In an exclusive interview with HiTouch Business Services, cybersecurity experts from Palo Alto Networks and TD Synnex, an authorized Palo Alto Networks distributor that works with Palo Alto Networks partners like HiTouch Business Services, shared profound, valuable, and important insights about the evolving cybersecurity landscape.
Our esteemed guests, Ken Alexander, a seasoned National Channel Systems Engineer with 40 years in networking and 23 years in security, and Vicky Broadwater, a Field Sales Engineer with 15 years of experience in the security domain, offered critical best practices and vital strategies to safeguard organizations and their employees in this digital era.
The Evolving Threat Landscape
We initiated our conversation with Ken and Vicky by inquiring about the most significant cybersecurity threats that organizations currently face and the evolution of these threats in recent times. Their responses offered insightful perspectives. Threats such as ransomware are always hot topics, but the real challenge lies in the human factor. “We’re increasing the attack surface with every new application and expansion, making security integration a constant frustration,” said Vicky.
Ken added, “With the shift to cloud and hybrid solutions, visibility becomes a major concern. And with more people working remotely, ensuring secure communications outside the organization’s physical confines is paramount.”
Employee Training and Response
We then asked Ken and Vicky how employees can effectively be trained to recognize and respond to cybersecurity threats. Both experts stressed the importance of speed in responding to cyber threats and the necessity of employee education. While automation in detecting and responding to threats is crucial, “so is training employees to use these tools effectively,” Vicky mentioned.
Ken, drawing from his experience as a CIO and CISO, believes in making security relevant to employees: “It’s about conveying the significance of security, not just at the organizational level, but also how it affects personal and home life. Encourage employees to report anything suspicious immediately.”
Best Practices and Tools
For our next question on key practices and tools organizations can use to enhance their cybersecurity, Ken emphasized the transition from point products—specific solutions addressing individual issues—to comprehensive platform solutions. He highlighted the limitations of point products, notably their lack of communication with other systems, resulting in security gaps. Ken advised adopting a platform approach, integrating solutions across infrastructure, cloud, and applications. This strategy, enriched with automation and AI, offers a more proactive and unified defense against cyber threats.
Immediate Steps in a Cyber Incident
Our next question: What immediate steps should an organization take in the event of a cyber incident?
Vicky answered that having an incident response plan is critical, and to “ensure your team is aware of the plan and ready to execute it immediately upon detecting an incident.”
Ken echoed the importance of preparedness: “Documentation and execution of the incident response plan are crucial. Regular drills can help ensure readiness for an actual attack.”
Fostering a Culture of Cybersecurity
Regarding our query on fostering a robust cybersecurity culture in organizations, Ken and Vicky emphasized that it extends beyond routine phishing tests and basic onboarding practices. Cybersecurity training needs to be relevant and engaging, and there should be regular exercises that resonate with employees’ daily jobs. Additionally, cybersecurity awareness should be a regular topic, not just during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Advice for Small Businesses
The experts’ advice for smaller organizations? Don’t think you’re too small to be targeted. In fact, both Ken and Vicky agreed that small and medium businesses are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals. Cybersecurity needs to be a top priority, regardless of your organization’s size.
Vicky highlighted the availability of resources to help smaller businesses: “There are incident response services and other resources to help you develop a cybersecurity plan.”
Expanding on these expert insights, HiTouch Business Services underscores the critical role of cybersecurity in protecting both organizational and personal data against escalating cyber threats. Through strategic relationships, HiTouch Business Services can offer cybersecurity services. Our comprehensive IT solutions, in collaboration with our partners, include robust tools and strategies designed to bolster your organization’s digital defenses. We aim to equip your business with the necessary technology to prevent potential cyber attacks. Reach out to us today to discover more.