zero trust approach, assuming all access points are vulnerable and will be compromised. Once this is understood, it becomes very easy to secure your data.

Hope, this year we will have fewer breaches and a more secure year, ahead.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Enterprises always need to balance between the risk of an application and the business opportunity it presents. Same goes with cloud computing. If IT leaders block applications due to the security risks it presents, organization lose the opportunity of the benefits that cloud computing presents, specially lowering computing and infrastructure costs. If they adopt cloud applications without considering the risk, it can prove fatal. 

IT managers are always at a dilemma and are looking for the right solution which helps them to balance risk and opportunities. As applications moves from enterprise boundaries to cloud, it brings in newer risks to data. They also have very limited control of their cloud infrastructure.  A well-defined risk model can address the above concern.

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) enables security professionals to control and manage SaaS applications. It provides visibility in the cloud applications used by an enterprise and helps to control the risk of choosing cloud as a service platform. According to Gartner the demand for CASB  has grown exponentially and they expect that 85% of enterprises will use CASB by 2020.

How is CASB useful? 

Many enterprises are blind to cloud services used by their users. They need visibility to these applications so that the risks can be determined. Next Generation firewalls with CASB support provide in-depth visibility of all such applications used. This provides the first step to enterprise to control and manage such applications. Using Next Generation firewalls, they can block all such applications they feel, do not provide enough security to their data and bring added risks to the enterprise without any reasonable advantage.

Context based CASB solutions provide complete visibility to many cloud applications like Google Suite, Office 365, File sharing services like DropBox, Google drive etc. It also allows them to setup policies to block these applications when used on non-secure devices or outside their perimeter. For example, it will help your enterprise to setup policies to limit the access of Gmail for your back office only from your enterprise network, whereas sales representatives can access it from anywhere but from trusted devices only. This brings in the same kind of security as your in-house managed applications.

Advance CASB products allow to limit the use of cloud applications for personal use. For example, access to Facebook would only be allowed with the corporate id and all personal ids would be blocked when used from enterprise network, also called as ‘Split Profiling’. You can setup policies to limit the usage of cloud application. For example, you can block all uploads for a user of DropBox and only allow to download files from it. With built-in Data Leak Prevention engine, it brings added security to data and helps in mitigating risks that cloud computing adds to an enterprise.

As enterprises increase their usage of cloud services, security professionals will need to balance the risk along with it. They will need a solution for secure and complaint way of using such applications and services. CASB provides such a solution. Enterprises will need to choose solution which will provide CASB along with Next Generation Firewall and UTM platforms.

Debit card breach: Hitachi owns up to systems being compromised in mid-2016

We should have norms for organisations in India to quickly disclose any breach in their network. Other companies can learn from such attacks and they can use this information to protect their network. Awareness of Security will also help end consumers to be more cautious in handling digital transaction. As we move towards digital economy, transparency by organisations will help to improve confidence by a long way. 

Hitachi Payments Services on Thursday accepted its systems were compromised by a sophisticated malware in mid-2016 which led to one of the biggest cyber security breaches in country, with 3.2 million cards being affected, causing a scare over security of card-based transactions.


Wishing you a very Happy and Secure New Year

First the good news, you no longer will be forced to pay service charge at restaurants. Some of the well known restaurant would not pass the service charge to the servers and would keep it as profits. Many a times, I had to fight whenever I have been unhappy with the service. Happy that the government has clarified and we can pay the service charge at our will.

For the bad news, cyber attacks will only increase in year 2017. Attackers have shifted their focus to more targeted attacks, which will be difficult to catch using traditional methods. We will need more sophisticated methods to identify such attacks and mitigate them. Context based security is one such method. It helps in identifying breaches and thus protecting users data.

With more and more enterprise application moving to cloud services like Google or Office 365, it becomes important that security devices are able to identify the legitimate use of such applications. Corporates would like to limit access to such applications only for their company use. Firewalls will have to become intelligent to identify such use and prevent data leaks through personal use.

Ensure that you take backups of all your critical data and files. Ransomware will subside, if they realise that their efforts is not bearing them fruits. We too have to play an important role to improve security of our networks and internet as a whole. Wish you once again a very happy and secure new year.

An apple a day keeps the attackers at bay !!!

As we reach the end of this year and look back at the numerous cyber attacks, one question that keeps coming to everyones mind is 'Can we win the war against attackers as we enter the new year?' We can find the answer in the old saying, 'An apple a day, keeps the doctor away'.  As we need to regularly monitor our health,  similarly, we need to monitor the security of our network too. By ignoring it,  it will give in and be compromised.

Let me begin with saying that it is not difficult to keep our network and data safe. Let us not be too overwhelmed and worried with the daily breaches that we hear. Like our physical health, it requires dedication to keep our network fit. If security management is incorporated in our daily routine, it will show wonderful results. Check your application and data, regularly, and see if they are all in a healthy condition.

Routine checkups can help find problems before they start or in their earlier stages where it is relatively easy to resolve. If you are unable to do so, the problem may spread to your complete network and can cause severe damage which may be very difficult to recover from. Ransomware showed how, if not limited, can even end up encrypting files on your file shares and affect not only the user who open the attachment, but everyone in the organisation.

Like your body, your security too requires regular maintenance. If you do not take care of it, you will end up making it easy for attackers to break it. Be in regular touch with experts who will help you in knowing the latest vulnerability and how to fix them. Keep your software updated and take regular backups of your critical data. Simple things, if done daily, can help improve health of your network and bring happiness to you in the new year.

Wish you a very happy and secure new year !!!