In the last two decades, virtually every company has created an online presence for customer engagement: from buying a car online (1 million will be purchased this way in 2020) to online food delivery (a $200 billion market), Frost & Sullivan research shows all aspects of work and life are migrating to cloud-based, online points of access. Along with client-facing options, most companies also have internal functions that require online data transfer and access. From work email and customer relationship management (CRM) to Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices at manufacturing plants or out in the field, to almost all aspects of infrastructure, the need for near-perfect online availability cannot be overstated.
As a result, companies invest significant time and effort to ensure information, and access to it, is safe and secure but also fast and effective. Many companies also realize that, unless they are one of the few actually in the cybersecurity business, partnering with a solution provider is their best bet to keep both costs and risks manageable.
Most companies, and especially those with vulnerable, cloud-based operations, will take several measures to ensure security. These include having a clear cybersecurity strategy, employing smart and relevant solution providers and partners, and ensuring their employees are continuously trained on best practices to help avoid data breaches. However, as the number and type of access points continue to grow exponentially—including every cell phone, email, and connected piece of equipment, for example—so grows the opportunity for a threat actor to infiltrate a system and cause potentially irreparable and costly damage. CNBC reported that in 2019 alone, nearly 8 billion consumer records had been hacked, with notable incidents such as Capital One (100 million records compromised) and mobile game producer Zynga (218 records). Another notable attack was that of convenience store WAWA, which had credit card information stolen from customers using its 850 stores in an attack that went unnoticed from March until December.
Cybercriminals and other threat actors are becoming more sophisticated and dangerous in their attacks. Fortunately, the industry is responding with increasingly innovative and intelligent solutions to protect company, personal, and government information. For instance, solutions that can be deployed at the point in which the data is accessed by the user, i.e., at the “edge,” help create a filter to capture and repel threats before they can infiltrate the connected device, cloud, or system. Shouldering security at the edge also enables the business site’s energy to be spent on business processes, allowing, for example, faster web traffic speed and higher app availability.
There are a few key steps that companies need to undertake to see if their current level of cybersecurity is sufficient and to assess how to remedy it accordingly:
- Evaluate your current situation: An important first step in the process is to review what you currently have, who provides it, and how well it fits your business. Is your current supplier offering extra layers of security or just the basic level offered to all others in your industry? Strong cybersecurity is not only critical protection but also a huge competitive advantage.
For example, an email security system is necessary but may only catch about 95% of phishing scams, and when companies are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of scammers per month, that remaining 5% can still be a significant figure. Does the email cybersecurity solution provider stop there, as most do, or is there another step—either from them or another party—to mitigate this potentially debilitating 5%?
- Plan for your “future state”: As important as it is to understand your current protection, how will your needs evolve with your growth? Will your supplier enable this growth or stymie it? Will you need to move to a multi-cloud environment, for example, or open operations in foreign countries, and will your supplier automatically apply security across those scenarios?
- Understand your industry: A utility, a hospital, and a bank are all entrusted with sensitive information; however, they are different businesses with different types and uses of data. Does your current or proposed provider have expertise in your industry and your customers’ industries?
Edge-based solutions are a relatively new development in the world of cybersecurity, and companies should evaluate key aspects of their vendor options to ensure the right fit. However, they have the distinct advantage of being nimble and dynamic as they are not tied to a specific device or cloud. Akamai and IBM Edge Delivery Services, for example, are cloud-agnostic and protect multi-cloud environments, which means they can grow and evolve with their customers’ business. IBM’s decades of industry expertise across global markets also means that, odds are, it has already successfully protected companies in your industry. It also employs advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help identify patterns and vulnerabilities before they turn into events because while detection is great, prevention is better. Having a solution that protects your business and helps enable its growth is critical in today’s new cyber threat reality.
More information about protecting your company and data starting at the edge and beyond can be found at edgedeliveryservices.com.