Are your cloud and your network looking back at each other?
For the emergency measures of 2020 to become the new normal, organisations across all sectors accelerated and implemented what were multi-year, multi-layered plans to replace legacy infrastructure and systems with their cloud-based, digital-native descendants, ahead of schedule. Now, these measures are in place and have given way to new working conditions, data systems, policies, and expectations in all areas of digital business life. However, to support these measures – from remote working and devices, seamless user and customer experiences, to regulatory requirements, and data security across networks, systems, and devices – cloud and hybrid cloud enterprise network environments are becoming increasingly large and complex. And they do not stop growing or changing.
This rapid and constant transformation, in addition to the sheer numbers of access points, poses multiple challenges for IT and security teams. In IT security talk, the perimeter is dead. Not only that, but IT’s objectives and interests often struggle to align strategically with the rest of the organisation. Whereas organisations rely on IT teams to adapt and secure their ever-expanding network and data load, there is often no single, consistent source of data to allow them to align.
Amongst all these issues, visibility has become a pressing issue. So-called gaps in visibility and therefore in security, typically occur where legacy infrastructure meets new systems and applications. On-premises systems were not designed to be managed or to communicate with off-premises infrastructure. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are aware of and seek to exploit the blind spots. In 2020, ransomware attacks rose 150% year-on-year with amounts paid rising over 300%, according to the Institute for Technology report on Combating Ransomware.
Lack of visibility – and consequent gaps in security – is the number one challenge in securing network data and addressing threat prevention in the future.
Bringing cybercrime into the light
While the upsides of digital disruption and digitisation far outstrip the downsides, the pace of change, the continuous organisational evolution, the volumes of data generated, and the overlap between legacy and digital-native applications, create visibility gaps that must be found and secured to future-proof their organisations.
To put some numbers to it: according to the Institute of Technology report on Combating Ransomware, nearly 2400 U.S.-based governments, healthcare facilities, and schools were victims of ransomware attacks in 2020. These attacks led to an average downtime of 21 days and it took an average of 287 days for businesses to fully recover from. Attack victims paid an estimated $350 million in ransom money in 2020, representing an increase of 311% over the previous year and the average amount paid in 2020 was $312,493, a 171% increase compared to 2019.
With results like these, ransomware attacks are not going away therefore the onus is on organisations to secure their data fast. This means addressing the issue of visibility as a priority.
Working out how to gain and maintain visibility into an ever-changing world of network assets and data across a hybrid landscape in constant motion and continuously expanding is not easy. According to data published by the world economic forum, the growth in connected IoT devices was expected to generate 79.4 zetabytes of data in 2025, as of June 2019.
Take cloud migration, for example. The unplanned acceleration of cloud migration turned method to the madness and, in the process of adopting SaaS applications for remote working or PaaS or IaaS applications required to bring business online, units were deployed in parallel or even in conflict with security and IT. Network monitoring and security tools designed for on-premise lack visibility onto the cloud environment, applications, and services, leaving multiple openings for cyber-attacks.
Organisations without a clear, complete, and considered view of their own world face a multitude of issues including poor user and customer experiences, blind spots in security and compliance, escalating costs, and complexity.
Complexity is one thing, an ever-moving target quite another. Visibility is the key and IT, security, and business teams will only meet this challenge in collaboration with one another and equipped with the smartest technology available to ensure their network and cloud infrastructures are visible.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our visibility blog where we introduce The Exclusive Networks Vendors who can light the way through the virtual maze.