#ThinkBeyond – Security solutions from market leaders may all fail in your particular environment

Buying solutions proposed by analyst firms without carefully analyzing your organization expose it to cyber threats. It’s time to #ThinkBeyond this broken paradigm.

The cybersecurity market is expected to double by 2022, analysts estimated the growth could reach three hundred thousand dollars, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. In the same period, the number of cyber attacks are expected to increase, hackers will adopt new sophisticated techniques while the surface of attacks of companies and organizations is enlarging due to the adoption of paradigms such as the Internet of Things, Cloud computing, and mobile computing.

Another important element that will characterize the next months it the adoption of new regulations and directives, such as the GDPR and the NIS directive, that will influence the evolution of the market.

Businesses will face the “perfect storm,” the ideal condition for security firms that continue to develop new solutions designed to cover a specific portion of the market instead of responding to the real needs for cyber security of their customers.

The increasing number of successful cyber attacks and the daily security breaches reported by experts demonstrate that most of the companies are still far from an adequate security posture.

In origin it was mainly a problem of awareness on cyber threats, but now the critical issue is represented by the ability of businesses and decision makers in buying security solutions that match their needs.

The purchase of a new security solution or a service is often driven by the recommendations of analysts that produce any kind of report to influence the final decision of the management and the IT staff.

The emulation is part of the human nature, for C-Level personnel is easy to select their business partners by choosing them from the companies listed in authoritative studies and publications such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

Evidently, this approach is not sufficient to ensure the resilience to cyber attacks of a modern business.

In many cases the same security companies suggested by these reports were involved in embarrassing incidents, this is the case of the accountancy firm Deloitte that was awarded as the best Security Consulting Services providers by Gartner, but that was victims itself of a sophisticated hack that compromised its global email server in 2016.

These studies could influence a blind and an unaware choice of security solutions, they could give businesses a false sense of security.

It is absurd to compose a security infrastructure only by implementing the recommendations of the analyst firms while the events in the threat landscape demonstrate that such an approach is ruinous.

A model of cyber security driven by profits could not be effective against cyber threats. Threat actors rapidly and continuously change their Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs ), and security industry is not able to follow them.

Security investments should be measured by the amount of cyber risk mitigated per dollar spent, only in this way it is possible to evaluate real enhancement of the resilience of an architecture while adding new components to the mosaic.

Before deciding to read a report from major analyst companies that suggest products from IT giants, it is essential for any organization to assess and prioritize all cyber risks and business processes.

The risk assessment must involve as many stakeholders, this is the best way to protect our infrastructure from several threat actors.

Once all the risks are identified and prioritized, the company will have to mitigate them by using systems inside their infrastructure and eventually integrating them with proper solutions.  Instruments like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant could help companies to select vendors with a filtrated vision of the market, however, we cannot forget that security solutions from market leaders may all fail in a particular environment.

The adoption of security solutions that are recognized by the analysis as leading products of the cyber security industry will not protect our organizations for multiple reasons.

The reality is disconcerting, in most of the security breaches the attackers were able to bypass the stack of security solutions deployed by the victims to defend their infrastructure.

We cannot continue to build our defence implementing a model of cyber security that is imposed by a restricted number of firms. From the attacker’s perspective, #ThinkBeyondit is easy to predict the type of defence measures in place and adopt the necessary changes in their attack chain.

Don’t forget that threat actors continuously monitor our infrastructure and companies need to avoid in providing points of reference that could be the starting points for their offensive.

The choice of the components for the infrastructure of a company must be driven by an objective analysis of the context in which they operate and carefully considering the evolution of cyber threats.

Security solutions must be user-friendly, overly-complex systems make it hard to use. Another problem related to the choice of security products and services is related to the capability of the organization in processing their output of the defence systems. In a real scenario, cyber security analysts often miss the vast majority of alerts and warnings because of the huge volume of information generated by security solutions.

Most of the leading security firms urge a layered approach in cyber security, but what happens if these layers are not able to “correctly” exchange information each other, or in a worst scenario there are affected by vulnerabilities that can be triggered to compromise the security of the overall architecture.

Building a layered defense system doesn’t mean to simply put together the security products and service suggested by prominent studies, but the analysis must go beyond.

The integration is the most complicated part in setting up a security infrastructure, every time the IT staff intends to add another piece to their cyber barricade it needs to carefully understand the way various components interact and which are the behavior of the resulting system.

Buying solutions proposed by analyst firms will not protect the organizations, spending more doesn’t necessarily mean you will be secure, this must be clear to anyone that works to increase the resilience of its systems to cyber attacks. It’s time to #ThinkBeyond this broken paradigm.


Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – #ThinkBeyond, security)



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