ICN's Network Services Bureau Chief, Ryan Mulhall, provides insights on tackling cybersecurity to protect vital systems and data.
What recommendations or tips do we have for our customers to help them maintain their security online when more employees are teleworking.
Most entities should be using a virtual private network (VPN) solution to connect employees/students to the organization’s information technology (IT) network. In addition to keeping the VPN solutions updated and patched themselves, this allows organizations to keep user’s machines and software updated as well. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is highly recommended when logging into VPN solutions, and if not feasible strong password policies should be in place. Security awareness still plays an important part as threat actors are taking advantage of working from home to perpetrate new scams, and users recognizing phishing e-mails and taking appropriate action when they receive them is still the most effective preventative measure out there.
What security lessons can our customers learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mulhall: Covid-19 and similar viruses spread just like computer viruses there are a lot of similarities in protecting yourself and your organization from each. Preventative measures to mitigate the risk of catching either are of increased importance. Scammers, cybercriminals, and nation states have taken advantage of the situation with phishing campaigns that have disrupted healthcare services, and targeted the federal governments relief effort for citizens and business alike.
How has the cyber security landscape shifted?
Mulhall: First, the positives that I’ve seen. It is encouraging that security seems to be more of a priority at almost all organizations. Laws and regulations appear to be a priority as well and can hopefully begin to catch up. Budgets seem to be increasing for security and the demand for skilled workers is at an all-time high. There is also an increase in the awareness of the general public. Overall a shift is occurring from trying to prevent incidents to protecting organizations from them.
Unfortunately, we are still far from where we need to be as an industry. What’s old is new in security; as old vulnerabilities and attacks continue to rear their head because they work. The adoption of cloud technologies has opened up a whole new can of worms when it comes to security.
What security services are available from ICN?
Mulhall: The ICN currently provides Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Mitigation, Managed Firewall and Unified Threat Management Service with Security Monitoring, Incident Response and Forensics, and various network and security assessments on the product roadmap in the near future. We want to be the security go-to resource; from putting in protections, to reduce the likelihood of being a victim, to stepping in and helping when something inevitably happens.
Why is working with ICN important versus going directly to the vendor?
Mulhall: There are a few benefits that working with the ICN on security can provide our users. These security services through our Managed Service Providers have already been vetted through an extensive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. You can come to one place and receive one bill from the ICN for these services and realize the benefits of a cooperative model and cost savings.
Why is it important to strengthen security protection?
Mulhall: This reminds me of a quote by ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers. It goes “There are two types of companies; those that have been hacked, and those who don’t know they have been hacked.” The sooner you accept the fact the sooner you can take a realistic view of your organization, people, process, and technology. In my estimation the best way to start protecting yourself is more proactive monitoring and blocking of threats and risks to your network, critical systems, and data coupled with a good auditing and risk management process.
What does the future look like for cybersecurity?
Mulhall: There is a big effort towards information sharing among cybersecurity vendors that hopefully evolves rapidly. The cybersecurity industry will also continue to work to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation.