19 April 2024

Cutting through the cybersecurity noise

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By taking a multi-pronged approach that addresses cybersecurity from different angles, businesses can avoid disjointed, unfocussed and costly results, says Andy Robertson of Fujitsu


Enter “cybersecurity breach” into Google, and you’ll likely find a mass of recent cases involving some of the world’s largest brands. Artificial intelligence poster boys ChatGPT, and a number of computing giants, are just a few that have had their systems compromised in recent months, and they surely won’t be the last. Cybercriminals are always looking for new vulnerabilities, with no company truly safe.

Businesses have been building and reinforcing their defences accordingly, but this is leading to issues of its own. New platforms require time and talent to manage, and firms are finding both to be in short supply. In search of security gains, companies have unintentionally made the tangled web of addressing and monitoring for cyber threats even more complicated to navigate, tying themselves in knots in the process.

Many are finding themselves overwhelmed with the volume of threats they face and the number of tools at their disposal to address them. While these firms have accumulated this range of technologies to protect themselves against bad actors, the result is often a lot of “noise” that their teams don’t have the time or ability to manage. This means that getting security right is as hard as it’s ever been. On the one hand, businesses want to stay on top of the latest threats, but on the other, they risk turning it into a task too big for them to manage. Or worse, they could lose talent, with research from Mimecast already indicating that a third of cybersecurity personnel are considering leaving their role.

Outsource and outrun the competition

In short, businesses are struggling to work out when there is a genuine threat, and they don’t have enough employees to deal with and manage this. The moment the noise of potential risks becomes more than teams can handle, a tipping point is reached where overloaded workers can no longer respond to new and emerging concerns.

To contend with this, many businesses will have little choice but to look for outside help. There is only so much tech leaders can do internally with finite time and resources. Businesses are lacking the operational capability and capacity to handle the cybersecurity technologies in their arsenal and are struggling to identify genuine threats as a result.

 Engaging with Managed Security Serving Providers (MSSPs) will be a popular step, and one that is already gaining traction. By outsourcing cybersecurity, IT leaders and their teams can spend more time taking a strategic approach to security, rather than using it to manage different systems. Protecting against online threats requires staying close to the newest technological developments, and process admin cannot be allowed to get in the way.

And with margins already slim, businesses cannot afford to be more susceptible to attacks and risk the consequences that would come with a major breach. During a recession, however, outsourcing is the easiest way. Companies can forecast on spend as MSSPs commonly offer a monthly price. 

Closing the skill gaps with technology and training 

Economic factors will also force businesses to focus on ways to get the most of existing security assets rather than spending money on new ones. And, given that so many are already struggling to manage what they already have, it’s a move that will likely be welcomed by staff who are already feeling under pressure.

For example, this could mean ramping up their reliance on security controls already built within the cloud platforms they use and filling in the gaps with additional tools. Outsourcing cannot be seen as a panacea, as its long-term impacts will be greater when paired with internal improvements.

However, the burden cannot fall entirely on workers to maximise existing tools. With so many technologies to manage already, heaping more pressure on talent only risks them burning out and jeopardising productivity. That’s where cybersecurity automation – or more specifically, the use of Security Orchestration, Automation and Response – has a lot to offer. By fast-tracking information through systems and minimising touch points, threats can be identified much quicker and fewer people are needed to intervene.

Automation can also narrow the skills gap pressure tremendously by allowing businesses to make better use of their talent, letting them deal with the most pressing and targeted attacks with machines picking up the slack. Combined with a commitment to employee training and development, businesses are looking at a winning formula: more capable workers who have the time to use their expertise where it’s most valuable.

The need for a holistic approach 

To cut through the noise, businesses need to take a multi-pronged approach that tackles the issue from different angles. Simply outsourcing to MSSPs without taking steps to address internal skill gaps, for example, only pushes the risk of staff burnout into the future – it does nothing to address the system overload that’s already started to stretch employees.

Cybersecurity is already a complicated topic that many struggle to fully grasp, and it’s only getting more complex as technology and criminals’ strategies evolve. Keeping up with bad actors’ latest tactics is challenging enough when defending against emerging threats, but that shouldn’t be made more difficult by systems that create overwhelming noise. 

Finding those people, whether via MSSPs, agencies or through internal upskilling, is essential. A simple but well executed approach trumps a complex, noisy and disorganised one, and in a financial crisis, businesses can’t afford to be more susceptible to attacks. Leaders need to realise that the cybersecurity strategies and decisions put in place today can determine a firm’s financial future.



About the Author

Andy Robertson is Head of Cyber Security at Fujitsu. He joined the organisation in 2018 as the Senior Director for Security Professional Services and oversaw a period of growth for Fujitsu’s Security Consulting practice, before stepping up to lead the UK&I Cyber Security business in 2021.  

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