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Cyber defence must be a top priority for South African Business 

by Media Xpose

With big tech now actively advocating for a more online world, driven by a fourth industrial revolution, the Internet of Things and the Metaverse, the average individual has never before had so much of their lives on the Internet – and with this comes the need to secure organisational and personal data. Carlo Bolzonello, country lead for Trellix South Africa, discusses the new era of cyber threats and the evolving response needed to keep abreast of it. 

One Device to Rule Them All 

Imagine an average professional working for your corporation or department, and his daily life – we’ll call him Mike. 

Mike wakes up and checks his social media and SMS notifications. Maybe he’ll search a news video and broadcast it onto his smart television while he dresses.  

Touching his phone to the door frame, he locks his door on the way out, and the same to open his car, thanks to near-field communication (NFC) technology.  

On his way home, he’ll use NFC again to pay for his petrol and order breakfast for delivery to his office through a food app. Throughout the day, he’ll use his phone to video call, pay accounts, check his fitness progress, read the news, conduct meetings, send sensitive company documents and a myriad of personal and professional activities. 

Data is Gold 

The convenience and accessibility of the digital revolution have offered companies the flexibility to have work done from anywhere in the world, bringing operational costs down vastly. 

For employees, digital tools offer them the ability to stay connected and informed at all times, integrating an array of functionality expanding at an exponential rate. 

The data generated in companies’ increasingly AI-enabled operations, social platforms and e-commerce services are valuable business data that will be the new engine of economic growth. 

However, established cybersecurity strategies are not enough in this increasingly complex environment, where the integration of devices means organisations must now invest more in training and equipping their employees to be protected while online. 

Vulnerability Everywhere 

As we grow more equipped, we are becoming more vulnerable, as we entrust more of our lives to the digital world. 

More people conducting business online means that organisations have more work on their hands, not just monitoring their own internal servers but their employees and the increasingly blended online profiles. 

Managing Risk  

Trellix insights, from the company’s telemetry data, together with third party data specifically filtered by Trellix for the South African threat landscape, reveal that recent years have seen a rise in cyberattacks on South African individuals and organisations by global hacking groups. Using a variety of techniques and tools, ambitious predators no longer just see large companies, but everyone as fair game.  

In today’s world of digitisation, no one can go without a smartphone, with everything stored in the cloud, from banking details, insurance details, work folders, family images, and even crypto wallet information. 

This means that no longer can we sustain a business culture where cyber defence is seen as a “nice-to-have”. The growing exposure to the digital world means it is a must-have, even for small and medium-sized organisations. 

Neither are traditional approaches to security efficient. Business managers need to adopt a comprehensive approach that involves targeted technologies that leverage extended detection and response (XDR) strategies, continuously developing skills, as well as user best practice and policies.  

Indeed, the evolution of threats means companies must also factor in the vulnerabilities their employees, individuals like Mike, represent. As more people than ever are using IoT devices for both personal and work use, businesses must ensure that employees understand the risks associated with connected devices, social media and email vulnerabilities that can be used as entry points to businesses.  Companies must proactively mitigate these risks by consistently educating the workforce on how to best protect their devices, and themselves, from malicious threat actors. 

Powered by the Trellix Advanced Research Center, organisations are able to keep tabs on prevalent threats, like ransomware, identity theft and other emerging tactics used by threat actors to exploit valuable data. This real-time actionable intelligence allows for more effective interventions against the fast-evolving threat landscape.  

The flexible Trellix XDR (extended detection and response) platform connects all Trellix technologies and a broad network of over 650 vendor partners and tools to provide a seamless Security Operation experience in one place. Gone are the days where cybersecurity is only understood by expert technicians – continuous, live updates on XDR ensure that even the most recently emerging malware is identified and eliminated. 

All businesses should keep cybersecurity among their top priorities: while we may not be able to do much to prevent the forward march of technology, we can become more aware of our vulnerabilities, tactics used by attackers, and respond accordingly, swiftly and intelligently. 

Carlo Bolzonello – Trellix SA country lead

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