Mitigating Vulnerabilities in Your Customer’s Security Protocol with a Cyber Threat Assessment

By Carl Cayton | January 10, 2018

Your customers’ networks are rapidly evolving to keep pace with new innovations and consumer demands. Digital transformation is now integral to remaining competitive in any space. Which means that enterprises have to constantly introduce increased access and functionality to their networks via applications, connected devices, and more to meet shifting consumer and employee demand.

Today, consumers want greater access to the data and information stored by organizations in order to more efficiently navigate their digital lives. At the same time, employees want access to applications and services that can automate tasks and optimize operational efficiency. Across industries, your customers have been quick to comply with these requests due to the distinct competitive advantages they offer, often without taking related security issues into enough account.

As digital adoption increases and network perimeters continue to erode, cybersecurity is a growing concern. Organizations taking action on their digital transformation plans have to be aware of and plan for the security implications that go along with those plans, and act accordingly to ensure security at each layer and segment of their expanding attack surface.

Your Customers’ Security Challenges

While organizations are adopting new technologies and services, cybercriminals are developing sophisticated methods of attack to target new attack vectors, exploit unforeseen vulnerabilities, and gain access to user data and other network resources. With this increased threat landscape and growing sophistication of cyberattacks, visibility into existing security measures, and identifying those places where there may be gaps is especially important.

There are a few key areas of digital transformation that have made network security more difficult.

  1. IoT: The connected devices that comprise the Internet of Things give consumers the ability to interact with your customers from any device at anytime. This is convenient for both parties, as organizations can also gather deeper insights into their users to do things like customize offers. However, this also means that more endpoints, with varying degrees of security and updates, have access to your customers’ networks. This makes it easier for cybercriminals to find and exploit vulnerabilities that give them access to critical data.
  2. Applications: Organizations are developing millions of new mobile web applications that allow them to interact with users. Additionally, organizations are deploying unprecedented numbers of custom applications that enable them to automate and expedite internal business functions. However, these applications are common targets of cyberattacks, with attacks on web applications accounting for 40 percent of incidents that resulted in a data breach. With this is mind, your customers have to keep inventory of which applications are running within the network, what resources that are able to access, and make sure that the latest security patches have been applied.  
  3. Cloud Adoption: The cloud offers your customers huge benefits in terms of scalability and data processing capabilities. However, it too comes with new and unique security challenges. Data and applications stored or run in the cloud have drastically decreased visibility into the distributed network. The result is that it is now much more difficult to spot and respond to anomalous activity.  

Though more difficult to secure, each of these technology innovations provides core functionalities essential for competing in today’s digital marketplace. Security cannot come at the cost of usability or performance. This means that your customers have to carefully assess their security infrastructure based on their comprehensive visibility into the tools and devices that access their network, knowledge of what their most valuable data is and how it is stored, and how the network performs at peak hours or under critical loads.

With this information your customers can make informed decisions about how to most effectively secure their network and the valuable data that resides there based on the risks they currently face. A cyber threat assessment provides security and performance intelligence that can be used to ensure that your customers are made aware of organizational risks before they occur, while providing them with the time they need to respond, well before a breach occurs.

Benefits of a Cyber Threat Assessment

A cyber threat assessment (CTA) can help your customers mitigate the risks brought on by specific technology adoptions, as well as across their entire network security infrastructure. A CTA ensures they have the necessary security measures in place, as well as locating security gaps that have to be fortified. Understanding which parts of the network are the most high-risk allows your customers to deploy more in-depth security in these areas, while lightening security in other areas to optimize spend.

Cyber threat assessments can also serve to evaluate compliance and demonstrate to regulating bodies that your customers are actively monitoring and addressing those security requirements necessary to be compliant.

Fortinet’s Cyber Threat Assessment

Fortinet’s cyber threat assessment uses a FortiGate next-generation firewall to monitor network activity. The end result is a cyber threat assessment report that will highlight keys areas of risk for your customers. Furthermore, the CTA provides insight into three key areas.

  1. Security and Threat Prevention: This aspect of the report provides insight into any application vulnerabilities that can be used to exploit your customers’ networks, alerts them to any malware bots or botnets that were detected, and warns of any devices that are at risk or susceptible to breaches.
  2. User Productivity & Online Accountability: The cyber threat report also gives your customers increased visibility into the applications their employees use, such as social media applications and instant messaging apps. This also provides insight into how well employees are adhering to the acceptable use policy at your organization
  3. Network Utilization: The Fortinet CTA also gives your customers a look into how capable their network and network security are to respond to the influx of traffic from connected devices, etc. Information on bandwidth, throughput, and session counts at peak hours will ensure that their security infrastructure is sized for the amount of traffic they have, without compromising performance.

Final Thoughts

As your customers evolve into digital businesses, they will need to adopt new technologies and services in order to remain competitive. This increased threat landscape can leave gaps in their security architecture that can result in a data breach. Performing a cyber threat assessment can provide greater visibility into potential risks as organizations increase application and IoT use, and move into the cloud. Additionally, an assessment can give deeper insight into how your employees use the network, and whether is optimized for peak traffic. With this visibility, your customers can increase their security and ensure compliance.

To learn how to start a current or prospective customer in the Cyber Threat Assessment Program, visit the Partner Portal.

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