Sharing is caring: How the enterprise can keep pace with the hackers

The days of blissful ignorance are over. With consumers increasingly aware of the security and protection issues relating to their data, companies have been forced to become more transparent.

Already the majority of states in the US have passed legislation requiring companies to notify customers when data breaches occur and efforts are also underway to strengthen similar laws across the EU.

Notifying consumers of data breaches is an important consideration in retaining trust but there is an equally important point to bear in mind. Sharing the related breach data to improve endpoint security will be crucial in giving businesses the best chance of repelling future threats.

It will also help to limit the reputational and financial damage that such attacks can cause. After all, it is the application, not the notification that will help the enterprise gain the upper hand.

The current state of affairs

According to the Ponemon Institute, the cost of data breaches over 2014 rose by 15 per cent on average. Aside from these direct financial consequences, the long-term impact of lost custom for a business can be crippling from a reputational perspective.

This escalation of the cyber threat makes it even more critical for the enterprise to get on the front foot and act as a united body in the face of risk. As things stand many businesses are simply not aware of cyber threats until they are actively causing damage within an IT environment.

By the time many notice suspicious activity, corporate data will already have been compromised. So how can sharing threat intelligence help businesses keep pace with the hackers and take more pre-emptive measures to protect corporate data?

Mirroring hacker behaviour

The sharing of threat intelligence will help large corporations move at the same pace and with a similar agility to the hackers that are targeting them.

Cyber criminals are constantly sharing information and best practice relating to infiltrating organisations, giving themselves the best possible chance of achieving their goals. It follows that businesses should be doing the same.

Exchanging threat data doesn’t have to mean giving away a competitive advantage. The extent of the data revealed is up to the discretion of the individual company, but ultimately the end goal is more important. There is strength in numbers and by trading up-to-date intelligence the enterprise gives itself the best possible chance of securing corporate data.

Substance to the rhetoric

Naturally there will be some hesitance among certain industries which is why the technical infrastructure must be in place to ensure that only relevant intelligence is shared and that it is shared as quickly as possible.

For this to be realised, one key element that businesses need to have in place is an endpoint backup solution that enables the IT team to quickly and easily identify the type of data that was housed on a lost/stolen or hacked computer.

The ability to classify this data quickly will allow businesses to share relevant data with businesses in the industry. As a result, those who may be unsure about the practice can be convinced of its utility and encouraged to share their own data for the good of the business community.

The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving. If the enterprise does not adapt to keep up with this rate of change, it will suffer.

Andy Hardy is managing director EMEA at Code42.