The 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) paints a grim picture of the unavoidable enterprise data breach. But accepting the inevitability of breaches doesn’t mean accepting defeat. It’s like severe weather: you can’t prevent a tornado or hurricane. But with the right visibility tools, you can recognize patterns and mitigate your risk.
Likewise with data security, visibility is critical. “You cannot effectively protect your data if you do not know where it resides,” says Verizon.
Most enterprises plagued by poor data visibility
The report shows that most organizations lack the data visibility tools for effective breach remediation. Hackers gain access more easily than ever, with 93 percent of attacks taking just minutes to compromise the enterprise ecosystem. Yet without the ability to see what’s happening on endpoint devices, 4 in 5 victimized organizations don’t catch a breach for weeks—or longer.
Here’s a look at how data visibility solves many of the major threats highlighted in the 2016 DBIR:
Phishing: See when users take the bait
The report showed users are more likely than ever to fall for phishing. One in ten users click the link; only three percent end up reporting the attack. Instead of waiting for the signs of an attack to emerge, IT needs the endpoint visibility to know what users are doing—what they’re clicking, what they’re installing, if sensitive data is suspiciously flowing outside the enterprise network. The “human element” is impossible to fix, but visibility lets you “keep your eye on the ball,” as Verizon put it, catching phishing attacks before they penetrate the enterprise.
Malware and ransomware: Encryption + endpoint backup
With laptops the most common vector for the growing threats of malware and ransomware, Verizon stresses that “protecting the endpoint is critical.” The report urges making full-disk encryption (FDE) “part of the standard build” to gain assurance that your data is protected if a laptop falls into the wrong hands. Continuous endpoint backup is the natural complement to FDE. If a device is lost or stolen, IT immediately has visibility into what sensitive data lived on that device, and can quickly restore files and enable the user to resume productivity. Plus, in the case of ransomware, guaranteed backup ensures that you never truly lose your files—and you never pay the ransom.
Privilege abuse: “Monitor the heck” out of users
Authorized users using their credentials for illegitimate purposes “are among the most difficult to detect.” There’s no suspicious phishing email. No failed login attempts. No signs of a hack. And for most organizations, no way of knowing a breach has occurred until the nefarious user and your sensitive data is long gone. Unless, of course, you have complete visibility into the endpoint activities of your users. Verizon urges enterprises to “monitor the heck out of authorized daily activity,” so you can see when a legitimate user is breaking from their use pattern and extricating sensitive data.
Forensics: Skip the hard part for big cost savings
The most costly part of most enterprise data breaches—accounting for half of the average total cost—involves figuring out what data was compromised, tracking down copies of files for examination, and other forensic tasks required for breach reporting and remediation. Most often, an organization must bring in legal and forensic consultants—at a steep price. If you have complete visibility of all enterprise data to begin with, including endpoint data, you can skip much of the hard work in the forensics phase. If you already have continuous and guaranteed backup of all files, all your files are securely stored and easily searchable. Modern endpoint backup solutions go a step further, offering robust forensic tools that make it easy and cost-effective to conduct breach remediation, forensics and reporting tasks without eating up all of IT’s time, or requiring expensive ongoing consultant engagement.
See your data, understand your patterns, mitigate your risk
The whole point of the DBIR is to shed light on data to see the patterns and trends in enterprise data security incidents—to mitigate risk through greater visibility. So read the report. Understand the common threats. But make sure you apply this same methodology to your own organization. With the right data visibility tools in place, you can see your own patterns and trends, learn your own lessons, and fight back against the inevitable data breach.
Download The Guide to Modern Endpoint Backup and Data Visibility to learn more about selecting a modern endpoint backup solution in a dangerous world.
Susan Richardson, Manager/Content Strategy, Code42
[Cloud Security Alliance Blog]