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Cisco Midyear Security Report: 5 Takeaways for Partners

Five, 5

… ever reaching users’ inboxes than depend on them not clicking a link or opening a document purporting to be from a colleague or trusted source.

4. Convenience and security don’t always mix. Cisco says open authorization (OAuth) risk and poor management of privileged user accounts create security gaps, and malicious hackers have already taken advantage. OAuth refers to that handy app authentication specification that allows us to use our Google or Twitter accounts to authenticate to a third-party service without setting up a new username and password. In fact, Google just announced that it will warn users when unverified apps request access to their accounts. Action: Google provided steps to compensate for OAuth’s weaknesses, including turning on two-step verification for your organization and using security keys, publishing a DMARC policy for the organization and enforcing rules for S/MIME encryption.

5. Patching vigilance pays off. Cisco says timely patching of Flash, which is riddled with security flaws, has helped slow the growth and innovation in the exploit kit market. However, when one door closes, attackers look for another, and researchers worry that they’ll find openings in IoT devices — specifically medical devices that were not designed with security in mind, are often running old and unpatched software and are rarely monitored. Action: Customers that run unsupported versions of Windows on desktops or servers are at risk since Microsoft isn’t issuing patches, except for extraordinary circumstances, such as May’s remote code execution flaw. In the Cisco report, TrapX researchers discuss the exploitation of an oncology system with known Windows XP vulnerabilities. Cisco also recommends keeping older signatures active, surrounding IoT devices with IPS defenses and closely monitoring network traffic. Our IoT security report explains the three must-have pillars of a profitable IoT program and the security considerations intrinsic to each element. Patching software and firmware wherever possible is high on the list.

The Cisco report also discusses how security preparations vary by customer size. For example, only 34 percent of SMBs reporting using email security compared with 45 percent of large organizations. And, 40 percent of SMBs use data loss prevention compared with 52 percent of large organizations.

Cisco points out that service providers, including CSPs, MSPs and MSSPs, have much to lose if they themselves are successfully attacked. More than half, 57 percent, of the service providers responding to the survey said they had dealt with public scrutiny due to a data breach, 34 percent reported revenue losses due to attacks in the past year, and about 30 percent report losing customers or business opportunities due to attacks.

Finally, no surprise, the report says security expertise is scarce, and that is an opportunity for partners. Among U.S. SMB respondents, 54 percent outsource monitoring; 44 percent of larger enterprises say the same. Just 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively, don’t use an outside provider for any of the six security functions discussed.

Dave Gronner, senior manager, security go-to-market within the Cisco global partner organization, says that the skills shortage means channel partners need to offer managed services to help customers assess their threat profiles and develop strategies to minimize risk. Gronner says these services should be tailored to a customer’s vertical and company size and include a plan to protect IoT devices, such as the DVRs that were part of the massive Mirai DDoS attacks that brought down sites including Twitter, the Guardian, Netflix, Reddit and CNN in December.

Download the full report here for more insights.

Security is also a key focus at Channel Partners Evolution, held in Austin Sept. 25-28. Attend our first-ever half-day ransomware preconference, learn what evil lurks in the dark web and why it matters to customers, and get in-depth info on using isolated backups to restore lost data. Register now — our room block is selling out fast!

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