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The Need for Speed: How to Respond to Cybersecurity Issues Quickly Yet Comprehensively

By ECI | Tuesday, October 11th, 2022
For investment firms, cybersecurity failures can happen in an instant. A hacker breaks into your customer database. An employee inadvertently downloads a data-stealing virus. A finance team member falls for a phishing scheme and transfers funds to a fraudulent account.

Yet most cybercrimes play out over time. That hacker might use stolen credentials to break into your network and then move laterally through systems until they get to valuable data. That virus might lie dormant until it’s activated and begins exfiltrating data. That finance employee might receive phishing emails for weeks before they’re convinced of the perpetrator’s legitimacy.

The key is to stay ahead of the cybercriminals. The faster you can sense and respond to the warning signs, the more often you can stop a cyberattack before it becomes a data leak or system interruption.

After all, with cyberattacks, it’s not a matter of if, but when. And after-the-fact investigation and remediation are far more time-consuming and costly than early detection and action. So, it pays to invest in the technologies and strategies that reduce cyber risk upfront.

The Power of Layered Detection

Cyber breach prevention begins with early detection. The key to early detection is layered capabilities. If an attack evades one form of detection, another detection technology can uncover it.

There are several essential weapons in the layered-detection arsenal. First is a comprehensive security information and event management (SIEM) solution or service. Your firm’s systems generate large quantities of security-relevant data, including user, device, and application activity. SIEM captures those data feeds to identify security risks.

Effective SIEM combines real-time identification of security issues with immediate analysis and alerts. It also logs security data and generates reports to help ensure and demonstrate regulatory compliance.

There are other important layers. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) homes in on threats against laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Dark-web monitoring scours the internet’s criminal corners to find stolen user credentials and prevent account takeovers (ATOs). Phishing testing, training, and reporting can significantly reduce risk associated with social-engineering attacks.

Integrating Cybersecurity and Operations

The more datapoints you collect, the more raw material you can leverage for real-time visibility into your cyber posture. Of course, there’s always the risk of losing the signal in the noise. That was a key lesson of the infamous Target data breach of 2013, one of the largest in history. The retail giant was capturing vast quantities of security data, but alarm bells went unheeded.

An effective SIEM service will combine anomaly detection with machine learning (ML) and a security operations center (SOC) to weed out false alarms and surface actual threats. Centralizing and prioritizing threats on one network empowers SOC analysts to conduct the right analysis and take the right action.

Taking the right action is where people – the often-forgotten element of cybersecurity – come into play. Rapid response to security issues involves not just technology but also policies, processes, and people. Your firm needs detailed policies and processes to guide how you respond to a cyber event. Crucially, those processes involve informing and updating the right people at the right time.

The right people include not just the cyber analysts who investigate potential breaches. They also involve the operations decision-makers and team members who can shut down accounts, lock down networks, install patches, reconfigure systems, and take other actions that stop and attack before it becomes a data leak.

MSP or MSSP?

Many investment firms lack the technical staff to handle day-to-day management of their IT infrastructures. For these organizations, a managed service provide (MSP) provides an effective solution.

Likewise, many firms are short on talent to respond to proliferating security threats. These organizations can benefit from a managed security service provider (MSSP).

But as cloud technology increase in complexity and cyber threats multiply, a growing number of firms are recognizing the value in turning to the same trusted partner for both MSP and MSSP services. Relying on a combined MSP and MSSP enables firms to integrate cybersecurity and operations in a way that ensures rapid and comprehensive response to cyberattacks.

An effective MSP and MSSP marries layered detection with a dedicated, 24x7 SOC to surface actual threats, analyze the risk in real time, and immediately mobilize a response. Teams are coordinated to evaluate systems against best practices, identify and correct weak policies or configurations, achieve fine-grained risk scoring based on thousands of indicators, and ensure compliance with cybersecurity and regulatory standards. The result is an unmatched ability to stop cyberattacks in their tracks – before they result in the financial, legal, and business impacts of data loss or system interruption.

 
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