The Importance of Adaptive Security in Every Workplace

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Adaptive security technologies can proactively protect your organization from advanced cyber threats, with real-time monitoring and automated response systems detecting and combating malicious activities that traditional defenses miss. Adaptive security can safeguard, in real-time, your most important assets - your data.

Humans don’t like change; we can adapt, but it feels uncomfortable and doesn’t happen instantly. Acclimatizing to new circumstances, challenges, and unexpected bumps in the road requires changes in our habitual patterns of behavior – that takes time.

However, cyber threats are growing alarmingly, with a 7% increase in weekly cyber attacks worldwide, an average of 1248 attacks weekly.

The battle to safeguard our businesses has reached a critical stage; twenty-four hours, 365 days a year, hackers, bots, script kiddies, and advanced persistent threats (APTs) with an arsenal of digital tools constantly probe our networks. Attempts to catch us off-guard with craftily engineered phishing hooks and other malicious attacks bombard our inboxes.

Keep in mind that cyber-criminals and the like are relentless and don’t work 9 to 5. This means responding or reacting adequately – with sufficient agility to block these continuous attacks, redirect them, or even isolate them – is outside our basic human skillset.

Our digital footprints are a mere click away from being exposed to malicious actors; how can we maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of our individual and enterprise attack surfaces?

According to estimates, the global cybersecurity market is projected to experience significant growth, with its value predicted to rise from $172.32 billion in 2023 to a staggering $424.97 billion by 2030.

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The surge in growth signifies the justification for adaptive security controls to be included in our layered and defense-in-depth strategies.

Unlocking the Power of Real-time Adaptive Security

Adaptive security controls incorporate cutting-edge machine learning algorithms and behavioral analytics. These controls can identify abnormalities, patterns, and suspicious activities in real time. They are continuously monitoring and providing enhanced protection from evolving cyber threats.

By constantly adapting and improving their defenses as security risks change, they give businesses a robust and up-to-date event-driven security response.

Safeguarding Your Systems with AI, ML & Analytics

Adaptive security continuously monitors and analyzes systems, user behavior, and network traffic. It looks for unusual data packets or suspicious activities deviating from an expected norm or baseline.

Using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and advanced analytics, adaptive security considers the context and intent behind user interactions and network packets and can differentiate between legitimate and malicious behavior – able to detect even subtle and sophisticated attacks.

What’s Wrong With Traditional Security Defenses?

Cyber threats have advanced in sophistication, rendering traditional approaches inadequate. While standard firewalls, anti-virus software, email filtering, web proxies, and intrusion detection systems have served as our initial defense, more is needed. Surviving today’s cyber attacks requires an effective, strategic, and adaptable security defense which is able to detect threats such as:

Signatures, Patterns & Anomalies

A limitation of traditional security approaches is their reliance on set-and-forget configurations, known patterns, and attack signatures.

While this defense may be effective against “known knowns”, it falls short when faced with zero-day attacks, emerging threats, and anomalies.

Legacy systems without adaptive technologies are not able to consider context, making it difficult to differentiate between legitimate and malicious behavior.

This means subtle, sophisticated attacks masquerading as legitimate user behavior aren’t detected. Malicious actors can then infiltrate network systems and dwell, gathering information and planning their data exfiltration attack.

Insider Threat

The Achilles’ heel of any organization lies within its workforce. This vulnerability is pronounced in email, where cyber-criminals prey on the human element.

Verizon’s recently published Data Breach Investigations Report serves as a stark reminder, revealing a staggering 74% of incidents involved the human factor.

It’s not groundbreaking knowledge that networks and software can be compromised if pre-existing vulnerabilities are present and exploited. However, people can be manipulated and coerced into creating vulnerabilities at any moment.

This is where adaptive security controls actively come into play to detect and thwart threats at the human layer.

Adaptive Security in Action

I’ve touched on adaptive security technologies leveraging the power of AI, ML, and behavioral analytics to detect threats, adapt, and evolve, but where could you utilize this technology?

Imagine a large financial institution with multiple branches spread across the country. Each branch has its own network infrastructure, and employees access various applications and systems to perform their daily tasks.

Below, we discuss some of the tools they should have in place.

  • Adaptive Email Security

Let’s suppose there is a sudden increase in phishing attacks targeting employees of this financial institution.

Suppose an employee receives one of these suspicious emails and unknowingly clicks on a malicious link. In that case, the adaptive system can detect this abnormal behavior and automatically restrict the employee’s access to sensitive data and systems.

Adaptive email protection could help organizations protect their cloud email systems from spam, phishing, human error, data exfiltration, and other email-based threats.

  • Access & Identity Management

Access & Identity Management controls utilize various contextual factors, such as user behavior, bio-metrics, location, time, and device type, to determine suitable levels of access granted to individuals with legitimate access requirements.

  • Network Access Control (NAC)

Network Access Control (NAC) is a powerful security solution that dynamically adapts access policies to meet changing conditions.

By continually monitoring the network and endpoints, adaptive NAC detects any changes in security posture and automatically adjusts access policies, enabling the organization to effectively mitigate risks and safeguard its network infrastructure.

  • Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) incorporate cutting-edge features, including application awareness and control, integrated intrusion prevention, and threat intelligence triggered by defined security events.

With NGFW, the financial institution can monitor and control employees’ applications, ensuring that only authorized applications are accessed.

  • Threat Intelligence

Organizations can stay updated on the latest threats and attack techniques by leveraging external threat intelligence sources. In this example, the financial institution can receive real-time threat feeds and intelligence from security vendors, enabling them to proactively identify and mitigate potential risks.

This helps the organization stay ahead of the attackers and take necessary preventive measures.

  • Incident Response (IR)

Incident response systems utilize adaptive policies and playbooks to detect and respond automatically. Adaptive security playbooks continually improve suggested solutions and response procedures to combat the latest threats and attack methods.

For example, suppose an employee inadvertently downloads a malicious file. In that case, the system can immediately detect this threat and trigger an automated response, ensuring the organization is well-prepared to combat the latest threats and attack methods.

Whether IT or operational technology (OT), the above technical controls could form part of your Attack Surface Reduction strategy.

The Benefits of Applying Adaptive Security

Adaptive security technology provides a flexible approach to modify and adapt to a company’s digital footprint – these are just some of the benefits:

  • With Adaptive security, you can swiftly detect, assess, and respond to security threats as they happen. You gain the upper hand in combating potential breaches by continuously vetting events, users, systems, and network traffic. No more waiting in the dark; you can confidently safeguard your business.
  • Your attack surface would be managed by predicting and identifying potential vulnerabilities lurking in your company’s environment, such as software vulnerabilities to unsecured employee endpoint devices and servers with risky open ports. Identifying and eliminating these weak points will fortify your defenses and create an impenetrable fortress.
  • With a comprehensive real-time view of your security posture and analysis of behaviors and events, you gain invaluable insights, enabling you to take preventative action before a breach occurs. This means you can stay one step ahead of malicious actors, protect your valuable assets, and maintain the trust of your stakeholders.
  • Adaptive security empowers your organization to adapt and enhance its security posture based on data-driven insights. By understanding your security performance, you can identify threats and vulnerabilities, quantify their impact on your bottom line, and make informed decisions to protect your business.

Flexibility is the cornerstone of Adaptive security. It seamlessly integrates across platforms and technologies, allowing you to tailor its capabilities to your organization’s unique landscape. Whether you’re a multinational corporation or a small business, Adaptive security adapts to you, not the other way around.

The Bottom Line

Understandably, organizations are constantly at risk from malicious activities perpetrated by cybercriminals, hackers, and other threat actors.

However, adaptive security technologies have emerged to combat these threats and provide a strong defense. Real-time adaptive security is a proactive way to protect networks and systems. It involves continuous monitoring and automatically adjusting security measures to fight against advanced attacks, which traditional defense systems miss.

By analyzing user behavior and network activity, these advanced security technologies quickly detect and respond to threats, reducing the chances of unauthorized access and data theft. Having the ability to adapt at speed can mean the difference between business failure and business continuity.

The benefits are clear, and the advantages are undeniable – choose Adaptive security and protect what matters most: your data assets.

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John Meah

John is a skilled freelance writer who combines his writing talent with his cybersecurity expertise. He holds an equivalent level 7 master's degree in cybersecurity and a number of prestigious industry certifications, such as PCIP, CISSP, MCIIS, and CCSK. He has spent over two decades working in IT and information security within the finance and logistics business sectors. This experience has given John a profound understanding of cybersecurity practices, making his tech coverage on Techopedia particularly insightful and valuable. He has honed his writing skills through courses from renowned institutions like the Guardian and Writers Bureau UK.