What is cyber monitoring and why is it important? Cyber monitoring is the process of continuously observing an IT system in order to detect data breaches, cyber threats, or other system vulnerabilities. It is a proactive cybersecurity practice that can help your IT team sift through cyber events to determine which ones may pose threats to your data or systems.
There were approximately 80,000 cyberattacks per day in 2018. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many security issues with working remotely, cybercrime has increased 600%.
Protecting your company’s IT infrastructure and data is critical to maintaining security not only for your organization, but also your employees, partners, and customers. By integrating ongoing cybersecurity monitoring into your business’ digital practices, you can monitor for cyber threats, data breaches, and security misconfigurations in real time.
Keep reading to learn more about what cyber monitoring is, why continuous monitoring is important, and how your organization can add cyber monitoring into its regular IT security practices.
How Cyber Monitoring Works
Cyber monitoring provides real-time visibility of suspicious behavior or unauthorized system changes on your network. This allows IT professionals to stay steps ahead of possible security threats and a variety of different data breaches.
With cyber monitoring, foreign data is confirmed and monitored through your business’ security protocols. Data may be stored in a local datacenter or through a cloud database. As data is collected and analyzed, suspicious behaviors are defined and will trigger alerts. Your IT team receives the alerts, prompting them to take any necessary security measures.
To better understand what cyber monitoring is and how it functions, consider two main types of cyber monitoring: endpoint monitoring and network monitoring.
Endpoint monitoring involves tracking the devices connected to a specific network in order to protect the network from the risks these devices pose. Any laptops, cell phones, tablets, desktop computers, and Internet of Things devices that are connected to your business network are considered endpoints and require monitoring.
By continuously overseeing and analyzing endpoint behaviors for each device connected to your network, your IT team can detect threats earlier and respond faster when an endpoint’s activity appears abnormal or insecure.
Network monitoring involves tracking and analyzing network activities in order to detect and respond to performance issues, which could indicate an intrusion or leave the network vulnerable to an attack.
Networking components that are slow, overloaded, crashing, or experiencing outages or other technical failures can render your network susceptible to attack. Not only that, but overloaded servers, computers, or other devices can also be a symptom of a cyberattack.
By incorporating diagnostic tools, applications, or appliances into your network monitoring, you can analyze security logs from these various components. When the software detects a performance issue or threat, it sends an alert to your IT team via email, text, or other alarms. With early detection, your IT professionals can respond quickly to mitigate the situation.
The Importance of Cyber Monitoring
Now that you know what cyber monitoring is and how it works, how important is it for your organization? And how can you explain its significance to your key stakeholders? Consider these 4 reasons why cyber monitoring should be a high priority for businesses of all industries and sizes:
1. Detect and Respond to Threats Faster
Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Respond (MTTR) are two primary metrics that cybersecurity teams use to gauge their success in handling digital crises. Mean Time to Detect is the average time it takes to detect security threats or breaches.
Once your IT team identifies an event as a threat and creates an alert, your Mean Time to Respond begins. MTTR is the average time it takes to respond to threats or attacks.
Similar to a health crisis, a cyberattack necessitates quick detection and response times in order to limit the damage as much as possible. Without cyber monitoring, reducing MTTD and MTTR times can be a challenge.
“52.6% of organizations had an MTTD of less than 24 hours, while 81.4% had an MTTD of 30 days or less,” Threatpost reports. “Once an incident is detected, 67% of organizations report an MTTR of less than 24 hours, with that number increasing to 95.8% when measuring an MTTR of less than 30 days.”
The longer a criminal has access to your network, the more harm they can cause. Today, it only takes a matter of hours, if not minutes, for a hacker to infiltrate a network. Allowing security threats to lurk in your environment for extended periods of time can result in severe data breaches, loss of critical information, and alterations to your network settings, sometimes permanently.
2. Cybercrime Is On the Rise
As cybercrimes continue to increase in number and sophistication, organizations of every kind will face higher risks and require ongoing, proactive cybersecurity to protect themselves.
In 2019, cybercrime cost at least $3.5 billion in the U.S. alone. By 2021, cybercrime is expected to cost over $6 trillion globally. Businesses both big and small are finding it difficult to keep up with the growing influx of cyber threats attacking their IT systems, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Smaller businesses in particular are more susceptible to cyberattacks, as they tend to spend substantially fewer resources on cybersecurity. Small businesses are the victim in 43% of cyberattacks, and 60% of those businesses close within 6 months.
3. Governance, Risk, and Compliance
Countries around the world are taking steps to require businesses to strictly monitor and protect their data systems and information—and holding them accountable for not doing so. In the U.S., many states have introduced more of these laws in recent years to address increasing concern over cybercrime and data security.
The majority of U.S. states enforce data disposal laws, for instance. At least 25 states regulate data security in the private sector, doubling the number of states with such laws compared to 2016. Governance, risk, and management (or GRC), therefore, is growing in scope across many industries.
More and more organizations are digitizing their information systems via cloud computing, using advanced artificial intelligence technologies, improving their cybersecurity and data privacy in order to meet GRC standards. Cyber monitoring is an important part of reducing risk and maintaining general compliance measures.
4. Knowing and Tracking Your Cyber Enemies
Cyber monitoring not only enables you to detect and respond to threats faster, but also learn from them to improve your security in the future.
Continuous monitoring can help you keep track of everything happening in your network. This gives you the tools and time to analyze, record, and respond to potential threats. Cyber monitoring can also provide insight into who is attacking your network and how, allowing you to prepare your network systems against future attempts.
Your IT team can learn about the type, classification, ownership, and operating system of the devices that present potential threats to your network, for example. Monitoring software provides your organization with analytics and reports on these devices and the threats they pose, allowing you to monitor them closely and prevent future attacks.
Cyber Monitoring for Smaller Organizations
Adequate cyber monitoring is a necessity for every organization, not just major corporations. It is quickly becoming a high-priority IT practice for smaller businesses and organizations that have not invested in their cybersecurity to take on. But what exactly is causing cybersecurity to become such an urgent issue for today’s small businesses?
In 2018, the Ponemon Institute reported that 67% of small and medium-sized businesses faced a cyberattack within the year, and 58% actually had their data breached. Attacks against small businesses are becoming all too common, and they often lack the resources to recover. Larger organizations may receive bailouts from governments or banks to aid in their recovery, but smaller companies rarely receive such assistance.
For small businesses, therefore, it is essential to catch threats before they can cause irreparable harm. Having continuous cyber monitoring to protect your data from hackers can provide a safety net for your organization. Small businesses spend, on average, only $500 on cybersecurity, leaving them susceptible to cybercrime. Prioritizing proactive cybersecurity could make or break your organization.
With cyber monitoring, your network is fortified against the thousands of security events that occur each day. Cyber monitoring can also give your company a competitive edge. 87% of consumers report that data security factors into their purchasing decisions. Yet only 25% trust how the majority of companies manage sensitive information, giving organizations that can demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity the potential for a huge advantage over their competitors.
Entrust Us with Your Cyber Monitoring
Ready to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy with continuous cyber monitoring into your organization? Sentient Digital, Inc. can create an expert strategy customized for your unique needs.
From identifying vulnerabilities to remediating them, our security services protect your company every step of the way. We provide advanced cybersecurity in multiple different domains, including security and risk management, security engineering, information security, threat modeling, and much more.
Our team has decades of combined experience across the globe. Contact us online or call us today at (504) 308-1464 to discuss how our robust, personalized approach to cybersecurity can help your business thrive.