Securing the Future: 3 Essential Cybersecurity Strategies to Combat Emerging Threats

December 6, 2023

No business is safe from cyber threats. Just check out your news feed and you’ll see stories about ransomware, data breaches, phishing scams, and a grab bag of other hair-raising hazards to your business. Whether for geopolitical or financial gain, hackers are willing and eager to put the time and effort into compromising any system or user they can exploit in the hopes of achieving their goals.

The good news is you don’t have to be their next big score.

For every sensational story about prominent organizations being breached, there are millions of unsung success stories of cyber defense. They just don’t get talked about. Remember, we’re aware of every cold that wears us down, but not the times our immune systems did the job of identifying and repelling germs.

So, as you’re getting ready for the next year, make sure you keep these cybersecurity insights and strategies in mind to protect your enterprise—as well as the talent and leadership you need to address them.

Fighting Ransomware: Keeping Blackmail at Bay

“Your files are encrypted.” Seeing that message on your screen is a waking nightmare, but it’s not uncommon anymore. Estimates from Malwarebytes show a record high of 1,900 ransomware incidents between July 2022 and June 2023. Plus, the FBI is issuing warnings about dual attacks where cyber criminals hit twice, the second attack often 48 hours after the first. It’s long since gone from fringe to mainstream threat.

Though ransomware is part of the reality of running a business, your team can take action to ensure this form of digital blackmail isn’t an easy prospect.

Maintaining Your Disaster Recovery Plan: Only 54% of organizations have a disaster recovery plan. Even then, the speed at which IT assets multiply puts companies at some value loss due to malicious encryption. Conducting quarterly IT audits can ensure all critical data is protected. Plus, it’s time business leaders treat 24-hour backup schedules (on cloud or on-prem storage) as mandatory, with more copies created during days or weeks with busier workloads.

Addressing Double Extortion: Sometimes, ransoming your data is only part of cybercriminals’ plans. We’re seeing more hackers hedging their bets with double extortion: encrypting your files in hopes of a ransom payment while also exfiltrating them outside of your system for sale on the dark web later.

The trick in this case is to make sure all sensitive data is already encrypted, deterring hackers from even trying this tactic. Moreover, you want to store that encryption key in a separate place from the data itself. Otherwise, hackers can lock you out with their own encryption.

Exploring AI Cybersecurity: Your Virtual Reinforcements

You can’t be everywhere at once – that’s what hackers are counting on. Either they or their own AI tools will explore every corner of your perimeter or cyber-preparedness practices in search of a weak point they can compromise. With artificial intelligence, you can complete the gaps in your security.

AI isn’t just for writing basic college essays or making psychedelic art. Big tech companies are already turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence to hunt down vulnerabilities and bolster their cyber defenses. Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President Security, Compliance, Identity, Management & Privacy at Microsoft, is calling tools like generative AI a superpower, “which is helping us defend at machine speed and scale.” But what does that look like in practice?

Creating Realistic Tests: How do you prepare for the worst? With practice threat simulations. The large language models (LLMs) found in generative AI tools are sophisticated enough to devise realistic phishing campaigns to test against your people. This way, you can gauge employees’ cybersecurity habits and coach them on how to spot the signs of common attack tactics.

Boosting Real-Time Threat Detection: If you’re only ever detecting a threat after it has occurred, you’re moving too late. Companies need to prevent attacks or counteract those measures in real time. One way is to separate real attacks from false positives. AI-powered tools are increasingly effective at filtering incident alerts, eliminating false positives before your response team wastes time on needless work. When it does detect suspicious activities, you can train other automated programs to shut down those exploitative efforts or even the compromised systems themselves.

Engineering Your Shield: Enhancing Secure Development Processes

Application vulnerabilities are one of the most common attack vectors cyber criminals test out. Their strategy is to leave no stone unturned trying to find zero-day back doors into your systems or gaps in your defenses. Sophisticated and unrelenting threats like these require businesses to fortify software engineering processes if they’re going to avoid major breaches.

Embracing DevSecOps: Siloed thinking has long been a downfall of IT operations. By marrying development, security, and operations into DevSecOps, businesses unlock a unified approach that embeds security at every stage of software development. With this methodology, security is never an afterthought but is a central element as you analyze requirements, plan the scope, architect the design, code, and launch the application.

Encouraging Bug Bounties: Can hackers help you out in the cyber security process? They can if they’re ethical hackers trying to earn payment through bug bounty programs. This tactic still proves to be useful for organizations that want real-world experts to test the limits of their systems. OpenAI, the DoD, Malwarebytes, and other organizations have launched these beneficial programs this year, so why shouldn’t you?

Hiring the Right Talent to Stay on Your Toes

With cyber threats on the rise, your business increasingly depends on cybersecurity experts to keep you vigilant, protecting your business from as many emerging threats as possible. Ransomware may knock, AI might explore your defenses, and phishing scams may test the vigilance of your people, but having the right talent in place can guard your digital presence. CRB is experienced in finding cybersecurity professionals who can mitigate risk, evolve your cybersecurity strategies, and keep your business operating at full efficiency.

Don’t let cyber threats hinder your profits or performance. Partner with CRB today, and let’s build a team that defends your digital assets with essential cybersecurity strategies.

Interested in working with us?

Whether you’re a company looking to attract the brightest minds in your industry or a candidate looking for a career change, we are here to help. We can fill your short/long term opportunities or a direct hire need.