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Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report - Comment from Insight

February 2018 by Insight

Cisco released its 11th Annual Cybersecurity Report (ACR). Erik Westhovens, Enterprise Architect at Insight, believes that its findings reveal the importance of both detection technology and employee education to organisations looking to combat the ever-evolving cyber-security threat:

"What’s clear from Cisco’s latest research is that the cyber-security environment is moving at an unprecedented speed, with malignant actors and defenders engaged in an arms race that would make Cold War strategists blush. The past few months has seen the focus shift once again, from ransomware to malware, resulting in new requirements for defending against cyber-attacks.

"Whereas ransomware is designed to make its presence felt by its victims, malware often works in far more insidious ways, such as hijacking computing power to fuel bitcoin mining. And because this puts a premium on rapid detection and analysis to uncover these shadowy threats, it is therefore reassuring to see that time to detection (TDD) has been trending downwards.

"However, the inventiveness of cyber-attackers means that the threat is always evolving. AI and machine learning are key to detecting novel methods quickly and finding ways to contain and neutralise them, and this is reflected in security leaders’ increasing reliance on these technologies. Scale is vital for effectiveness - security providers such as Microsoft, who can draw on a large customer base and massive data sets on user behaviour, not only have a higher chance of picking up on a threat but have more data to feed into their algorithms. This help with developing more accurate assessments of what constitutes a potentially threatening pattern of, for example, web traffic, and more sophisticated mechanisms for combating threats.

"While technology has a huge role to play, people should remain the first line of any cyber defence strategy. Consider the modern flexible employee – accessing company information on the move and working with sensitive data every day, regardless of job function. Because malware frequently takes advantage of employee’s ignorance, organisations need to focus their security strategy both on detection technology and on educating their workforce on how to avoid becoming an ’easy route in.’"

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