As data centers become cloud environments and the amount of malware rises, providing security for corporate networks has never been more important. No organization wants to be the subject of the latest headline about data breaches, but the likelihood of this occurring is more likely as threats increase. Beta News reported on a study that discovered 20 million new strains of malware in the third quarter of 2014 alone. That means there are 227,747 new malicious programs being developed every day. The chance of getting infected is now up 1 percent. According to Beta News, 37.93 percent of organizations around the world were infected by a form of malware in the third quarter of 2014, the most common of which are Trojans, representing 78 percent of infections.
"In these last months we have seen how cybercrime has continued to grow," Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, told the source. "Criminals [have not] ceased to create malware in order to infect as many systems as possible so as to access sensitive or confidential information. Corporate environments are also under attack. In the last three months many large companies have been drawn into numerous scandals, including the so-called 'Celebgate,' where nude photos of actresses and models hosted on Apple's iCloud service were leaked, or the theft of passwords for Gmail and Dropbox."
With the ubiquity of malware, the question changes from "Will the organization be infected?" to "Why are some business experiencing intrusions over others?" Phys.org contributor Bill Buchanan answered that question very simply: The biggest threat to security is people. This is because employees are reading malicious emails and not encrypting the emails that they send. Additionally, staff members - and people all over the world for that matter - are using data centers more than they ever have due to cloud computing.
The ubiquity of email
It is commonly known that email is a popular form of communication. Business 2 Community contributor Bob Janacek reported that over 108 billion messages go through corporate email accounts every day, and this will only increase by 2018, reaching 139 billion. There is nothing wrong with sending email. However, these messages need to be encrypted. Anyone can intercept and read the contents of an unencrypted email, which is not only a problem for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant information, but also poses a threat to internal business-critical messages. For example, a cybercriminal with the sufficient know-how could read emails that contain corporate intellectual property and trade secrets. The only protection against this comes in the form of email encryption.
While there are many email encryption solutions and services available for enterprises, a few offerings will stand out as being better than others. Janacek wrote that many organizations fear procuring encryption solutions because they do not want to drain corporate resources, specifically employees' time and productivity. He offered some suggestions for concerned companies, stating that an information risk assessment must be completed before even looking for encryption techniques. This means that organizations need to examine all business processes that include email and formulate a plan for protection.
According to Janacek, the next step is to choose a solution, but it must be easy to use. If it is not a single-click process and it impedes productivity, employees will find a way to avoid it. Regardless of what an email contains, staff members should get used to sending information securely, making this part of their daily workloads. Once security measures have been applied to email, organization can tackle the other weak points in their networks.
Every business uses a data center, whether it is local or off-premise, private or public. As cloud computing becomes more popular, these data centers are going to see massive increases in traffic. A recent report from Cisco found that over the next five years, data center traffic will almost triple and the cloud will be responsible for 76 percent of it. Instead of seeing 3.1 zettabytes per year in 2013, data centers will send and receive 8.6 zettabytes per year by 2018. This large amount of data is going to need to be protected from cybersecurity threats.
Combined with the massive increase in malicious programs, it only makes sense to ensure security is at its best in the coming years. However, IT departments are going to be spending their time guaranteeing that data is flowing and the data centers are working properly. Business processes need to take a front seat, and that usually puts security in the back. This problem can be mitigated with third-party data center security providers. While IT teams keep data centers up and running, these providers can monitor the projected 8.6 zettabytes of traffic in real time and with cutting-edge tools.
Email and data centers have been around for a long time and will continue to be core parts of corporate processes. By removing the risks associated with both of those, organizations can protect themselves against the looming threat of malware.