Is Your Cyber Security Strategy Prepared for a New Era of Threats?

Unless you've been unplugged for years, you've likely heard about the countless data breaches and cyber security incidents that have plagued corporate and public organizations' networks. In the digital world, there is no shortage of cybercriminals and other malicious attackers eager to exploit vulnerabilities for their own gain. The demand for security solutions and expertise is higher than ever - do you have the resources and personnel required to effectively defend against the predators of the Information Age?

A band of thieves

As a forward-thinking decision-maker, you've surely upgraded your IT infrastructure to keep up with the evolving demands of your workforce and enterprise partnerships. Unfortunately, cybercrime has also had its fair share of advancements, both in the technology utilized by attackers and the extent to which criminal organizations are coordinated. According to PC Mag, a gang of Russian hackers has reportedly amassed around 1.2 billion usernames and passwords over the years, as discovered by information security firm Hold Security.

The source explained that while most cybercriminals prefer to work alone in their devious endeavors, the Russian group targeted by Hold Security resembles more of a well-orchestrated syndicate than anything else. The firm's founder, Alex Holden, explained that the band of hackers gathered confidential information from 420,000 websites prior to being found out.

"The gang started by just buying the databases that were available over the Internet. They used to be bottom feeders, buying at fire sales. Over time, they started buying better quality databases. It's kind of like graduating from stealing bicycles to stealing expensive cars," said Holden, according to the source."Looking at some of the data they've stolen, I've even seen some my own passwords."

Up to the challenge?

With news of such wide-scale cybercrime making headlines on a regular basis, it's clear why so many organizations' leaders are putting cyber security first when discussing their overall IT strategies. However, haphazard migrations to virtualized environments may be leaving networks more vulnerable than decision-makers would like, according to Info Tech Spotlight. The source pointed to a Kaspersky Lab report, "Global IT Security Risks Survey 2014 - Virtualization," which showed an alarming lack of security in virtual servers.

Virtualization is a core IT strategy for 52 percent of respondents, the report found, yet fewer than one-third of these deployments were executed with a complete security solution. Virtual appliances are unique, software-defined entities, and many are not compatible with traditional, physical defensive measures such as on-premise firewalls, the source noted. Since these tools are still relatively new to the IT world, many organizations lack internal expertise on the subject. This means that you may need to seek expert guidance to shore up the security profile of your virtual network assets.

Keep your eyes peeled

In light of these developments, you've got your work cut out for you as you navigate the next generation of IT. By emphasizing an organization-wide focus on security and leveraging fully protected virtual machines for your servers, you'll be ready to overcome any roadblocks thrown your way.