🤿Why Enterprises Get Hacked: A Deep Dive into the Chaos 🔥

🤿Why Enterprises Get Hacked: A Deep Dive into the Chaos 🔥

Why Enterprises Get Hacked: Key Lessons from Cybersecurity Experts


4 min read

In the complex landscape of enterprise IT, cybersecurity breaches are becoming more frequent and severe. The reasons behind these breaches often boil down to a chaotic and convoluted IT and application infrastructure. This complexity makes it nearly impossible for anyone within the organization to have complete end-to-end visibility of their IT real estate. Here's an in-depth look at why enterprises get hacked and how their own practices often pave the way for attackers.

The Root of the Problem: Complexity and Lack of Visibility

Modern enterprises are characterized by a sprawling, intricate web of systems, applications, and networks. This complexity is a double-edged sword: while it can enhance operational capabilities, it also creates a labyrinth that even internal teams struggle to navigate. The lack of a unified, clear view of the IT environment means that vulnerabilities are often overlooked or misunderstood. This is the breeding ground for cyber threats.

The Role of Gartner and the Vicious Cycle of Vendor Recommendations

Often, the journey towards cybersecurity solutions begins with recommendations from analysts like Gartner. Despite their controversies, such as the Nugent Commission discrediting them for questionable practices, enterprises still rely on their advice. Gartner often suggests expensive, complex solutions that require specialized service providers and certifications. These certifications are costly and time-consuming, contributing to the overall complexity and cost of the IT landscape.

Chasing Technology without Understanding Business Needs

Enterprises frequently jump on the latest technology bandwagon without conducting a thorough business impact assessment. They end up investing in solutions that don't align with their core business processes or critical assets, which were never clearly identified in the first place. This misalignment means that despite heavy investments, the actual security posture remains weak.

The Burden of Complex Security Requirements

To protect their vast infrastructure, enterprises demand solutions with features like thousands of application signatures, deep packet inspection, SSL decryption, and TLS inspection. These requirements necessitate powerful, expensive hardware and substantial processing power. However, even with these advanced features, breaches continue to occur, underscoring that top heavy cybersecurity solutions alone cannot guarantee security.

Unrealistic Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Service Level Agreements in enterprises are often impractical, with unrealistic expectations for performance and uptime. To hedge against the inevitable penalties for SLA breaches, service providers inflate their prices. This practice results in higher costs for services that still fail to meet the enterprise's security needs adequately.

The Dinosaur of Communications: IPSec

IPSec is another relic that enterprises cling to. It is notoriously slow, challenging to troubleshoot, and often poorly configured. Its complex, suboptimal paths increase the attack surface, making it an easy target for hackers. The reliance on such outdated technologies further exemplifies the disconnect between enterprise security strategies and modern cybersecurity needs.

The Fallacy of Security Through Obfuscation

Many enterprises operate under the false belief that if a security risk isn't visible, it doesn't exist. This "ostrich head in the sand" mentality means that potential threats are ignored until it's too late. Furthermore, the lack of transparency within the organization, where critical security information is not shared even among colleagues, allows attackers to move laterally without detection.

Feature Bombing: Creating an Unmanageable Attack Surface

Feature bombing is another detrimental practice where enterprises compile extensive feature lists from various vendor data sheets, resulting in a bloated and unmanageable system. These unnecessary features significantly enlarge the attack surface, providing ample opportunities for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

The Problem of Ghosting: Outdated Systems Still in Use

Fear of disrupting the fragile balance of their IT environment leads enterprises to keep outdated systems running long past their usefulness. These ghost systems are rarely updated or patched, making them prime targets for attackers. The inertia to decommission such systems ensures that vulnerabilities persist.

Wrap: The Culture and Habits of Enterprises are Their Worst Enemy

Ultimately, the inherent culture and habits of enterprises contribute significantly to their vulnerability. The insistence on complexity, reliance on outdated technologies, and poor internal communication create an environment ripe for breaches. To mitigate these risks, enterprises need to simplify their IT infrastructure, align security solutions with their business needs, and foster a culture of transparency and proactive cybersecurity practices.

The above aspect of an enterprise actually assimilates everyone who enters into the environment. Much like the Borg, you might be a totally different individual but eventually you are dragged into the mindless bot like behaviour that is the enterprise.

Enterprises must transition from being like Boeing—struggling with complexity and delays—to being more like SpaceX, which is agile, innovative, and efficient. Only then can they hope to stay ahead of the ever-evolving cyber threats.

Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa.

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Originally published on LinkedIn by Ronald Bartels: