Global know-how, local protection

Your organisation will face cyber attacks. Not only are threats more numerous and sophisticated than ever, but modern IT systems are more complex, making them harder to defend. So how should you respond?

March 14, 2018

Your organisation will face cyber attacks. Not only are threats more numerous and sophisticated than ever, but modern IT systems are more complex, making them harder to defend. So how should you respond? According to Charles Bovy of NTT Security and Frédéric Lavend’Homme of Dimension Data Luxembourg (part of the NTT group), world-leading cyber security players are best placed to give you the full service protection you need.

Businesses seeking to build their own cyber security defences have to buy the latest tools, but more importantly, they need a dedicated, experienced team to use those resources. Finding the five or six security experts to give you 365/24/7 coverage is tricky. IT governance TRADE association ISACA has estimated a global shortage of around two million cyber security professionals. Then you have to retain these people in order to ensure continuity and strong team-work.

Coping with global threats

“All-told this will cost about €500,000-€600,000 per year to have your own in-house team, but often it’s not even just a question of salaries and conditions to retain these people,” commented Mr Bovy. “These skilled professionals need the motivation of regular fresh challenges,” he added. Moreover, teams that are used to combating malware outbreaks will be more experienced, and thus better able to choke off threats at an early stage before much damage can be done. This is where a major international player has the advantage over local operations.

“NTT is a global firm which runs part of the backbone on which almost 40% of all internet traffic passes,” commented Mr Lavend’Homme. The firm has sensors known as “honeypots” dotted around the network that enable the firm to map data flows and so glean useful information. For example, when the major WannaCry ransomware attack began in May 2017, NTT Security experts were able to respond to problems they noticed in the morning in Australia. “A solution was found to protect our European customers the same day,” said Mr Bovy.

Outsourcing for state-of-the-art protection

Just as most firms outsource the physical security of their building, NTT Security offers a full range of remote IT protection options. The industry terms for these activities are changing. Once “managed security services” covered the full range of outsourced protection, now “managed detection and response” is a new classification for the most sophisticated services.

“We have been providing rich services of this kind for a number of years,” said Mr Bovy. Just as a physical security firm will install cameras, sensors, and barriers, so NTT Security has the IT equivalent. They offer consulting and technical delivery services, plus seamless surveillance protection. Using sophisticated remote monitoring tools, their teams monitor firewalls, log files and other systems around the clock. Then they check to ensure the attack is for real, and not just a false-positive.

“When a team is sure an attack is underway, they have an extensive toolbox that they can deploy instantly, using techniques developed by our teams around the world,” noted Mr Lavend’Homme. They will then inform global colleagues who can prepare their local clients for the attack to come. Contrast this with smaller players which might rely on Twitter or chatrooms for information about the coming storm, with only a limited range of tools at their disposal for protection.

Data protection imperative

Dimension Data has been providing security services in Luxembourg since it was established here in 1993. About a third of the 220 local workforce work on security. The firm was purchased by the NTT group at the start of this decade, with NTT Security now focusing on their strategy to become the world’s number one in this field. In total, the NTT Security division employs 1,500 staff, including 350 highly skilled and experienced operatives in their ten global security operation centres.

Adding to the commercial imperatives of keeping client data safe and systems running at all times, is the coming General Data Protection Regulation. For Mr Lavend’Homme: “GDPR is a further reminder to organisations of all sizes of how they cannot afford to lose control of the data they hold.”

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