Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Mauro Carniel, William Schmarzo, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

How to Combat Security Cracks Created By Collaboration | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Cybersecurity

The number of cyberattacks will grow as employees increasingly use collaboration tools to maximize their company’s productivity.

How to Combat Security Cracks Created By Collaboration
By Ram Vaidyanathan, ManageEngine

Cybercrime costs the global economy as much as $450 billion each year. And, the median cost of cybercrime has increased by nearly 200% in the last five years.

Meanwhile, collaboration has become the cornerstone of successful organizations. But collaboration often comes with a risk. The number of cyberattacks will grow as employees increasingly use collaboration tools to maximize their company's productivity. This is because these tools can provide new points of entry for hackers looking to cause damage. This issue could become more serious as we will see more radical collaboration tools in the days to come. Fortunately, there are always going to be readily available solutions.

Here are three ways in which an organization's security can be compromised due to increased collaboration.

1. A wolf in sheep's clothing: Companies collaborate with suppliers, vendors and customers in the cloud every day. Consider this scenario: A supply chain executive receives an automated weekly email with an MS Excel file from their logistics partner, giving the estimated time of arrival for products. A cybercriminal somehow discovers this practice. The criminal then impersonates the logistics partner by using a similar email address. The executive doesn't notice and downloads the attachment - an executable (.exe) file masked as an MS Excel file. When the executive opens the file, a wolf in sheep's clothing enters the company's network to steal trade secrets, financial data, and customer information. This modus operandi, called spear phishing, is popular globally. By some estimates, 91% of all attacks begin with spear phishing.

2. A betrayal: With the advent of bring your own device (BYOD), collaboration has become fairly common. Employees can now access work files while away from the office and increase their productivity. On the other hand, disgruntled employees can easily expose information or even sabotage company files. What if an employee who is about to join a competitor were to print customer contact details from a remote location? And what if this employee took this information to the new workplace? This betrayal could lead to the company losing its competitive edge.

3. A foreign adversary: Even governments are not immune to cyberattacks from foreign state-sponsored adversaries. Government employees may visit certain websites frequently to collaborate with employees from other departments or with their citizens. Malware placed on these sites could exploit vulnerable endpoints and compromise the devices of any visitors. Malware can also morph into more serious advanced persistent threats (APTs) that can lurk in the victim's system for a long time. This way, these adversaries could secretly keep a tab on issues of national security and international policy. When governments can face such threats, businesses are all the more at risk.

To fight data breaches and defend their business, organizations must protect all entry points. Here are few ways in which organizations can defend against each of the threats identified above.

1. Guarding the door: Application white listing, a method of checking applications against an approved list, is effective against criminals in disguise looking for an entry point. If an unknown program tries to run, it will be barred. This is very effective against spear phishing attacks. In addition, a log management system would help to collect logs on failed access attempts and decipher whether or not they are attacks.

2. Guarding from inside: A privileged password management process can help organizations protect against insider threats. All privileged identities and passwords are stored in a centralized vault and only approved devices are allowed to access information from remote locations. Furthermore, companies can video record all sessions, whether on-premise or remote, for a complete record of all actions.

3. Defending against international threats: Software applications that analyze packet flow can detect malicious traffic hitting the network in real time. In case of a sophisticated attack, the company can immediately view the offender's IP, the severity of the attack and the time of the attack. A detailed forensic investigation will enable the company to detect patterns and identify the source of unwanted intrusions.

In the present age of heightened collaboration, the risk of cybercrime is very high. Organizations need to defend against techniques such as spear phishing, malware and APTs, among others. Application white listing, privileged password management and network behavior anomaly detection are just three modes of defense.

And what happens in a future of radical collaboration tools?

Future collaboration tools will be even more powerful. For example, the combination of holography and brain decoding technology may create a society in which people have meetings between their virtual selves in the office. What if a cybercriminal impersonates a CEO's virtual self and compromises the business by giving wrong instructions during a meeting?  In a scenario like this, even if a criminal were somehow able to project the CEO's hologram inside the office, the ICT team could detect the deviation if there were inconsistencies with the CEO's known logic. There is no doubt that the future holds endless possibilities for collaboration, which we know to be integral for business success. We just need to make sure our security technology is well equipped to handle it. However sophisticated the attacks in an age of increased collaboration, a proactive ICT team will always prevail.


Ram Vaidyanathan is an IT evangelist at ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company. Ram closely follows emerging industry trends and is a frequent blogger on technology topics. His main interest is in the impact of the Internet of Things on IT management. He has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

More Stories By ManageEngine IT Matters

ManageEngine believes IT management can be simple and affordable. Our authors share insights and how-to tips for SMBs and large enterprises. Over 120,000 companies around the world – including three of every five Fortune 500 companies – trust our products to manage their networks, data centers, business applications, and IT services, and security. We take a straightforward, customer-centric approach to IT management software. Our customers' needs drive our product philosophy. And we've built a strong, in-house R&D team to support our product team and turn customer requests into product realities. We look forward to hearing from you.

@CloudExpo Stories
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.