Special Feature: Why building a cyber security ecosystem is vital for SMB resilience

cyber-riskWhile big cyber incidents and breaches make national and international news, there are many more breaches and attacks that never make the headlines. In 2014 alone, the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Australia) responded to 11,073 cyber security incidents affecting Australian businesses, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Written by Armando Dacal, regional vice president – Australia and New Zealand, Palo Alto Networks

cyber-risk


While big cyber incidents and breaches make national and international news, there are many more breaches and attacks that never make the headlines. In 2014 alone, the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Australia) responded to 11,073 cyber security incidents affecting Australian businesses, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Of these incidents, just 153 involved government infrastructure. The rest affected private enterprises, both large and small. Small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) make up 97 per cent of private enterprises in Australia, so it is more than likely they would have been hit by an overwhelming proportion of the incidents investigated by CERT last year.

Clearly, the online landscape is full of potential risks. Cyber attacks can lead to financial losses, damage to reputation, loss of intellectual property, and disruption to business. 

Cyber criminals continue to improve their methods in their attempts to defeat network defences and exploit the new technologies. This makes it hard for cyber security experts and business leaders to keep up with the extent and nature of malicious activity.

Given these challenges, the next logical step in the cyber security evolution will be to bring the business community together to identify cyber criminals and threats. By establishing a cyber security ecosystem, businesses of all sizes can create a type of ‘herd immunity’. If one business is attacked, the rest of the business community can be made aware of how the threat behaves and how to prevent it.

There are three key ingredients to creating a cyber security ecosystem with the input of businesses both large and small:


1. Leveraging threat prevention communities

As a first step, members of commercial industries should join threat information-sharing and analysis organisations that are linking trusted threat prevention communities together. This is the foundation for a cyber security ecosystem that shares cyber threat information in real time using standardised methods. This strengthens the ability of everyone to detect and prevent cyberattacks.

Every organisation’s security experiences can strengthen the entire ecosystem. SMBs can play a huge role due to the diverse nature of their size and business systems.


2. Trusting each other

The trust inherent in information-sharing can be hard to earn, but businesses must be willing to take action and drive collaboration. Collaborating and investing in the best technology available can accelerate the ability of the cyber ecosystem to learn and adapt, resulting in stronger protection for everyone.

Cultural changes required for the wide adoption of best practices and risk mitigation strategies will come slowly, but businesses of all sizes have an opportunity today to accelerate the ability to strengthen the cyber ecosystem. 


3. Machine-to-machine threat information-sharing

Automated threat detection and information-sharing lets businesses prevent threats that have targeted other organisations. Integrated systems that were built to work together can also be linked to information sharing repositories in the cloud. Automated systems can learn to take actions by observing how the threats behaved and were prevented.

In short, by building bridges to increase information-sharing and investing in the best technology available, all businesses can help create a healthy, resilient, and fundamentally more secure cyber ecosystem.

 

 

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