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Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few years.

Business leaders across the country have had to address hybrid work, with many organizations moving key data and applications into the cloud or virtualized parts of their network infrastructure to accommodate for this shift. Meanwhile, throughout the country, billions of Internet-connected sensors and devices are helping give companies unprecedented visibility and control over their operations.

These changes have unlocked new levels of business agility and have promoted innovation. However, we can’t ignore that they have also heightened the need for robust protection and compliance.

The pressures of protection and compliance

It’s not surprising that cloud and IoT technologies have expanded the attack surface. Every additional sensor, application and device is another point on the boundary of an IT system or environment where malware and cyber attackers can enter the network, potentially harming productivity, brand reputation and the bottom line. The average cost of ransomware incident to Canadian organization is $1.5M, significantly higher for larger organizations at $2.2M.1

Additionally, companies must comply with evolving national and international regulations and industry standards (e.g., PCI, PIPEDA and others), which requires updates to approaches and certifications, in order to maintain compliance.

Staying protected and compliant is increasingly challenging in today’s complex IT landscape. So, what can be done? The answer starts with understanding where the challenges lie.

Staying secure in a cloud-centric world

With the promise of scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency – values of even greater importance with the move to a hybrid working world – cloud services are increasingly vital to business. In fact, 80% of Canadian organizations are shifting to cloud-based infrastructure and applications.2

However, moving data and workloads to the cloud can increase risk. Businesses need to protect the devices and connections people use outside the office as well as those they use on premises. Cloud misconfiguration, named by 68% of enterprises as their biggest security concern,2 can imperil the traffic, data and features of the cloud experience. In fact, 84% Canadian organizations reported ransomware infections in the last 12 months. The median was two incidents per organization.1

Businesses need a robust security strategy with solutions to protect data in storage and in transit, and the right expertise to avoid leaving parts of their environments vulnerable.

Contending with IoT endpoints

IoT technologies are key drivers of business agility and innovation. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, every sensor and device deployed is another endpoint attackers can potentially exploit.

Data transmissions are at risk of interception, while devices are subject to becoming botnets used to launch attacks, steal data, crash servers and distribute malware. Many worry about the very worst cases involving vast exposures of private customer information, leading to serious reputational and financial harms. But even non-sensitive data can have a considerable impact on service delivery and quality, especially if systems are taken offline.

These threats underscore the importance of sourcing IoT devices, sensors and applications from trusted providers – and running solutions over a secure, reliable network.

How to stay protected

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to security. A solid defence requires a comprehensive strategy that reflects today’s realities and your specific needs. That strategy should touch on three key areas: people, process and technology.

  • People: Ensure comprehensive employee training on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify phishing attempts and malicious ads. Insist on multi-factor authentication and other security measures.
  • Process:Use zero-trust principles to give users access only to the network areas their roles require. This will help prevent data leaks and intrusions.
  • Technology: Deploy the most appropriate and secure network technology for your use cases and requirements. Using multiple networks can also enhance security by providing the option to isolate sensitive corporate data.

A key component of the success of any security strategy is a clear understanding of responsibilities for securing cloud-based data and applications. Most cloud providers adhere to the “shared responsibility model.” Within it, cloud providers manage the underlying infrastructure, offering protection and security, while key factors like password management, endpoint device protection and access management tend to fall to the cloud subscriber.

How to stay compliant

Compliance frameworks aim to create safe and secure IT environments. However, many undergo frequent changes and updates, which can make it challenging to stay compliant with the many regulations and standards that apply to your business.

Some enterprises have dedicated compliance departments tasked with staying abreast of relevant regulations and standards. This kind of intelligence – found externally or in-house – is essential to implementing the policy, procedural and technology updates required to ensure compliance with data privacy laws.

For cloud deployments, there are tools that can check your compliance against frameworks and standards, highlighting compliance gaps and informing your overall security posture.

Partnering for protection and compliance

Even if all the above precautions are taken, there is no such thing as a flawless defence. You can defend against and prepare for what’s known, but a “black swan” or a new type of cyber threat is always a risk. And even dedicated compliance departments can find it hard to match the pace of regulatory change.

Bell understands the pressure you’re under and the challenges you face, and is committed to helping you meet them head on. As Canada’s largest network, Bell has a unique vantage point over the Canadian threat landscape and leverages this insight in every solution we discuss and build for our clients.

We take pride in having a highly skilled and certified team of security professionals, our robust portfolio of security solutions, and our best-in-class partnerships with the world’s leading security providers. Combined with our expertise in network infrastructure, IoT and Cloud, these attributes give Bell the ability to deliver the tailored, integrated and secure solutions your business needs.

With Bell, you are supported by a team you can trust.

Sources :
1. IDC Canadian Security Ecosystem Pulse, 3Q22: The State of Ransomware, July 2022.
2. Cybersecurity-insiders.com. Cloud Security Report, 2022.

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