Data is an organization’s most valuable resource, with the possible exception of its people. The information a company collects, stores, and processes is the raw material used to make business decisions and remain relevant in an ultra-competitive marketplace. Enterprise data presents an attractive target for cybercriminals and requires a robust security posture to protect it effectively. Data breaches can be very costly and are averaging well over $4 million per event.
The growth of e-commerce has resulted in many companies processing consumer credit card payments. Businesses that handle sensitive information need to comply with data privacy and security standards that address how specific data elements need to be safeguarded and protected. This information is regulated by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Addressing PCI-DSS or other compliance requirements can complicate security operations and the task of protecting sensitive personal information.
Why Regulated Data is a Target for Cyberattacks
Companies storing customers’ personal data are prime candidates for cyberattacks. This data may be healthcare records containing protected health information (PHI) or credit card details which include financial details and personally-identifying information (PII). Many providers collect information such as an individual’s address, phone number, and date of birth which can be targeted by identity thieves. Breaches involving this type of high-value, regulated data can be extremely damaging to a company and its customers.
First, there is the issue of the immediate damage and disruption caused by an attack with ransomware or other types of malware. Mission-critical systems may be affected, forcing a company to halt operations. This can impact customers and, in the case of healthcare organizations, patients. Companies may need to resort to implementing disaster recovery procedures or acquiescing to the criminals’ financial demands to regain control of their computing environment.
In addition, and perhaps even more damaging, sensitive data exfiltrated from the affected systems can be used for identity theft or to compromise and blackmail individuals.
Two recent examples affecting Australian organizations highlight the danger of data breaches involving regulated and sensitive personal information.
- Medibank - Medibank is the largest private health insurer in Australia. Its systems were breached in October 2022 with hackers compromising the personal information of about 9.7 million current and former customers. The company has refused to pay the ransom, resulting in the cybercriminals leaking some of the stolen data on the dark web. Leaked personal details have been used to steal substantial sums of money through scams and identity theft.
- Optus - Optus is one of Australia’s largest telecom carriers and was the victim of a cyberattack in September 2022. The personal details of about 10 million customers were stolen in the attack. A subset of 2.8 million customers had passport or license numbers stolen and are considered to be at high risk for identity theft and fraud.
The repercussions of data breaches persist long after the affected computer systems have been recovered. The effects of identity theft can plague individuals for years and victims of scams may never recoup their losses.
How Regulatory Compliance Drives Cybersecurity
Regulatory compliance demands that sensitive personal data is protected by adhering to specifically defined standards. For example, PCI-DSS has 12 fundamental requirements that must be followed to achieve compliance. The first one on the list is to install and maintain network security controls to prevent unauthorized access to systems containing sensitive information.
Other requirements include the need to protect stored account data and to keep the environment free from malicious software. Certain industries, such as real estate, are not heavily regulated but still process customers’ personally identifiable and financial information. The need to protect this information is a driving factor behind the implementation of advanced security solutions.
Extended detection and response (XDR) solutions can be an instrumental component of a comprehensive cybersecurity approach to achieve regulatory compliance while keeping customers’ personal information safe. Implementing controls to effectively block every possible malicious actor is all-but impossible with the rapidly changing threat landscape. Even the best defenses may be breached or bypassed, making it essential that threats are detected and the appropriate responses are taken.
The focus of an XDR solution is to detect and respond to threats. In the case of regulated industries, the level of risk to sensitive data is high. Identifying threats and responding to them promptly or before they impact the environment is key to keeping regulated data secure. It isn’t enough to rely on controls to block threat actors - we also need a way to detect when an attacker tries to find a way through or around our painstakingly built defenses.
XDR consolidates the functionality of network detection and response (NDR) with endpoint detection and response (EDR) to provide enhanced visibility of the computing environment. Implementing XDR provides benefits that include:
- The ability to adapt and perform complex tasks in response to a threat;
- Automation that allows the solution to respond faster and accurately, reducing the workload on an IT security team;
- Increased visibility into your network and its cybersecurity status.
XDR addresses the following specific areas of cybersecurity that are essential to maintaining regulatory compliance.
- Threat assessment - An XDR solution is continuously monitoring systems to identify potential threats. As candidate threats are found, they need to be assessed and handled appropriately.
- Threat remediation - XDR solutions are designed to detect and respond to threats. They can remediate a detected threat and prevent further damage through automated responses.
- Threat hunting - Advanced XDR solutions facilitate threat hunting by piecing together small bits of information left by intruders. The information they provide can be used by analysts to identify advanced persistent threats (APTs) that often are not detected through more traditional security measures.
- Reporting - A viable XDR solution will provide reports and snapshots of the threats detected throughout the environment that can be used for evidence in a regulatory audit. The information demonstrates how quickly an organization is detecting and responding to threats.
Samurai XDR as a Security Tool for Regulated Industries
Samurai XDR is an advanced XDR solution that suits the needs of regulated industries with its unparalleled ability to detect and respond to threats that may put sensitive personal information at risk. The tool is available as an easy-to-use self-service SaaS offering that enables teams of any size to detect, investigate, and prevent cyberattacks. Samurai XDR provides smaller businesses that handle regulated data with a cost-effective method of protecting their valuable information.
The features of Samurai XDR that mesh with the needs of regulated industries include:
- An alert dashboard that presents all security activity in a unified interface;
- High-quality alerting that reduces false positives and lets a security team concentrate on actual threats;
- Investigation and alert triage to determine threat severity and if escalation is necessary;
- Threat Intelligence capabilities developed through the curation of open and proprietary TI feeds;
- Advanced threat hunting to uncover previously unknown threats.
Companies can implement this SaaS XDR solution easily and start more efficiently protecting their environment and maintaining regulatory compliance. Submit a request for a free private beta invitation to learn more about this cutting-edge security solution and be the first to access the product’s general availability release.
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