Although business leaders occasionally hear about disastrous cybersecurity breaches in the news, it’s difficult to imagine how these things could happen to them and their business. All the hackers will be focused on the “big prizes” like the Fortune 500 companies and multinationals, right?
Not so long ago, a small business in our state got targeted by sophisticated threat actors who managed to infiltrate their networks, gain administrative privileges, and nearly managed to clear out their accounts with fraudulent wire transfers. The truth is that no business is too small to go unnoticed today, especially when hackers have automated tools that probe the defenses of many companies at once.
In this kind of cybersecurity landscape, it’s important that your business invests in having a 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) that uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and constant surveillance to counter the sophisticated tools that hackers now have. Instead of waiting until a breach becomes noticeable and damage has already been done, a Security Operations Center is able to flag problematic activity within your networks and mitigate a breach before it gets out of control.
How Modern Hackers Work
In the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, a cybersecurity breach is almost never a one-off event. Today’s hackers will spend weeks – or even months – lurking inside your systems and designing ways to inflict the maximum amount of damage. This is what happened to the business in our state, where a phishing attack using a fake identification allowed hackers inside a 40-person network.
For a week, nothing happened. Then, multiple people began asking the company CEO about various requests for money transfers that he had sent. Thankfully, the deception was found out before the transfers had been approved, but it was a very close call.
During the remediation process, we discovered that the person who had been hit with the phishing attack was the global administrator of the company’s Microsoft D365 environment, which meant that the hackers were able to view everything happening within the company. This allowed them to choose the most likely – and the most devastating – points of attack within the systems, and they were nearly successful in exploiting the human elements within the company to move money out of the accounts.
Even worse, the hacker was able to send out 200,000 emails to external contacts on behalf of the company CEO, which contained malware packages designed to infiltrate those companies as well. Even though no direct monetary losses were sustained, this was a disaster for the company and a major wake-up call about the importance of cybersecurity.
How Security Operations Centers Keep You Safe
Although this company had an internal IT resource and some outsourced cybersecurity support, the hacker in this situation was just too sophisticated to catch with traditional tools. This is where a Security Operations Center, armed with AI and big data tools, can save your business by identifying the subtle hints of a breach as they happen.
For example, the hacker in our case study started manipulating the administrator users and settings after they gained access to the systems, which was what allowed them to send out so many fake emails. These kinds of things are what a Security Operations Center can protect your business from, as any suspicious traffic is immediately flagged and contained.
Instead of letting a single phishing attack spiral into a public embarrassment and near-bankruptcy, having a 24/7 resource that is totally dedicated to cybersecurity gives you not only a sophisticated line of defense against hackers, but peace of mind that any small mistakes your employees might make, like clicking on the wrong link in an email, won’t lead to major catastrophes for your business.
For businesses that deal with sensitive customer data of any kind, investing in having a Security Operations Center oversee your cybersecurity function is one of your best lines of defense against threat actors who are after your data specifically. Also, as more businesses move to cloud systems that are integrated with other solutions, like ERP systems, having visibility into your network activity and early warning of potential threats could protect more than just your reputation and your bank account.
Benefits of 24/7 Security Operations Center
One of the major advantages of working with a Security Operations Center is having both AI and human attention on your network activity at all times of the day. This kind of dedicated protection is difficult for many small businesses to manage with in-house resources, which means that hackers operating in other parts of the world can take advantage of your IT team’s sleep schedule to exploit vulnerabilities for long periods of time.
The speed factor is also another advantage of investing in a Security Operations Center. The last thing you need is to arrive at your office one morning and discover that your network is unusable, your data is being held for ransom, and that your contact lists have been exploited to send malware to everyone your company has ever interacted with. These kinds of catastrophes take time for hackers to set up, and being able to recognize and quarantine suspicious traffic within your systems makes it much more difficult for them to find that time.
Partnering with a 24/7 cybersecurity resource also helps you improve your security posture over time, as their tools will identify weak points in your system on an ongoing basis. The kinds of reporting you’ll get from a Security Operations Center will help you identify and prioritize needed updates, upgrades, and fixes, as their big data approaches bring new perspectives to the table.
Finally, a Security Operations Center is one of the only kinds of resource that can effectively identify and neutralize what are known as “zero day threats”, or entirely new kinds of cyberattacks that have not yet been identified by firewalls and other tools. Because a Security Operations Center focuses on network traffic that seems out of the ordinary, their teams are still able to identify and respond to threats that nobody has ever encountered before. Given how fast hackers continue to innovate, this kind of cybersecurity capability is becoming increasingly important.
Working with Kalmer Solutions
Kalmer Solutions provides managed IT services for the modern workforce. Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, we support our clients with virtual CIO services, technology upgrades, cloud-based computing, IT support, cybersecurity, the fulfillment of compliance requirements, and more. Our goal is to become your trusted IT partner and add long-term strategic value. Contact us today to learn more about how working with us can transform your business.