Cybersecurity refers to a set of techniques used to protect the integrity of networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.
According to Forbes, the global cybersecurity market is expected to reach 170 billion by 2020. This rapid market growth is being fueled by an array of technology trends, including the onslaught of initiatives with ever-evolving security requirements, like “bring your own device” (BYOD) and the internet of things (IoT); the rapid adoption of cloud-based applications and workloads, extending security needs beyond the traditional data center; and stringent data protection mandates, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the National Institute of Security Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework.
Why Cybersecurity Is Required
The core functionality of cybersecurity involves protecting information and systems from major cyberthreats. These cyberthreats take many forms (e.g., application attacks, malware, ransomware, phishing, exploit kits). Unfortunately, cyber adversaries have learned to launch automated and sophisticated attacks using these tactics – at lower and lower costs. As a result, keeping pace with cybersecurity strategy and operations can be a challenge, particularly in government and enterprise networks where, in their most disruptive form, cyberthreats often take aim at secret, political, military or infrastructural assets of a nation, or its people. Some of the common threats are outlined below in more detail.
- Cyberterrorismis the disruptive use of information technology by terrorist groups to further their ideological or political agenda. This takes the form of attacks on networks, computer systems and telecommunication infrastructures.
- Cyberwarfareinvolves nation-states using information technology to penetrate another nation’s networks to cause damage or disruption. In the U.S. and many other nations, cyberwarfare has been acknowledged as the fifth domain of warfare (following land, sea, air and space). Cyberwarfare attacks are primarily executed by hackers who are well-trained in exploiting the intricacies of computer networks, and operate under the auspices and support of nation-states. Rather than “shutting down” a target’s key networks, a cyberwarfare attack may intrude into networks to compromise valuable data, degrade communications, impair such infrastructural services as transportation and medical services, or interrupt commerce.
- Cyberespionage is the practice of using information technology to obtain secret information without permission from its owners or holders. Cyberespionage is most often used to gain strategic, economic, political or military advantage, and is conducted using cracking techniques and malware.
How to Maintain Effective Cybersecurity
Historically, organizations and governments have taken a reactive, “point product” approach to combating cyberthreats, cobbling together individual security technologies – one on top of another – to protect their networks and the valuable data within them. Not only is this method expensive and complex, but news of devastating cyber breaches continues to dominate headlines, rendering this method ineffective. In fact, given the pervasiveness of data breaches, the topic of cybersecurity has catapulted to the top of the priority list for boards of directors, which are seeking a far less risky way.
Instead, organizations can consider a natively integrated, automated Next-Generation Security Platform that is specifically designed to provide consistent, prevention-based protection – on the endpoint, in the data center, on the network, in public and private clouds, and across SaaS environments. By focusing on prevention, organizations can prevent cyberthreats from impacting the network in the first place, and reduce overall cybersecurity risk to a manageable degree.