Table of Contents
- What is Cyber Security Monitoring?
- Why is Security Monitoring Important?
- Common Methods of Attack
- How Does Cyber Security Threat Monitoring Work?
- Importance of Cybersecurity Monitoring
- Security Monitoring Tools
- Effective Steps for Cyber Security Monitoring
- Challenges in Implementing Continuous Security Monitoring
Today, in a digital world, everyone is embracing technology and going online to keep up with society and the latest advancements. Even small shop vendors and small-scale businesses are now accepting online payments and going digital. However, with this digital transformation comes the risk of cyber threats and data breaches. During the recent lockdowns, there were several cases of data breaches in different organisations, resulting in heavy losses.
These breaches occur when criminals, known as black hat hackers, break into computer networks with malicious intentions. They release malware that destroys files, steals passwords, and compromises crucial details of organisations. This is where cybersecurity monitoring comes into play. Cybersecurity monitoring involves continuously observing an organisation’s network to detect threats and data breaches before they escalate into serious security issues. By monitoring network traffic, organisations can identify and address potential vulnerabilities and protect their data from cyberattacks.
What is Cybersecurity Monitoring?
Cybersecurity monitoring is an automated process of continuously observing an organisation’s network to detect any behaviour that may harm its data or pose cyber threats. It involves keeping an eye on network traffic and sending alerts to a security incident and event management (SIEM) system if any malicious activity or data breach is detected. SIEM systems help in analysing and managing security events and incidents in real-time.
Why is Security Monitoring Important?
In today’s digital landscape, simply relying on cybersecurity tools is not enough to ensure the safety of an organisation’s data. It is essential to take advanced measures and tactics to protect against cyberattacks and data breaches. Not only can these breaches result in financial losses for organisations, but they can also damage their reputation and compromise the privacy of user data. Therefore, security monitoring is crucial to preserve the following aspects:
- Reputation: A data breach or cyberattack can significantly damage an organisation’s reputation, leading to a loss of trust from customers and stakeholders.
- Privacy of User Data: Organisations are responsible for safeguarding the personal and sensitive data of their users. Security monitoring helps detect and prevent unauthorised access to user data.
- Availability: Any disruption in an organisation’s website or application can lead to financial losses and a negative impact on its reputation. Security monitoring helps ensure the availability of services by detecting and addressing potential threats.
- Misuse of Organisation Services: Attackers may attempt to misuse an organisation’s services for their malicious activities. Security monitoring helps identify and prevent such misuse.
Common Methods of Attack
To prevent malicious attacks, security monitoring is configured to detect and block various methods used by attackers. Some common methods include:
1. DDoS Attacks
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks involve flooding a network or server with a large number of requests or packets, causing it to become overwhelmed and unavailable to legitimate users. Security monitoring can detect and block these attack attempts.
2. Injecting Malicious Code or Commands
Attackers may attempt to inject malicious code or commands into input fields or URL endpoints to compromise the privacy of user data. Security monitoring can identify and block such malicious attempts.
How Does Cybersecurity Threat Monitoring Work?
Cybersecurity threat monitoring involves real-time observation and analysis of network behaviour to identify any unusual or malicious activity. The monitoring process includes two main types:
1. Endpoint Monitoring
Endpoint monitoring involves analysing the behaviour of devices connected to a network, such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, and IoT devices. It helps detect any malicious or suspicious behaviour and enables the IT team to take preventive measures.
2. Network Monitoring
Network monitoring entails tracking and analysing the network to identify any issues or vulnerabilities. It helps ensure that network components are functioning properly and that the system is not vulnerable to cyber threats.
To facilitate monitoring, organisations use various diagnostic tools that continuously analyse network components and log the results. If any disturbances or threats are detected, these tools automatically notify the IT team, allowing them to address and resolve the issues.
Importance of Cybersecurity Monitoring
Continuous cybersecurity monitoring is crucial in today’s landscape of increasing cyberattacks. It helps organisations prevent data breaches and minimise the impact of cyber threats. Here are some key reasons why cybersecurity monitoring is important:
- Minimise Data Breach: Continuous monitoring helps detect and prevent data breaches before they occur, safeguarding the organisation’s sensitive information and protecting user data.
- Improve Time to Respond to Attacks: Organisations must be prepared to respond quickly to cyberattacks. Monitoring enables early detection, allowing the IT team to respond promptly and mitigate the impact of the attack.
- Address Security Vulnerability: By continuously monitoring the network, organisations can identify and address security vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. This includes keeping protocols and firewalls up to date and conducting bug hunting programs.
- Compliance with Standards and Regulations: Organisations must comply with cybersecurity standards and regulations to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Continuous monitoring helps identify and address any non-compliance issues.
- Reduce Downtime: Continuous monitoring ensures that the organisation’s network is fully functional and can handle all operations. This reduces downtime, which can harm the organisation’s reputation and finances.
- Keep Pace with Evolving Threats: Cyber criminals are constantly developing new attack techniques and tactics. Continuous monitoring helps organisations stay ahead of these evolving threats and protect their networks.
- Rise in Remote Work: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in remote work. Organisations are using cloud services and need to monitor network traffic to prevent unauthorised access and protect sensitive data.
- Increase Employee Productivity: Well-structured and secure networks enhance employee productivity by allowing them to focus on their core tasks without disruptions. Continuous monitoring ensures a secure IT infrastructure, leading to increased productivity.
To facilitate monitoring, organisations use automation tools that send alerts to the IT team when unusual activity or threats are detected. These tools can also perform predefined actions based on certain conditions, improving the speed and efficiency of incident response.
Security Monitoring Tools
Several security monitoring tools are available in the market to assist organisations in their cybersecurity efforts. Some popular tools include:
- ARGUS (Audit Record Generation and Utilisation System): ARGUS is an open-source network monitoring tool used for in-depth analysis of network traffic.
- Nagios: Nagios is a tool used for monitoring hosts, networks, and systems. It provides real-time alerts and can monitor various services.
- P0f: P0f is a lightweight tool used to detect the operating system of devices interacting with the network.
- Splunk: Splunk is a comprehensive tool that offers real-time analysis and historical data searches. It provides a user-friendly interface for security monitoring and log management.
- OSSEC (Open source HIDS Security): OSSEC is a free and open-source host-based intrusion detection system that performs log analysis, rootkit detection, and time-based alerting.
Choosing the right tools depends on the specific needs and requirements of the organisation. Organisations should consider factors such as ease of use, functionality, and cost when selecting security monitoring tools.
Effective Steps for Cybersecurity Monitoring
Implementing effective cybersecurity monitoring requires a systematic approach and the following steps:
- Use SIEM Tools and Software Solutions: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms play a crucial role in cybersecurity monitoring. SIEM tools automate the monitoring and analysis of log data, making it easier for the IT team to identify and address potential threats.
- Employ Trained Experts: Having trained experts in the team is essential for effective security monitoring. These experts have the knowledge and skills to identify and respond to threats promptly.
- Train Employees: Educating and training employees about cybersecurity best practices is crucial. Trained employees can recognise and respond appropriately to potential threats, reducing the risk of successful attacks.
- Leverage Managed Services: Managed services can help organisations manage and monitor their network components effectively. By enabling only the required services and implementing strong protocols, organisations can reduce the risk of cyber threats.
Challenges in Implementing Continuous Security Monitoring
Implementing continuous security monitoring comes with its own set of challenges. Some common challenges include:
- Identifying Critical Assets: Organisations need to identify and prioritise their critical assets to focus their monitoring efforts effectively. Categorising assets based on their level of criticality can help allocate resources appropriately.
- Endpoint Activity Tracking: Tracking the behaviour of endpoints, including various devices connected to the network, can be challenging. Organisations need to implement a system that accurately monitors endpoint activity to detect and prevent potential threats.
- Choosing the Right Tool Collection: Selecting the right tools for continuous security monitoring can be challenging. Organisations need tools that can be programmed to analyse logs and packets, perform real-time monitoring, and record data for further analysis.
- Attack Detection: Effective attack detection requires a monitoring plan that filters and prioritises unusual network traffic. The plan should generate alerts for expert analysis and facilitate prompt incident response.
Cybersecurity monitoring is a critical aspect of ensuring the safety and security of an organisation’s network and data. By continuously monitoring network traffic and implementing effective security measures, organisations can detect and prevent cyberattacks and data breaches. It is important to choose the right tools, employ trained experts, and train employees to effectively implement and maintain a robust security monitoring system. Continuous security monitoring helps organisations minimise the impact of cyber threats, protect their reputation, and ensure the privacy and availability of user data.