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Securing Data and Defending Against Cyber Threats

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Khushbu Raval
Khushbu Raval
Khushbu is a Senior Correspondent and a content strategist with a special foray into DataTech and MarTech. She has been a keen researcher in the tech domain and is responsible for strategizing the social media scripts to optimize the collateral creation process.

Candid Wuest, VP of Cyber Protection Research at Acronis, highlights the critical importance of robust backup and disaster recovery strategies in safeguarding against cyber threats. Read on to gain valuable insights into bolstering cybersecurity measures.

In an exclusive interview, Candid Wuest, VP of Cyber Protection Research at Acronis, delves into the pivotal role of comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plans in fortifying cybersecurity defenses. He underscores organizations’ need to implement robust technical solutions and prioritize continuous workforce training with the latest tools. Discover in-depth insights into securing sensitive data and mitigating cyber risks in the dynamic landscape of today’s digital world.

Excerpts from the interview; 

How can enterprises achieve security and agility in a dynamic landscape?

With the constant shortage of resources to combat the escalating wave of cyberattacks, it is vital to automate the software stack wherever possible. This necessitates integrating solutions to correlate events across silos and make informed decisions. It also means simplifying complexity. According to the survey done by Acronis, 21% of respondents mentioned using more than ten security solutions concurrently. This leads to significant complexity, hindering automation and increasing the risk of errors.

What are some of the industrial sectors that Acronis caters to?

Acronis’ products are not limited to any specific industry. Our solutions are tailored to accommodate various business profiles and individuals, from SMEs to enterprises and students to independent professionals. This is because everyone can be a potential target of cyberattacks. In terms of sectors, we have customers in key industries in the Middle East, such as Oil and Gas, government entities, Energy, and supply chains.

How are cyber threats becoming more sophisticated? And how are companies preparing?

Today, companies base their critical decisions mostly on data, and they must trust this data. Cybercrime is an escalating threat, and cybercriminals employ more sophisticated tactics as people become increasingly cautious. Companies should prioritize training their workforce with the latest tools. Decision-makers must also be adept at using data processing tools rather than solely relying on staff for analysis. It’s more than just a matter for security experts and IT professionals. Everyone in an organization poses a potential risk and should know how to mitigate it.

What should cybersecurity companies do to protect Customer Identity Information?

Sensitive data, including customer information, must be safeguarded at all times. This begins with understanding where it is collected and stored and evaluating if it is necessary to collect it in the first place. Additionally, access should be restricted and monitored to detect unauthorized or suspicious access. Unfortunately, instances like cloud databases or data buckets with sensitive information are sometimes left accessible from the Internet to anyone. Such configuration errors need to be prevented.

Explain SAPAS. What’s the vision behind it?

We have developed a holistic approach to cyber protection known as SAPAS, which stands for Safety, Accessibility, Privacy, Authenticity, and Security. This provides a comprehensive protection experience beyond traditional backups or classical anti-virus solutions, which typically focus on only one aspect of the situation. 

Businesses and individuals need to adopt this approach to anticipate and thwart cyberattacks. Behavioral anti-malware, as found in Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud with Active Protection, has emerged as a crucial defense against hackers. Active Protection utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify malware based on its behavior, detecting suspicious activities instead of relying on a known threat database.

Discuss the significance of Acronis’s new protection pack in guarding against email threats.

Most threats originate from emails and unpatched systems and software, making them susceptible to targeted malware attacks. Acronis shields its customers from such threats through integrated cyber-protection software. It can intercept these attacks at various stages depending on the type of attack, offering a layered defense. 

Firstly, it provides patch management to ensure that the software is up-to-date. If an attack still occurs, it halts the malware from executing using traditional signature-based methods and modern AI-based detection. Lastly, if none of the protections succeed for some reason and data gets encrypted, it still allows recovery from a secure remote backup. 

In 2020, following the global impact of the pandemic, we launched Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, the sole comprehensive Cyber Protection solution tailored to enhance data protection and cyber security for remote work. Indeed, 36% of respondents stated that their organization’s biggest IT challenge during and following the shift to remote work was securing their employees’ data remotely. Additionally, 45% reported experiencing data loss, leading to business downtime. New cyber threats necessitate new tools and active protection.

How important is a backup and disaster recovery in place with many companies migrating to the cloud?

Patching, implementing strong authentication, and employing robust malware protection are still crucial measures. Most attacks are categorized as “not sophisticated” and result from human actions: they typically begin with a phishing email, a weak or reused password known to attackers from a prior breach, or an old, forgotten service exposed to the internet. 

Attackers then proceed to steal data or gain enough access to deploy ransomware. The simplest way to prevent damage is to stop the attack before it starts with preemptive measures or at the initial stage when it commences. However, in-depth defense and forensics are also vital. 

Additionally, a disaster recovery (DR) plan is always advisable. Its goal is to ensure a swift and seamless response to a disaster while minimizing the risk and cost to information systems and business operations. DR is now more user-friendly and can be swiftly implemented based on workload and location. Organizations can offer different services per their needs by tiering applications and departments based on criticality.

What is one motivational quote you live by?

Always be curious and ask questions, but never give up.

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