😬Decoding Cybersecurity Complexity: Unveiling Fundamental Business Mistakes 🧱

😬Decoding Cybersecurity Complexity: Unveiling Fundamental Business Mistakes 🧱

Avoid common cybersecurity mistakes and outdated solutions. Learn how to protect your business effectively.

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4 min read

The increasing complexity of technology environments and the intrinsic errors within the functional and technical architecture can leave businesses vulnerable to cyber threats and breaches. Let's delve into the multiple layers of these complications and how they impact businesses across the board.

Outdated and Overly Complex Firewall Solutions

The security landscape is marred by outdated systems that attempt to mitigate modern threats with a dated code base, ironically branded as next generation. Complex firewall configurations and convoluted settings often lead to an administrative nightmare. To deploy a firewall rule takes days. To troubleshoot takes weeks and to complete a full site installation takes months. All this while having to use expensive resources that are highly paid due to requiring expensive certification. Shockingly, the infrastructure meant to safeguard businesses, like Fortinet firewalls, stands out as one of the most vulnerable infrastructures according to CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency).

Monolithic Solutions and Poor Technology Choices

Businesses often seek a 'silver bullet' solution that promises a comprehensive defense. However, this tendency leads them astray, with solutions that are unable to cater to the complex nature of modern threats. The leading cybersecurity solution on the market has 40 disjointed pages of settings to configure their variant of Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN). Ironically this solution bundles licenses for SD-WAN but in most installations its not actively used. The ultimate Powerpoint-ware solution! Deploying monolithic systems that are supposedly all-encompassing ends up being counterproductive. It's akin to believing the Maginot line's impenetrability, which was bypassed effortlessly during World War 2. The Maginot Line was a massive defensive fortification system built by France in the 1930s, primarily after World War I, to safeguard against potential invasions from Germany. The attack from the Germans which compromised the Maginot line was known as the Blitzkrieg and would be akin to the strategies used by bad actors to compromise a business.

Ineffective Cybersecurity Strategies and Misplaced Focus

One common misconception is assuming that inbound attacks are the primary threat, whereas the real danger often lurks within outbound connections. Businesses frequently overlook the importance of a robust strategy, focusing solely on inbound security. A failure to categorize and prioritize data, applications, and access paths undermines the effectiveness of defensive strategies. Nothing displays a business lack of this understanding than a carte blanche rule in the network firewall allowing a user outbound access. Included in this brainfart is the use of 8.8.8.8 as a resolver.

Unrealized Strategies and Missed Opportunities

Although concepts like zero trust architecture hold potential, they're often implemented without foundational groundwork. Businesses neglect thorough categorization of data and information, which forms the backbone of an effective zero trust model. This oversight diminishes the value derived from such advanced strategies. If anything the Information Technology department in the business have make assumptions about categorization because of half hearted support from their peers without actually knowing the full business process or value. Zero trust without full categorization is an exercise in futility. Obviously, the most important categorization is business critical applications of which ERP systems are an example.

Misuse of Bandwidth and Resource Allocation

Social media platforms consume an exorbitant amount of a business's bandwidth without providing tangible returns. Moreover, the disproportionate utilization of bandwidth for non-business-critical activities can lead to catastrophic consequences. In times of network failure or bandwidth constraints, the deluge of social media usage impedes critical business traffic, compounding the issue.

Neglected Categories of Security

Classifying and securing different user categories is often disregarded. From business-critical applications to IoT devices, the lack of segmentation and oversight makes these areas susceptible to cyber threats. In many cases this has been wrapped up into an OT category that includes devices such as phones, smart screens, printers, sensors, as well as SCADA and MODBUS systems. Supply chain vulnerabilities also remain inadequately addressed, exposing businesses to significant risks from third-party service providers.

Wrapping up: A Need for Holistic Strategy

The solution lies in a comprehensive strategy that aligns with a business's unique needs. It's not about fitting the business into a tool but designing a strategy that safeguards the business's digital assets. Current approaches see businesses acquiring tools and then adapting their operations, leading to significant losses and inefficiencies.

As a minimum a business needs to be able to categorize their information usage into business critical, social media, OT and supply chain usage. This is beyond the simple categorization of confidentiality. Treating them as a single user category is a recipe for disaster!

In summary, a well-thought-out cybersecurity strategy, backed by sound functional and technical architecture, driven by clear business requirements, is the need of the hour. Businesses must shift from reactive measures to proactive strategies to tackle the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

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Originally published on LinkedIn by Ronald Bartels: