Article | August 30, 2021
As President Biden prepared to meet with Russian President Putin this past week in a high-profile summit in Geneva, Switzerland, cyber-attacks originating from criminals within Russia were near the top of a list of contentious issues on the agenda.
However, there were important events that received minimal media attention that strengthened the U.S. President’s position. President Biden walked into those meetings with something new and bold: the strong backing of NATO countries on a series of new cyber commitments.
In a NATO Summit held in Brussels on June 14, 2021, the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council reaffirmed their unity and commitments on a long list of mutual defense topics. And there was also a major new commitment discussed in the press release — cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure within any NATO member country were now on the table. That is, online (Internet-based) attacks could result in the same response as physical attacks (with guns and bombs.)
Yes, this is a very significant global development which highlights another way that the physical world and online world are merging fast, with ramifications in both directions.
HOW DID WE GET TO THIS MOMENT?
The ransomware attacks that recently struck critical infrastructure companies such as Colonial Pipeline and JBS resulted in more than just long lines for gas and meat price hikes. It raised alarm bells in countries all over the globe regarding the susceptibility of the majority of countries to ransomware and other forms of malware.
These ransomware incidents led to NATO’s new Comprehensive Cyber Defense Policy. The big news: Cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure might (on a case-by-case basis) now trigger the famous Article 5 clause. “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. …”
Here are two sections I’d like to highlight from last week’s communiqué (take special notice of section in bold):
“In addition to its military activities, Russia has also intensified its hybrid actions against NATO Allies and partners, including through proxies. This includes attempted interference in Allied elections and democratic processes; political and economic pressure and intimidation; widespread disinformation campaigns; malicious cyber activities; and turning a blind eye to cyber criminals operating from its territory, including those who target and disrupt critical infrastructure in NATO countries. It also includes illegal and destructive activities by Russian Intelligence Services on Allied territory, some of which have claimed lives of citizens and caused widespread material damage. We stand in full solidarity with the Czech Republic and other Allies that have been affected in this way.
“Cyber threats to the security of the Alliance are complex, destructive, coercive and becoming ever more frequent. This has been recently illustrated by ransomware incidents and other malicious cyber activity targeting our critical infrastructure and democratic institutions, which might have systemic effects and cause significant harm. To face this evolving challenge, we have today endorsed NATO’s Comprehensive Cyber Defence Policy, which will support NATO’s three core tasks and overall deterrence and defence posture, and further enhance our resilience. Reaffirming NATO’s defensive mandate, the Alliance is determined to employ the full range of capabilities at all times to actively deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including those conducted as part of hybrid campaigns, in accordance with international law. We reaffirm that a decision as to when a cyber-attack would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis. Allies recognize that the impact of significant malicious cumulative cyber activities might, in certain circumstances, be considered as amounting to an armed attack. We remain committed to act in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable. We will promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, and further pursue efforts to enhance stability and reduce the risk of conflict by supporting international law and voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.”
MEDIA COVERAGE OF NATO ANNOUNCEMENTS
Global media coverage leading up to this NATO Summit was rather limited, especially when compared to the U.S.-Russia Summit and many of President Biden’s other European meetings – such as the G7 Summit and the his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.
Nevertheless, Meritalk offered this article: “Cybersecurity, Ransomware Climb Policy Ladder at NATO, G-7 Meetings,” which said, “cybersecurity in general, and ransomware in specific, climbed high onto the ladder of major policy issues at both the weekend meeting of G-7 nations this weekend, and the NATO Summit that concluded on June 14.
“The increasing importance of cybersecurity on the national stage tracks with U.S. policy in recent months, including federal government responses to major software supply chain cyber assaults and ransomware attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure sector companies that are believed to have originated from organizations based in Russia. President Biden has promised to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin with cybersecurity and ransomware issues when the two leaders meet on June 16. …”
Also, Info security Magazine ran an excellent piece entitled: “NATO Warns it Will Consider a Military Response to Cyber-Attacks,” which said, “NATO has warned it is prepared to treat cyber-attacks in the same way as an armed attack against any of its allies and issue a military response against the perpetrators.
“In a communique issued by governments attending the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels yesterday, the military alliance revealed it had endorsed a Comprehensive Cyber Defence Policy, in which a decision will be taken to invoke Article 5 “on a case-by-case basis” following a cyber-attack. Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, first signed in 1949, when any NATO ally is the victim of an armed attack, it will be considered an attack on all alliance members, who will theoretically take any actions necessary to defend that ally….”
When I posted this NATO cyber topic on LinkedIn, the responses were all over the map. You can join that discussion here.
Here are a few comments worth noting:
Michael Kaiser, president and CEO at Defending Digital Campaigns: “Attribution better be 110 percent.”
Paul Gillingwater, management consultant, Chaucer Group: “A cyber counter-attack *is* a military response. It's now one battlefield, from sea, land, air, space to cyberspace. Next: your AI will be trying to persuade my AI that it was actually a pacifist.”
Kaushik (Manian) Venkatasubramaniyan, project manager, Global Business Research (GBR): “These kind of cyber-attacks targeting hospitals etc. are acts of war anyway.”
FINAL THOUGHTS ON IMPORTANCE OF NATO ANNOUNCEMENT
For many years, cyber pros have been talking about a “Cyber 9/11” or “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” Many experts still believe that those major cyber incidents are inevitable.
Still, “smaller” cyber-attacks are now happening all the time all over the world — with very serious consequences. Bad actors are asking for larger ransoms and causing more harm. Ransomware is evolving, and future cyber-attacks may not be ended by paying a ransom to the cyber criminals.
With many cyber-attacks against governments, hospitals and now critical infrastructure like gas pipeline companies and food processing plants taking place, new government actions were a must. These ransomware attacks via different types of malware are becoming more frequent and serious, and are a growing global challenge for public- and private-sector leaders.
Many questions must be answered quickly, such as: Where are the “red lines” that cannot be crossed? Once the lines are identified, what happens if they are crossed? When does a cyber-attack become an act of war?
Make no mistake, NATO’s new policy on cyber-attacks against critical infrastructures is a big deal. Expect more ransomware attacks to occur and those global commitments for action to be tested in the years ahead.
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Article | August 30, 2021
People dealing in cybersecurity knows that it is a challenging market. A specifically designed business model is not there in cybersecurity on which you can market products and services. Over the past years, the B2B Cyber Security industry has witnessed immense growth and will continue in the future. The growth can be attributed to many aspects, including growing instances of cybercrime and the emergence of interconnected devices in the IoT revolution.
New security solutions are coming into the market every day. As a result, the demand for B2B digital marketersis also on the rise to keep with the unexpected growth in products, services, and competitors. To stand out from the competition, you need a sound cybersecurity product marketing strategy leveraging all digital channels.
You have to focus on various productive marketing tactics to reach, engage, and nurture all your potential clients as an ongoing process with all the relevant information about business and products. For example, the B2B cloud-security service provider,IBM Security, uses paid ad campaigns and webinars, which are excellent cybersecurity product marketing strategies. They could maketheir expertise and solutions stand out from the rest of the crowd with this excellent strategy.
Reading further will give you insights on how to market your cybersecurity products effectively to generate leads and boost profit.
Make your Marketing Effective with Unique Content
To demonstrate the effectiveness of your solutions and the significance of your cybersecurity, your company should ensure your content has real-world examples. This will make your content more influential. Apart from being data-driven and comprehensive, your content also should be unique. Credibility can be surly built up by revamping your content strategy.
You can create educational content that clearly shows how your product can help solve a real-life cybersecurity attack. Then, you may back it up with independent industry reviews,case studies, etc. Instead of reusing the same content, experiment with new content that describes and solves different cyber threats and relates it with your products and solutions.
The following types of content can be a practical part of your cybersecurity product marketing strategyat different points in the buyer’s journey:
In every stage of the cybersecurity buyer’s journey, blogs are great for attracting prospects. Developing some evergreen and universally relevant content will be highly useful. Describing topics about cybersecurity in your blogs, such as phishing, DNS encryption, will be a great thing for clients who have just started their research and want to learn more, starting from basics.
As CNI says, the mostcritical tactic for B2B companies iscase studies. These are exemplary and the best to engage leads who are already aware of their problems and know what solutions can solve them.
According to HubSpot, at least once a week, 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites. Additionally, 59% of executives prefer watching a video over reading text. So, it’s the best strategy to include videos in your cybersecurity product marketing efforts.
Explanatory videos will work the best to tell your potential cybersecurity product clients what your cybersecurity offerings are and why they could be the most valuable solution for their situations. Additionally, when you’re trying to target C-level executives, this can be a beneficial tactic. This is because they need more education regarding this.
You may also utilize various statistics on cyber-attacks, loss due to cyber-attacks, recovery expenses, and the value of cybersecurity solutions. Additionally, again, providing practical and real-life examples in your video will help you make the statistics more relevant and inject a sense of urgency into the minds of your potential clients.
Effective Email Marketing Strategy
Education and awareness are significant barriers to selling your solutions. Due to these barriers, it can often take a reasonable amount of time for a potential lead to reach the point where they can contact a B2B sales representative or request a demo. Meanwhile, it is your time to have a tactic to nurture these leads to move them to the next level of the sales funnel. It can be an effective email marketing strategy. It is a strategic and effective way to connectto those potential leads who have not decided to purchase your products.
However, with many emails in your potential client's inboxes, they may unsubscribe or delete your email if they don’t find your email content valuable and worthwhile. So make sure to analyze often and monitor your email marketing campaigns. Content, subject lines, images, and copy in your email should be practical and attractive regarding open and click-through rates. Flooding your prospects’ inbox with emails about various cyber threats they face may result in losing their interest in your emails as they may have desensitization towards your emails.
Staying connected with your prospects through email marketing is an effective cybersecurityproduct marketing strategy. First, however, be mindful of how many emails you are sending to your prospects.
The tremendous interactive session you can have online today with your potential client is webinars. It is an excellent way for you in the cybersecurity domain to connect with your potential leads.
The interactive element is a vital part of a webinar. Q&A session at the end of each webinar makes it more interactive where the participants can ask you questions and raise queries about the topic and your services. Accumulating all those questions asked by the attendees can be an excellent starting point for creating new content to address your audience's challenges.
These attendees now are interested in learning more about your products and services and the threats it protects against. They also might have engaged in some research. This means they will do further in-depth research and be more engaged with your presentation topics.
Thus, it is a valuable opportunity to demonstrate other helpful content or have a CTA for demo sign-ups. You can respond to the queries of the participants in a follow-up, even if your webinar is a pre-recorded one. This effective cybersecurity product marketing tactic will help you accumulate many potential clients and take them to the next stage of the salesfunnel.
Two significant goals can be accomplished through B2B paid campaigns:
• They help you get prospects to arrive at your demo request landing page
• They amplify your content marketing efforts
Content marketing amplification is possible through paid campaigns. Most cybersecurity marketers think that you do not mix inbound marketing and paid campaigns. But the truth is when you combine both, you end up with a very effective and powerful campaign. Once you start a paid campaign with your content, you will notice more excellent and quick results and get the best out of your developed content.
Getting prospects to request a demo is a major goal for any B2B cybersecurity marketer. Cybersecuirty paid marketing campaigns, as a successful cybersecurity product marketing strategy, help the marketer to accelerate the process.
The cybersecurity landscape has recently undergone many changes. Over the next five years, global demand for cybersecurity products and solutions will reach $167.7 billion. So, it calls for a remodeling of your cybersecurity product marketing strategynow more than ever to target and attracts more prospects to your business.
Frequently asked questions
How to start with cybersecurity marketing?
The best way to start your cybersecurity marketing is by educating your prospects about the potential cyber threats they may face in their business. In addition, you can educate them about the latest news in the industry regarding cybersecurity.
Why is cybersecurity essential for marketers?
Neglecting cybersecurity or taking it for granted may cause privacy risks for you and your clients. In addition, cyber threats can be detrimental for businesses.
How can marketing help to improve cybersecurity products?
While marketing, you may understand the quality of your product, competing with your counterparts in the market. Also, you may get feedback from potential customers. It calls for the necessity of product improvement.
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Article | August 30, 2021
In this modern world of technology, ensuring information security is very important for the smooth running of any organization. Unfortunately, there are many information/cyber security threats, including malware, ransom ware, emotet, denial of service, man in the middle, phishing, SQL injection, and password attacks. Whatever your business is, no doubt, it can collapse your business and your dreams. However, the severity of its after-effects depends upon the type of business you do.
As information security threat has become a hurdle for all organizations, companies must implement an effective information security management system. In 2019 alone, the total number of breaches was 1473. It is increasing every year as businesses are doing digital transformation widely. Phishing is the most damaging and widespread threat to businesses, accounting for 90% of organizations' breaches.
This article lets you understand what ISMS is and how it can be effectively implemented in your organization.
Information Security Management System (ISMS)
According to ISO/IEC 27001, Information Security Management System (ISMS) refers to various procedures, policies, and guidelines to manage and protect organizations' information assets. In addition, the system also comprises various other associated resources and activities frameworks for information security management.
Organizations are jointly responsible for maintaining information security. People responsible for security in an organization ensure that all employees diligently meet all policies, guidelines, and other objectives regarding protecting information. Also, they safeguard all assets of the organization from external cyber threats and attacks.
The goal and objective of the system are to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of assets from all threats and vulnerabilities. Effectively implementing an information security management system in your organization avoids the possibility of leaking personal, sensitive, and confidential data and getting exposed to harmful hands. The step-by-step implementation of ISMS includes the process of designing, implementing, managing, and maintaining it.
Implementing ISMS in Organizations
The standard for establishing and maintaining an information security management system in any organization is ISO 27001. However, as the standard has broad building blocks in designing and implementing ISMS, organizations can shape it according to their requirements.
Effectively implementing ISMS in organizations in compliance with ISO 27001 lets you enjoy significant benefits. However, an in-depth implementation and training process has to be ensured to realize these benefits comprehensively. Therefore, let us look into how an information security management system can be successfully implemented in your organization.
The first step in implementing ISMS is identifying the assets vulnerable to security threats and determining their value to your organization. In this process, devices and various types of data are listed according to their relative importance. Assets can be divided across three dimensions: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It will allow you to give a rating to your assets according to their sensitivity and importance to the company.
Confidentiality is ensuring that the assets are accessed by authorized persons only.
Integrity means ensuring that the data and information to be secured are complete, correct, and safeguarded thoroughly.
Availability is ensuring that the protected information is available to the authorized persons when they require it.
Policies and Procedures and Approval from the Management
In this step, you will have to create policies and procedures based on the insights you got from the first step. It is said to be the riskiest step as it will enforce new behaviors in your organization. Rules and regulations will be set for all the employees in this step. Therefore, it becomes the riskiest step as people always resist accepting and following the changes. You also should get the management approval once the policies are written.
Risk assessment is an integral part of implementing an Information Security Management System. Risk assessment allows you to provide values to your assets and realize which asset needs utmost care. For example, a competitor, an insider, or a cybercriminal group may want to compromise your information and steal your information. With a simple brainstorming session, you can realize and identify various potential sources of risk and potential damage. A well-documented risk assessment plan and methodology will make the process error-free.
In this step, you will have to implement the risk assessment plan you defined in the previous step. It is a time-consuming process, especially for larger organizations. This process is to get a clear picture of both internal and external dangers that can happen to the information in your organization.
The process of risk treatment also will help you to reduce the risks, which are not acceptable. Additionally, you may have to create a detailed report comprising all the steps you took during the risk assessment and treatment phase in this step.
If you want effectively implement all the policies and procedures, providing training to employees is necessary. To make people perform as expected, educating your personnel about the necessity of implementing an information security management system is crucial. The most common reason for the failure of security management failure is the absence of this program.
Once policies and procedures are written, and necessary training is provided to all employees, you can get into the actual process of implementing it in your organization. Then, as all the employees follow the new set of rules and regulations, you can start evaluating the system's effectiveness.
Monitoring and Auditing
Here you check whether the objectives set were being met or not. If not, you may take corrective and preventive actions. In addition, as part of auditing, you also ensure all employees are following what was being implemented in the information security management system. This is because people may likely follow wrong things without the awareness that they are doing something wrong. In that case, disciplinary actions have to be taken to prevent and correct it. Here you make sure and ensure all the controls are working as you expected.
The final step in the process of implementing an information security management system is management review. In this step, you work with the senior management to understand your ISMS is achieving the goals. You also utilize this step to set future goals in terms of your security strategy.
Once the implementation and review are completed successfully, the organization can apply for certification to ensure the best information security management practices.
Organizations benefit from implementing and certifying their information security management system. The organization has defined and implemented a management system by building awareness, training employees, applying the proper security measures, and executing a systematic approach to information security management. Thus implementation has the following benefits:
Minimized risk of information loss.
The increased trust of customers in the company as the company is ISO/IEC 27001 certified.
Developed competencies and awareness about information security among all employees
The organization meets various regulatory requirements.
Frequently Asked questions
What are the three principles of information security?
Confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) are the three main principles and objectives of information security. These are the fundamental principles and the heart of information security.
How does information security management work?
Information security management works on five pillars. The five pillars are assessment, detection, reaction, documentation, and prevention. Effective implementation of these pillars determines the success of the information security management in your company.
What are the challenges in information security management?
Challenges in information security management in your company can be the following:
You can’t identify your most critical data
Policies aren’t in place for protecting sensitive information.
Employees aren’t trained in company policies.
Technology isn’t implemented for your policies.
You can’t limit vendor access to sensitive information.
Article | August 30, 2021
With millions of employees having to work from home, companies are having to look at how to keep as many business-critical functions running as possible while at the same time maintaining adequate security. “In the last week alone, we have seen phishing emails go from 25,000 a day to 125,000 – a 500 per cent increase – which means the risk is real," explains Andrew Jackson, CEO of Intercity Technology. "Whilst firewalls included within domestic broadband routers are considered sufficient for personal use and occasional homeworking, they’re not necessarily capable of withstanding prolonged periods of remote working from a large proportion of the workforce, which is why we are seeing more businesses and their employees become the targets of malicious hackers. "Just because employees are now home based doesn’t mean that security and privacy regulations such as GDPR are null and void and therefore, working closely with a trusted IT security partner is vital to help mitigate against any potential risks.