What is the single most important term that defines your security preparedness?

Anand Ramamoorthy - Managing Director, South Asia, McAfee

By Anand Ramamoorthy

History, it’s more than just the past, it can serve as a precursor to the future. Major historic trends, events and conquests form insightful pillars if applied in the right context to the present and even the future. The ‘Trojan War’ was the greatest conflict in the Greek mythology, a war that was to influence people for centuries. How is it that we still find so much power in an ancient epic poem? It seems that every generation reads the tale with fresh eyes & lessons taught by it have changed with each new era of history.

A nine year battle for the city of Troy was not won by numbers but rather outsmarting the opponents via a strategic insertion when least expected.  Applying it to the present context can take us through a slew of headlines, emails and text messages that we are subject to calling for vigilance with our personal details. No longer is our economy a physical one, but one of the connected networks and systems where cybercriminals have put us on the defensive. Our conventional dollars-and-cents economy now depends on vulnerable digital systems that constitute a “second economy.” This second economy, has put us in a world where more is at stake than money. Private as well as public sectors are fighting against time and working to justify trust.

So, what is the single most important term that defines your security preparedness? It is Productivity.  It has always been of paramount importance in any organization. It forms the most important coefficient when looking upon a cybersecurity architecture so as to protect, detect and correct in a timely fashion. Productivity has a two part play within an organization in this context; one from the employees’ perspective & secondly for the security guardians. Employee’s main, sometimes only, priority is to efficiently complete their core business activity, so information security is usually a secondary consideration. Enhanced security mechanisms cause additional work, and employees could favor non-compliant behavior, in favor of their productivity. After all, the recent ‘Wannacry’ outbreak spawned through spam mails. This is where security awareness and smooth procedures lead to dispel the time consuming perception of security measures and its best if it comes from the highest levels from within the organization.

For the CISOs, productivity of their security architecture can be the defining element in their resolve to safeguard the firm.  With cybercrime, as an industry maturing to new heights, it’s getting challenging to combat emerging threats. While one may believe that there would be a breakthrough technology or a silver bullet to combat the well-crafted threats, the reality calls for an adoption of multiple technologies working together in an integrated and automated way. A large bank in India today, for example, employs approximately 40- 60 different security solutions. This means, constantly coordinating with multiple solutions while ensuring it does not impact the response time. Unlike security strategies based on isolated products, these complementary defenses need to operate as a system consolidated into a next-generation platform, an endpoint security system which will be responsible for a majority of productivity. It is this platform which needs to be agile to map the threat defense lifecycle with minimal duplication, go beyond to integrate detections with blocking, containment, and investigation to make threat management simpler, faster, and more effective. Modern day systems even provide automatic migration, a hands-off process through a migration assistant which makes all decisions behind the scenes.

With timely detection and response to a potential threat, productivity is the single biggest benefit that customers can reap out of an advanced Endpoint Security solution. The three core components of the next generation automated architecture being Threat Prevention, Web Control and Firewall, an ideal Endpoint Security suite can help organisations avail up to:

1. 48% faster initial on-demand scans
2. 57% faster application launch
3. 30% faster file copy
4. 18% reduction in idle CPU utilization

Harnessing the power of machine learning, analytics, and reputation to detect zero-day threats, in an agile endpoint defense architecture, can be ‘the one stop shop’ to timely expose and remediate advanced attacks. The right mix uses inline file impersonation to unmask advanced, previously unknown threats hidden in internet traffic—in milliseconds, without signatures. It has the potential to prevent 99.5% of zero-day malware in internet traffic from ever reaching customer endpoints.

Through a single management experience, organizations can deploy cutting-edge protection against the most advanced threats to find and correct hidden attacks in seconds, not months. Today’s Dynamic Endpoint Threat Defense is built on a closed loop system that automatically shares threat intelligence between connected components to detect, resolve, and adapt to new attack strategies faster, with a fraction of the effort and resources. A single-agent architecture with deep integration and automation is the answer to battling widespread emerging threats like ransomware today. History doesn’t have to repeat itself, your organization can be well fortified and vigilant for that Trojan disguised as a gift.

The author is the Managing Director – South Asia, McAfee

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