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DevOps Glossary

Cyber Security

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security refers to the set of processes, policies and techniques that work together to secure and organization against digital attacks. Digital attacks are becoming increasingly common, especially as enterprise IT organizations invest increasing amounts of money into cyber security and hackers turn their attention towards small and medium-sized businesses with fewer network security protections. Cyber attacks can be motivated by a desire to damage your business through service disruption or to steal valuable data assets that your company possesses.

Cyber security is a broad term that includes people, processes and technology. IT security analysts form part of the IT operations team that is tasked with reviewing and maintaining an organization's cyber security posture and protecting from threats. Cyber attackers attempt to identify vulnerabilities within an organization's network or systems and to exploit these vulnerabilities as attack vectors for accessing or attacking a target within the network. Cyber security analysts play a critical role in detecting and repelling these attacks to protect the business from a service interruption or data breach.

How Cyber Security Works

IT organizations deploy a range of versatile tools to satisfy their need to guard against cyber attack at various points of vulnerability. There is no single cyber security tool that can repel all types of attack from every known attack vector. Security analysts must review security measures and protocols throughout the IT infrastructure and implement a variety of preventive, detective and retrospective analytical tools to detect cyber attacks and mitigate the consequences of successful attacks.

We identify four aspects of IT infrastructure that can be secured using Cyber Security tools and technologies.

Applications - Today's applications are often deployed and supported through web-based portals, making them a potential attack vector for hackers. Cyber security operatives deploy security measures to prevent hackers from executing cyber attacks against applications. These include preventive measures such as static security testing, web application firewalls and intrusion detection systems.

Networks - Network security is a major focus for IT security analysts. Preventive tools such as network traffic analysis, firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, threat intelligence and malware analysis platforms are deployed to detect and mitigate tasks as they occur. Additional technologies such as SIM, SEM and SIEM cyber security tools, network forensics and security orchestration technologies can be implemented to detect attacks that are in-progress, identify possible security threats and perform retrospective analysis of detected anomalies or outlier data that could indicate a breach.

Endpoint - Network endpoints represent an especially vulnerable attack vector, as mobile endpoints such as laptops, mobile phones or tablets may be taken off-site and used to access unsecured networks. Endpoints can be secured using technologies such as host-based intrusion detection, anti-virus and anti-spyware software applications, and device firewalls. Processes such as mobile device management and regular patching updates can help maintain the security posture of network endpoints.

Cloud - The SaaS delivery model for cloud services has resulted in enterprise organizations accessing increasing numbers of applications through web-based application portals. Organizations that subscribe to platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, or other types of cloud services may face additional exposure to cyber security vulnerabilities through these potential attack vectors. Technologies like data discovery and classification, anomaly detection and forensic analysis can be used to prevent, detect and analyze threats to cloud-based IT infrastructure.

Why Cyber Security is Important for Business

In today's technological environment, organizations of all sizes are capturing, creating and storing massive amounts of data. While this data can be used to inform decision-making and drive value creation, it can also be stolen by cyber attackers with dramatic consequences for the business. We identify three major risks that businesses and IT organizations can mitigate through effective cyber security processes and countermeasures.

Cyber Supports Compliance with Standards and Regulations

If your organization collects payment card information from its customers, you are responsible for complying with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DDS). If you collect health care information, such as payment records from Americans, you are probably covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). You may want to maintain an ISO 27001 Information Security Management certificate, which requires you to establish effective controls to protect data security and privacy.

Whatever the case, failure to maintain cyber security in these cases could result in legal fines and penalties, loss of your certification or a loss of trust with payment card companies that could ultimately sink your business.

Cyber Security Protects Services from Unplanned Downtime

Organizations of all sizes rely on the uninterrupted functioning of core applications to support their most important revenue-driving business processes. For large organizations, the cost of application outages can easily reach into the thousands, hundred of thousands, or even millions of dollars in cases where the outage lasts for much longer than is acceptable.

While many cyber attackers are focused on stealing data that can be sold in illegal marketplaces, cyber attackers can also be initiated by competitor companies who wish to gain an edge by attacking your systems and services.

The financial impact of service outages varies from company to company, with estimates ranging from $90,000 per hour for media companies to nearly $6.5 million per hour for large online financial brokerages. Organizations that implement the necessary procedures and systems to maintain cyber security benefit from reduced application and network downtime that has a direct return-on-investment for the organization.

Cyber Security Prevents Costly Data Breaches

Data breaches are enormously expensive and most IT organizations today are shocking ineffective at preventing, containing or even detecting them when they happen. Research from IBM discovered that the average organization takes 197 days to identify that a data breach occurred and an additional 69 days to contain it.

For organizations that respond late to data breaches, the pain doesn't end there. Notification costs, fines and penalties, regulatory compliance audits and litigation can all stem from a single data breach where sensitive customer information is compromised. Effective cyber security countermeasures significantly reduce the risk of a data breach that could cost your company millions of dollars.

Enhance Your Cyber Security with Sumo Logic

When it comes to maintaining cyber security throughout your IT infrastructure, organizations must develop capabilities to prevent attacks as they happen, detect and identify possible security threats and forensically analyze data to investigate anomalies and outliers. With Sumo Logic's cloud SIEM tool, your IT organization benefits from data-driven threat detection and automated incident response capabilities with custom alerts. Sumo Logic helps your IT organization respond to threats as they occur, streamline forensic investigations and access the most up-to-date threat intelligence to maintain your cyber security posture.