How the Importance of Cybersecurity has Evolved in the Digital Age

 In Cyber Security

Cybersecurity has been an issue since people began storing important information on computers and digital storage devices. At first, security was an afterthought that was often addressed haphazardly by motivated individuals. Today cybersecurity has evolved into one of the most important aspects of maintaining a modern computing environment.

The Early Days of Cybersecurity

Early cybersecurity initiatives involved the protection of on-premises computing systems that had limited external network connectivity. In most cases, a small and trusted team of operators were the only ones permitted to physically access the machinery. Security in this environment was typically done by physically verifying an individual’s credentials before allowing them to enter the computer room.

Hacking and cyberattacks were not initially a concern for IT professionals. The lack of network access meant that the only risk came from the technical staff who physically interacted with the computers. As network connectivity became more prevalent, the risks of a cyberattack increased.

John Draper, aka Captain Crunch, is generally recognized as the first hacker. He used a toy whistle given away in boxes of Captain Crunch cereal to mimic a tone that tricked phone systems in 1971. John was not a malicious hacker and became a programmer for Apple and other companies.

Unfortunately, not all hackers were harmless even if they weren’t deliberately malicious. In 1988, Robert Tappan Morris launched a worm that essentially conducted the first distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. Morris became the first person to be tried under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. He was sentenced to probation, a fine, and community service.

The development of the World Wide Web and the Internet forever changed the way organizations approached cybersecurity. Remote connectivity to computer systems demanded new techniques to restrict the access of unauthorized individuals. The ability of potential cybercriminals to access systems surreptitiously from any location has forever changed the way companies implement cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity Concerns Demand the Attention of Dedicated Teams

As the volume of valuable data and the risks posed by remote cybercriminals increased, companies were forced to take cybersecurity more seriously. It was no longer sufficient for system or application owners to implement the security measures they felt were necessary.

Dedicated security teams were formed to address multiple aspects of the heightened focus on cyberattacks. The reasons for the formation of these teams included:

  • The need to set consistent security standards throughout the organization;
  • The realization that cybersecurity threats were real and potentially very costly;
  • Implementing robust security demands specialized skills and training.

The Emergence of the CSO

An organization’s information is its most valuable asset in today’s data-driven business world. Caring for this valuable resource demands the attention of C-suite executives. The role of Chief Security Officer (CSO) was created to give security the same degree of focus and importance as a Chief Financial Officer gives to an organization’s finances.

The creation of the CSO role highlights the significance cybersecurity has attained in the corporate world. The realization that all of a company’s hard work and innovation can be lost due to a single oversight or data breach forced organizations to prioritize security. In many ways, security has become the most important aspect of a computing environment. The most cutting-edge solutions are essentially worthless if they cannot be used securely.

A company’s CSO has the following responsibilities pertaining to their organization’s cybersecurity.

  • Prevention – The CSO leads the company’s security strategy. They are responsible for conducting risk assessments and implementing policies and procedures to maintain data security. Security is constantly changing as new threats evolve, requiring the CSO to revisit and update security plans regularly.
  • Governance – CSOs are responsible for governing corporate security. This involves instituting identity checks, access authorization, and protecting company IT systems.
  • Investigation – When cyberattacks or security incidents occur, the CSO is responsible for leading the investigation. They also have a hand in devising business continuity and disaster recovery plans that will be needed in the wake of a large-scale cyberattack.

Enhanced Cybersecurity in the Cloud

An effective method of quickly implementing enhanced security is with cloud services. Public cloud service providers (CSPs) offer secure computing platforms and solutions that let companies take advantage of their experienced technical teams.

A reliable CSP will implement cybersecurity measures using industry best practices to ensure the privacy and security of your company’s data. The specific benefits of engaging a cloud security solution include:

Cutting-edge technology – CSPs have the resources to implement the most innovative and robust security solutions. Using techniques such as multi-factor authentication and end-to-end data encryption, cloud providers can make it much more difficult for cybercriminals to penetrate your infrastructure’s defenses.

Increased availability – Cloud providers can offer high availability using multiple data centers for heightened redundancy. They can help develop and test disaster recovery plans to ensure a business remains operational under any circumstances.

Visibility and threat detection – CSPs can monitor your systems 24/7 and implement advanced threat detection solutions to keep intruders out of your environment.

One caveat to consider with cloud security is that it is a shared responsibility between the CSP and the customer. The provider assumes responsibility for the security of the cloud while the customer is tasked with protecting what they put into the cloud. A typical example is the AWS shared security model.

How to Improve Your Company’s Cybersecurity

An excellent way to improve your company’s cybersecurity is by having another experienced set of eyes evaluate your environment. A security expert can uncover hidden vulnerabilities that expose your organization’s most valuable assets and need to be promptly addressed.

Prescient Solutions has been providing IT services to customers for over 25 years. They offer a full suite of cybersecurity services that range from vulnerability assessments to implementing the firewalls and additional tools required to keep your environment secure.

Get started by requesting a security assessment that tests your infrastructure using the same techniques hackers employ when attacking your systems. Find out where your security is lacking and how to improve it before a devastating and preventable data breach occurs.

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