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Cyber Security

Championing Privacy-First Security: Harmonizing Privacy and Security Compliance



Written by Emily Hancock, Data Privacy Officer at Cloudflare

The conventional perception often pits security against privacy. Establishing robust security measures involves identifying potential threats, yet this process may involve scrutinising sensitive or personal data, posing a risk to privacy. In truth, the key to ensuring data privacy lies in the implementation of effective data security. A meticulously crafted, privacy-centric security program not only provides substantial advantages to any organization but also mitigates potential privacy concerns.

Security vs. privacy misconception
The notion that security and privacy conflict arises when these two concepts are taken to their extremes. Within this perspective, any potential access to sensitive data is perceived as a breach of privacy, something to be avoided at any cost. Embracing this viewpoint significantly hinders the effectiveness of security programs in identifying and addressing potential threats.

Take, for instance, the realm of network traffic analysis. Packet inspection, a crucial tool in corporate cybersecurity, is commonly implemented through firewalls, seen as a fundamental security measure in various jurisdictions globally. By scrutinizing the content of network packets, it becomes possible to detect potential malware infections, data exfiltration, account takeover, and other threats. However, from a privacy standpoint, concerns arise when packet inspection involves personally identifiable information (PII) or other sensitive data.

From a privacy absolutist perspective, a preference is often given to end-to-end encryption with no packet inspection. On the surface, these two viewpoints—ensuring necessary security and safeguarding personal data—may appear incompatible. Nevertheless, regulators emphasise that providing reasonable security is crucial for protecting data privacy, as evident in numerous privacy regulatory enforcement actions against companies experiencing security breaches. We believe that data privacy and security leaders can reconcile the apparent conflict between security and privacy absolutism, but it necessitates adopting a different perspective on data privacy and security altogether.

What are the potential threats?
Both data security and data privacy programs are founded on the core principle of risk management. Aligning the objectives of these programs entails examining the conceivable threats to an organization’s data. For any entity handling personal data, ensuring the security and privacy of such information is paramount. A primary concern within a data security program is the possibility that security solutions might inadvertently access personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data while carrying out their functions. These tools, which could include email scanners, network packet analyzers, or file inspection systems, may inadvertently come across such confidential content.

Another significant risk to both corporate and customer data is the potential exposure to cybercriminals. For instance, contemporary ransomware tactics involve stealing and disclosing sensitive data if the targeted company refuses to pay the ransom. Even compliance with the ransom demand offers no assurance that the data will be erased and won’t be disclosed. Avoiding these risks entirely is impractical. An effective security program necessitates access to data, and inadequate security measures virtually guarantee the occurrence of data breaches.

Discovering a Path Toward Privacy-First Security
When security solutions are crafted with privacy as a central consideration, organizations can deploy robust security measures while safeguarding the personal data of their customers and employees. A comprehensive cost-benefit analysis reveals significant advantages in adopting a privacy-first approach to security.

For instance, proactively blocking malware before it infiltrates an organization’s systems can avert a potential data breach. Given the average cost of $4.45 million in 2023, coupled with the consequential impact on brand reputation and legal ramifications, preventing even a single data breach becomes paramount for any company. Hence, the importance of industry-leading security measures is indisputable. Any reputable security company should provide solutions that limit its access to sensitive data and ensure the protection of the personal data entrusted to its care.

Creating a Security Program with Privacy at the Forefront
Privacy and security can coexist harmoniously. A privacy-first security program assesses the risks associated with both implementing and not implementing security measures. If the advantages of deploying a security solution, such as email scanning, outweigh the drawbacks — which is highly probable — the organization should proceed with the careful implementation of this capability. When determining the suitability of a security tool for enhancing both data security and privacy, consider asking the following key questions:

  • Does it provide clear benefits? The potential privacy risks of a security solution are only acceptable if it also reduces the risk of a data breach.
  • Does it minimise access to personal data? A security solution should minimize the amount of potentially sensitive data it accesses and processes.
  • Does the company prioritise security? Check how the company has handled past security incidents and prioritised security investment.
  • Does it meet regulatory requirements? Verify that the company has privacy-focused certifications such as ISO 27701 and ISO 27018, and is certified to the prevailing local and international data privacy frameworks. If a company has these certifications in addition to standard security certifications such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type II, it’s a great sign that a vendor goes above and beyond on privacy and security.

Assessing all these criteria for the 60+ security tools typically employed by an average organization can be a substantial undertaking. This underscores the compelling case for security consolidation. Conducting thorough due diligence on a single vendor offering a comprehensive suite of capabilities is more manageable than conducting a superficial assessment of multiple individual point security products.

Cyber Security

Netskope Joins Google Workspace Security Alliance



Netskope has joined the Google Workspace Security Alliance to extend security and data protection for Workspace users. The Netskope One Platform provides a number of advanced security capabilities that protect data, defend against threats, and ensure users have fast and secure access to Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools, including Gemini for Workspace.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud technologies to drive innovation and efficiency, they are also challenged to secure sensitive data from a range of cyber risks, including:

  • Ongoing increases in the number of users uploading sensitive data to personal instances of cloud applications
  • New and evolving threat techniques such as abuse of certain applications for critical data access, back doors, and financial gain; compromise of credentials to access critical business data; insider threats; and more
  • Data exposure from the insecure use of both managed and unmanaged AI-based productivity tools

Netskope and Google Workspace empower organizations to embrace modern collaboration and productivity by enabling the secure use of AI-based productivity tools. Netskope provides advanced data loss prevention (DLP) techniques, delivering real-time visibility and control over users, data, and corporate vs. personal cloud instances. In addition, Netskope’s comprehensive threat protection through both API and inline controls detects threats in Google applications and monitors data movement and threat propagation between Google Workspace apps and third-party ecosystem applications.

“Netskope is proud to expand its partnership with Google Workspace by joining the Workspace Security Alliance. There are already thousands of customers using Netskope to safeguard their Google Workspace applications, and this new partnership further enhances the secure usage capabilities for application specific data protection policies,” said Andy Horwitz, VP, Global Partner Ecosystems, Netskope. “Together, Netskope and Google Workspace can help customers modernize their productivity stack. We look forward to helping customers safely optimize their employees’ daily productivity.”

The Netskope and Google Workspace partnership enables organizations to embrace collaboration and productivity while safeguarding critical data. Joint customers can now more effectively:

  1. Support best practice use of Gemini for Google Workspace: Leverage real-time user coaching to help enforce best practices in application usage. Organizations can gain visibility into data movement to minimize sensitive information sharing while achieving data compliance objectives.
  2. Protect sensitive data: Detect and manage access to sensitive data within Google Workspace applications, enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized data movement across platforms, including third-party services like Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
  3. Stop insider threats like data exfiltration: Prevent the download of sensitive data from Google Workspace business instances and then the upload to personal instances, which is one of today’s top reasons for data loss. Additionally, apply this control to unmanaged devices: allow unmanaged or personal device access to a specific cloud app for collaboration, however, do not allow downloading of sensitive data.
  4. Detect and stop elusive threats and malware: Protect against malware and phishing delivered from the cloud. Netskope’s multi-layered advanced threat protection (ATP) enhances security within Google Workspace and across cloud applications.
  5. Maintain compliance in Google Workspace: Ensure that organizations can adhere to regulations and meet compliance needs by enforcing security policies within Google Workspace.

“By partnering with Netskope, a leading SASE vendor, customers can confidently expand their Google Workspace adoption leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments,” said Nikhil Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Workspace. “Netskope instance awareness enables fine grained data governance policy differences to both corporate and personal Google Workspace accounts. We are excited to partner with Netskope to provide these advanced security capabilities to our customers.”

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Channel Talk

AmiViz and BitSight Join Forces to Elevate Middle East Risk Management



AmiViz has partnered with Bitsight, a leading provider of cyber risk management solutions. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in bolstering cybersecurity capabilities across the region and facilitating Bitsight’s expansion efforts in the Middle East.

The partnership between AmiViz and Bitsight will enhance the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East by introducing state-of-the-art solutions designed to tackle the evolving cyber threats confronting regional organizations. With both companies committed to improving cybersecurity awareness and resilience, they are set to pave the way for a safer and more secure digital environment in the region.

Commenting on the partnership with Bitsight, Ilyas Mohammed, COO at AmiViz said, “Our decision to onboard Bitsight demonstrates our commitment towards the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East. As organizations grapple with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the partnership between these two industry leaders promises to deliver enhanced value by equipping organizations with the tools and insights needed to effectively manage cyber risks and safeguard their digital assets in an ever-evolving threat landscape.”

Bitsight’s solutions can proactively assess and manage their cyber risk exposure and provide organizations with actionable intelligence to optimize their security investments, streamline vendor risk management processes, and enhance cyber resilience. With a focus on continuous monitoring and data-driven insights, Bitsight empowers organizations to make informed decisions and stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

The Middle East has often been an attractive target for cyber-attacks, and this partnership will empower companies to address vulnerabilities and protect their digital assets proactively. By combining AmiViz’s deep understanding of the regional market dynamics with Bitsight’s cutting-edge technology and global expertise, the partnership will offer next-generation cybersecurity solutions tailored to the unique challenges and requirements of Middle Eastern organizations.

“We are proud to partner with AmiViz to transform the cyber risk management landscape in the Middle East,” said Xavier Artiguebieille, Senior Vice President, EMEA Sales at Bitsight. “Our combined efforts will equip organizations with the critical tools and intelligence needed to navigate and mitigate the complexities of modern cyber threats, enhancing their overall security and resilience.”

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Artificial Intelligence

ESET’s New AI Assistant Streamlines Threat Detection and Response



ESET has introduced ESET AI Advisor, an innovative generative AI-based cybersecurity assistant that transforms incident response and interactive risk analysis. First showcased at RSA Conference 2024, the new solution is now available as part of the ESET PROTECT MDR Ultimate subscription tier and ESET Threat Intelligence.

Unlike other vendor offerings and typical generative AI assistants that focus on soft features like administration or device management, ESET AI Advisor seamlessly integrates into the day-to-day operations of security analysts, conducting in-depth analysis. Building on over two decades of ESET’s expertise in AI-driven endpoint protection, the offering provides detailed incident data and SOC team-level advisory. This is a game-changer for companies with limited IT resources who want to utilize the advantages of advanced Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions and threat intelligence feeds.

“As cybersecurity threats become increasingly sophisticated, ESET remains committed to providing cutting-edge solutions that address these challenges. The ESET AI Advisor module represents a significant leap forward in our mission to close the cybersecurity skills gap and empower organizations to safeguard their digital assets effectively,” said Juraj Malcho, Chief Technology Officer at ESET.

One of the primary benefits of this new solution is closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Security analysts of all skill levels can use ESET AI Advisor to conduct interactive risk identification, analysis, and response capabilities, which are provided in an easily understandable format. The user-friendly interface makes sophisticated threat data actionable even for less experienced IT and security professionals.

The ESET AI Advisor also excels in facilitating faster decision-making for critical incidents. Security analysts can simply consult the ESET AI Advisor to understand the specific threats their environment faces. Leveraging extensive XDR collected data, the ESET AI Advisor identifies and analyzes potential malware threats, providing intuitive insights into their behaviour and impact. It assists in recognizing phishing attempts and advising users on how to avoid falling victim to fraudulent emails or websites. By monitoring network traffic, the ESET AI Advisor can flag unusual or suspicious behaviour, helping security teams take appropriate action. Its ability to automate repetitive tasks is an additional advantage. Managing routine processes such as data collection, extraction, and basic threat detection, allows security teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

In ESET Threat Intelligence, the new module will help researchers analyze vast quantities of unique APT reports and understand latest developments in world of cyber threats. With its conversational prompts and interactive dialogue, ESET AI Advisor empowers organizations to analyze and mitigate threats effortlessly and fortify their cybersecurity posture.

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