Mav Turner, of SolarWinds highlights how far IT security has come and how nearly 40 per cent of UK companies are more secure than a year ago…
Things are looking up in the world of IT security. As high-profile hacks and lesson-worthy leaks hit the headlines, people are taking their security situation seriously. A recent survey by SolarWinds found that there has been significant improvements in IT security preparedness and effectiveness among UK public and private sector organisations. More than a third (39%) of organisations are less vulnerable than they were a year ago, compared to the 27 percent who fear they are more vulnerable. Increased security is also speeding up response times; with almost half (42%) of respondents revealing the time it takes to detect a threat has decreased since 2015.
So where are these improvements in security posture coming from? Among those who said their organisations are now less vulnerable than they were a year ago, the top five reasons reported were:
1. Improved patch management
Acquiring, testing, and installing multiple patches can be tricky. To get the best from patch management, organisations are relying on software that notifies of newly available patches. Good patch management also means good documentation; document the entire process following every successful deployment – this will simplify and streamline subsequent patches. Automated tools can speed up deployment, saving time by simplifying patch management on servers/workstations.
2. Implementation of configuration change management, alerting and approval tools
By managing an NCCM solution, organisations are able to avoid mistakes and other incidents that could have easily been prevented with the right technological tools. In the past, network changes and configuration practices required distinct knowledge of network devices, command line interface (CLI) scripting and long hours of often-tedious work. By adding this the tool kit, network changes and configurations can be nearly effortless in terms of deployment and upkeep.
3. Adoption of intrusion detection and prevention systems
Knowing what is happening within your organisation is key to staying on top of your security. Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS / IPS) that monitor network and/or system activities for malicious activity can help to identify and stop malicious activity.
4. Implementation of security analytics solutions, such as security information and event management (SIEM) tools
Monitoring and log analysis tools are also key to knowing what is happening within your organisation’s security posture. SIEM tools provide real-time analysis of network hardware and applications which correlate to actionable events.
5. Implementation or improvements to an identity management system
Identity management systems can help IT pros know who has authorisation and access to their systems and networks to better control security and manage a central database without needing a long list of system passwords. This allows IT pros to take the burden off the user and keep the system secure.
With better security technologies and training principles, public and private organisations are ensuring they are better protected for the future. Seeing higher adoption of these tools into your security program is a positive sign the industry is moving in the right direction. However, it’s important for IT professionals to never get too confident in their organisations’ security posture, as this can potentially result in overestimating one’s defences.
After all, the findings illustrate how high the stakes are—while less than one-third of UK organisations experienced a security breach in 2015, of those, 77 percent store potentially sensitive customer data. The IT team needs to ensure it is applying the best principles, tools and training initiatives to protect its organisation and its data. Through a strong IT security posture, both the public and private sectors can reduce the likelihood of organisations becoming victim to a headline grabbing security threat.