Smart analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can pinpoint pattern deviations and help companies make informed decisions on where cybersecurity weak points are, as well as how to address them, says information technology (IT) multinational Wipro Cybersecurity & Risk Services-Africa director and chief executive Sanjay Vaid.
Smart, integrated security systems that use biometrics, encryption and advanced threat detection are necessary for any business that deals with data, which, if accessed by a cybercriminal, could compromise their operations, he emphasises.
“When cybercriminals attack a network, they usually aim to obtain information of a business or person to use for financial gain. Businesses that lack sufficient IT security leave their data, and that of their customers, susceptible to cybercrime attacks, which compromises the confidentiality of their information and services.”
Financial and insurance enterprises are most at risk, their data usually being the most sensitive. Cybercriminals seek out vulnerable targets in financial and insurance institutions to obtain financial information and, subsequently, fraudulent gain directly from an internal source.
“Much of the data that cybercriminals need to complete fraudulent transactions or illegally access funds is contained within the institutions’ servers or databases,” emphasises Vaid.
Further, for businesses, financial institutions and insurance houses whose customers are impacted, even a small breach in confidentiality can negatively impact on the success of the institution. Loss of confidentiality often results in a damaged reputation, lost customers and even loss of future business, he adds.
Hackers can find their way into unprotected networks and corrupt, shut down or otherwise disable the entire operation, from communication systems to servers to stealing or compromising customer data.
“Cybercrime compromises the integrity of a business, industry or even country. Critical infrastructure, including utilities such as energy, water, oil and gas and nuclear plants, and military installations, can be impaired as a result of cyberattacks. For example, downtime is a critical problem, particularly for telecommunications and Internet service providers – but remains true for all industries.
Therefore, businesses, industry and government need to have a 360º view of their IT and operational technology (OT) security to avoid cyberbreaches, he states.
The use of analytics and intelligence can provide this monitoring function to highlight deviations and aberrations that can be pre-emptively addressed and mitigated.
“In a connected world, with a proliferation of smart devices, Internet-of-Things-enabled devices and multiple access points to any network, organisations have to take pre- emptive cybersecurity precautions. Further, when planning security architecture, it is important to consider the impact of the current security landscape and global regulatory environment.”
Owing to the regulatory and financial risks organisations face as a result of a breach, it is vital that organisations keep abreast of cybercrime trends and ensure they are sufficiently protected against any threat which could compromise their availability, confidentiality and integrity.
Real-time monitoring tools, including smart analytics and AI systems, help companies acquire a holistic view of their organisation’s IT and OT systems and help to make informed decisions.
Cybersecurity should not be treated as a standalone or separate business requirement, but as integral to business processes and operations, he concludes.