An incident response plan represents a comfortable and traditional view of the cyberthreat landscape, helping companies to be prepared in case a cyber incident appears, whereas threat prevention solutions are a more innovative ally in the fight against cybercriminals, laying a bet on proactivity and the obstruction of cyber incidents in the first place. Looking at the cybersecurity market, CISOs seem to prefer the first one. Let’s explore the dynamics of incident response vs threat prevention / proactive cybersecurity approach and see how they can work together to offer your company enhanced cybersecurity!

Why Incident Response? 

As you can probably tell, a cybersecurity incident is not only a technical issue – it can seriously affect a business on multiple levels. News about cyberattacks and breaches do reach the headlines, so it’s very easy to guess when a company did not have an incident response plan in place if they try to minimize the incident’s severity, if the executives get accused or if there is no proper communication with the affected people. 

CISOs opt for incident response because the benefits of such a plan are, indeed, undeniable: 

  • A cybersecurity incident response plan with clear post-event instructions, roles assignment, and incident response management standards will enable companies to respond to the danger quickly and confidently;
  • An incident response plan enables security teams to immediately determine the nature of an attack, details about its occurrence and what has been exposed, so that tangible and appropriate mitigation and repair procedures may be taken, decreasing the incident’s impact on the business;
  • This goes without saying: improved cybersecurity. An incident response plan aids in the identification of network flaws and vulnerabilities, but it also enhances existing cybersecurity strategies, refining the overall security posture;
  • Another crucial aspect: having a solid cyber security incident response plan in place will allow you to engage with consumers and stakeholders quickly and effectively during a crisis.

It’s important to keep in mind that, to be truly valuable, an incident response plan must be aligned with the organization’s priorities, as well as their short-term operational requirements and long-term strategic goals, so that it can prove, if necessary, that the company was acting as responsibly as possible. 

Why Threat Prevention? 

Traditional detection and response are no longer sufficient to protect your company’s digital integrity in today’s fast-evolving cybercrime economy. Threat prevention (with its components – firewalls, IPS, DNS traffic filtering, network traffic logging and analysis, category-based web page blocking, software patching and privileged access management) offers solutions and policies that every company needs to stay safe, and takes into account the entire IT infrastructure – both network and endpoint. 

  • Threat prevention aids in the development of corporate resilience. This approach can help businesses stay ahead of cyber dangers by keeping their technologies, personnel, and procedures up to date so they can respond quickly to challenges;
  • Taking preventative measures allows firms to be proactive in reducing cyber threats rather than reacting after the damage has been done;
  • Threat prevention is essential for securing a company’s network perimeter, protecting endpoints regardless of location and quickly responding to incidents, adding an extra layer of proactive security. 

Patch management and privileged access management, as components of the proactive cybersecurity approach, have truly invaluable benefits in the fight against cybercrime. 

Patch management: 

  • significantly helps reduce the attack surface (preventing a wide range of malware types)  by adjusting software flaws, as well as features;
  • helps identify old software, that does not receive patches from their vendor;
  • boosts productivity, as your employees won’t have to deal with system issues or outages every two days, for example;
  • helps achieve compliance by ensuring that the required degree of regulatory compliance is met.

Similarly, privileged access management: 

  • removes the possibility of privilege abuse, thus preventing cyberattacks, but also reducing the risk of human error and insider threat;
  • provides improved rights monitoring and control, because a PAM solution grants privileges anywhere, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or in a mixed environment, it;
  • increases productivity by allowing privileged users to access systems faster and IT administrators to manage privileged user access from a single location;
  • aids compliance, as many rules require precise management of privileged user access and the ability to audit access.

Incident Response vs Threat Prevention – The CISOs’ Choice 

What is CISO’s choice when it comes to incident response vs threat prevention? Let’s look at numbers.  

According to Research and Markets, the global proactive cybersecurity market “is expected to grow from USD 20.66 billion in 2018 to USD 41.77 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.1% during the forecast period”.  

According to Markets and Markets, the global incident response market size “was USD 11.05 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 33.76 billion by 2023, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.3% during the forecast period. The base year for the study is 2017 and the forecast period is 2018–2023.”

The challenges of the threat prevention market are related to:

  • the maze of disconnected tools;
  • semi-structured or unstructured data management;
  •  the need to manage certain processes manually
  •  the shortage of security staff members.  

In relation to the dynamics of the incident response market, Markets and Markets offers some valuable insights:

Drivers

Stringent government regulations and compliance requirements

The rise in the sophistication level of cyber-attacks

Heavy financial losses post incident occurrence

Restraints

Financial constraints and high innovation costs

Opportunities

Growing BYOD trend among organizations

Challenges

Lack of competent security professionals to handle challenging security incidents

Availability of open-source and pirated security solutions

 

Since the role of a CISO is to put in place the proper security and governance procedures and enable a foundation for risk-free and scalable business operations, it might seem natural for them to often opt for incident response plans and solutions instead of prevention or both. Why? The reasons may include money constraints (depending on the size of the company and their cybersecurity budget), and a scarcity of qualified security personnel to deal with difficult situations, governance, compliance and all the other aspects of a cybersecurity strategy. 

However, to be (as) risk-free (as possible) in cybersecurity, they should, unquestionably, go for a layered approach – which, of course, includes threat prevention. This is particularly important in these still-pandemic times and in the context of remote work, when governments and private companies require more and more data – that must be secured, but sometimes it’s not, for reasons that vary from accidental exposure to insider threats and privileged access management issues. 

A data breach is always just around the corner if you’re not careful enough. It’s essential to keep in mind that incident response strategies are always reactive – by definition, they imply that something bad had already happened.  The most cost- and time-effective cybersecurity approach is always proactive.

How Can Heimdal™ Help You 

Heimdal’s Threat Prevention solution covers both endpoint and network levels, using AI and ML to accurately predict and prevent future threats. It filters DNS, HTTP, and HTTPS traffic, spotting and stopping malicious URLs and processes. It provides the ideal tools for your team to have comprehensive visibility and control over their endpoints and network.

The Threat Prevention – Network engine prevents man-in-the-browser attacks, identifies zero-hour exploits, defends against data or financial exfiltration, and avoids data loss or network infections by blocking harmful packages from connecting over the network. It works with any existing antivirus program to block harmful domains and communications to and from C&C, phishing, and other malicious servers.

Threat Prevention – Endpoint is in charge of filtering all network packages based on the origin and destination of DNS requests. The traffic filtering engine prevents man-in-the-browser attacks, identifies zero-hour exploits, defends against data or financial exfiltration, and avoids data loss or network infections by blocking harmful packages from interacting across the network.

Threat Prevention, as well as our Patch and Asset Management, Privileged Access Management and Application Control solutions,  is also a basic component of our EDR and XDR services, which provides you with access to all of the critical cybersecurity layers your company requires to protect itself from both known and yet undiscovered online threats. Automation, unification, log review, real-time visibility and compliance are other advantages of our software, allowing our customers to outstep most of the market challenges that many companies still struggle with. 

The Heimdal XDR service includes the traditional approach of (incident) response, but also the innovative prevention-related solutions previously mentioned. This results in a completely unique approach to cybersecurity that includes live support 24/7 and event mitigation, regardless of the size of the firm, devices, or policies in place, for first-class prevention.

By installing and patching any Microsoft, third-party, and proprietary software on-the-fly, from anywhere in the globe, and according to any schedule, our Patch and Asset Management solution automates business vulnerability management and saves critical time and resources. It also ensures that you have comprehensive visibility and control over your whole software inventory (the total number of patches applied, how many applications were updated, the number of monitored software and so on).

Privileged Access Management enables you to quickly and easily elevate user rights or file executions, as well as revoke escalations and support zero-trust executions. Privileged Access Management has a simple and effective user interface that gives you complete control over a user’s elevated session. IT admins can use it to approve or deny requests from the HEIMDAL Dashboard or from their mobile device, maintain track of sessions, restrict system file elevation, live-cancel user admin access, and create escalation periods.

The Application Control module was carefully designed to limit which processes (or apps) can be run on client workstations, as well as how they are run. Using data such as Software Name, Paths, Publisher, MD5, Signature, or Wildcard Path, IT admins can construct a series of rules that explain what processes are allowed or denied on endpoints in an environment.

What About the Future?

The cybersecurity of the future will require (at least) a basic (but layered) level of cyber hygiene, automation in response to talent deficit, unified endpoint management, and, clearly,  an equal mix of prevention and response. 

Disregarding the (maybe) personal preferences of CISOs, at the end of the day it’s important to know that they have closed as many entry points (by filtering malicious traffic, by closing vulnerabilities and patching all the software assets, by paying particular attention to privileged accounts and keeping track of all the logs) as possible in order to protect their company from as many cyberattacks and cyberthreats as possible. 

Therefore, any company that aims to secure its data, money, time and reputation needs to invest both in incident response and threat prevention to stay on top of an ever-changing cyberthreat landscape

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