Is It Time to Go on the Cyber Attack?

Short answer: No. But you should help customers become proactive in their defenses.

Lorna Garey

March 27, 2017

3 Min Read
Is It Time to Go on the Cyber Attack?

Lorna GareyA new Forbes Insight report, produced with BMC, caught my eye this week thanks to an alarming extended headline: “Enterprises Re-Engineer Security in the Age of Digital Transformation: CIOs and CISOs Need a New Security Model to Close Today’s Security Gaps and Effectively Wage Cyber Warfare.”

While the idea of striking back is attractive, security experts advise against private companies going on the offense. Even if you could positively attribute an attack – a huge if – do you really want to help a customer take a virtual shot at, potentially, a nation-state bad actor or organized crime ring with deep pockets and plenty of time?

Probably not. And as it turns out, Forbes and BMC aren’t, in fact, advocating waging cyber warfare. Instead, they say customer IT leaders are becoming more proactive. The report cites 2017 investment plans among more than 300 CIOs and CISOs surveyed that de-emphasize passive solutions like anti-malware. In fact, the report says advanced antivirus ranked lowest in funding plans.

Where the money is going instead: Patch-automation systems, cloud-based security tracking and management services, breach detection, encryption and data-loss prevention. A majority, more than two-thirds, will focus more on incident response.

As we get deeper into 2017, expect more customers to ask about the concept of being proactive about security. It’s human nature to want to do something as opposed to sitting around waiting to be attacked. Some options for partners:

  • Actively test defenses and search for attackers lurking on customer networks. See the seven must-haves for effective penetration testing here, and attendees at next month’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo can learn the essentials of risk assessments from Chris Richter, senior VP, global security services at Level 3 Communications. ViaWest VP of channel sales recently shared his top three reasons to partner up on incident response and forensics. Check out this piece on using AWS access keys as honeytokens.

  • Get involved in security intelligence-sharing consortiums. For example, check out the nonprofit Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, or R-CISC for short. Membership isn’t limited to just stores. Airlines, telecommunications companies with retail locations, hospitality firms, casinos, fast food chains — just about any company that offers a commercial service where there’s a transaction involved might qualify to be a member, and that membership could help partners expand into a new vertical market or better serve existing customers. Retail members include JCPenney, Lowe’s, Nike, Target and Walgreens. The center has working relationships with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and major retail industry groups as well as government agencies, including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and DOJ. R-CISC sponsors for members live events across the country, webinars from security vendor partners on topics like POS malware, and workshop calls where members can talk frankly about specific challenges and share best practices.

  • Follow the advice of the Forbes respondents and encourage spending on patching, network segmentation, system hardening, encryption and other technologies that make a potential attacker’s job difficult enough that he moves on to a softer target.

Security in the House

If you’re looking for new security sales opportunities, we have you covered at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. You’ll find Verizon, Masergy, Panda Security, Darktrace Limited and F-Secure at our first Security Central Experience Area, and you can also visit with first-time exhibitors ESET and Webroot on the show floor.

In our education sessions, you can learn about the latest in managed security services opportunities – a market Allied Market Research predicts will reach $29.9 billion by 2020 –– and hear from highly rated #CPExpo speaker Michael A. Davis on how to secure IoT devices, build in redundancy and evaluate DDoS mitigation services, a lucrative resale opportunity. Finally, not all cloud solutions are created equal when it comes to mobile security, as RingCentral’s Curtis Peterson will discuss.

Hope to see you in Vegas.

Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.

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