Cybersecurity risk mitigation recommendations for 2024-25

Adam Cheriki, Co-founder & CTO, Entro
April 29, 2024
cyber mitigation

In 2024-25, we’re in for a wild ride with cybersecurity as technology rockets forward with AI at the helm.  Cyber threats will get smarter, deadlier, and more frequent. The old-school approach of playing defense and putting out fires won’t cut it anymore. To stay in the game, organizations must get proactive and think about cyber security risk mitigation from a holistic point of view. That means getting their hands dirty, analyzing the current and up-and-coming threats, and using them all to devise a plan to keep them at bay.

This article will look at the top cybersecurity risks to watch out for in 2024-25. We’re talking AI-powered threats that can think for themselves, third-party data breaches that can sneak up on you, and the headache of managing and securing non-human identities (NHIs). We’ll also spotlight the crucial role of secrets management in keeping your organization’s sensitive info under lock and key. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it.

Common cyber attacks we must prioritize

Threat actors employ increasingly sophisticated techniques to compromise systems of any size and extort victims. Attacks like DDoS, phishing, social engineering, ransomware, and insider threats pose significant risks to organizations, and the growing use of non-human identities and secrets has not helped shrink the attack surface.

  • Ransomware, for example, is a major threat that often exploits stolen secrets like API keys or access tokens to encrypt an organization’s data and demand payment. 
  • DDoS attacks, on the other hand, can overwhelm systems by flooding them with traffic and disrupting access to critical resources and applications that rely on non-human identities.
  • Other attacks, such as phishing and social engineering tactics, have tricked employees into revealing their credentials, which has long unlocked the organization’s high-level accounts and connected systems.
  • However, threats can also come from within the organization. Insider threats may involve trusted and disgruntled employees abusing their access to secrets like service accounts and API keys to steal data or sabotage systems.

The sprawl of API keys, credentials, and non-human identities like service accounts have become primary targets for adversaries. Interestingly, these machine identities often need more security controls applied to human identities and can provide a path of least resistance for attackers if not properly managed.

The impact on your business

Cyberattacks can have far-reaching and devastating consequences for businesses of all sizes. Their impact extends beyond the immediate financial losses. They can permanently damage a company’s reputation and customer trust, and have a lasting impact on business operations. Here are some of the tangibles:

Financial fallout

The financial toll of a cyberattack can be staggering and leave businesses reeling from the blow. In March this year, for instance, UnitedHealth Group paid $22 million to the BlackCat cyber gang in ransom to recover compromised data of Change Healthcare, its subsidiary. Ransomware attacks like these will put cyber security leaks in 2023 to shame. But it’s not just ransomware attacks — the impact of operational disruptions caused by DDoS attacks and similar breaches can grind businesses to a halt, leading to lost productivity and revenue.

Intellectual property theft

Intellectual property is the secret sauce of most modern organizations. But this prized possession can become a weapon of their destruction if their adversaries get their hands on it. Imagine the gut-wrenching realization that a competitor is siphoning off your cutting-edge research. It’s a death knell for those who rely on innovation to stay ahead of the curve, as their market share will erode in one fell swoop.

Reputational damage

Reputational damage spreads like wildfire, fueled by the instant reach of social media and 24/7 news cycles. Data breaches that expose sensitive customer information, embarrassing emails, or controversial business practices can torpedo public trust, leaving businesses scrambling to contain the fallout. The consequences can be swift and unforgiving, with once-loyal customers jumping ship and seeking out competitors. Businesses are left scrambling to mitigate the damage and rebuild trust.

Operational disruptions

Cyberattacks often have complex and far-reaching implications that may not be immediately apparent. A single incident can trigger a cascade of disruptions across an organization, impacting operations in ways that ripple out to every corner of the company. Supply chains can be thrown into disarray, customer service can grind to a halt, and employees can be left struggling to carry out their duties without access to critical systems and data. 

Ransomware attacks, in particular, can be crippling, paralyzing essential infrastructure. Meanwhile, DDoS assaults can render websites inaccessible, driving away customers and revenue. The resulting downtime and lost productivity can take a heavy toll, not just financially but also on morale. The effects can be profound and pervasive, extending far beyond IT.

Expectations for 2024-25

2024-25 can present some unforeseen cybersecurity hurdles and challenges in secrets management. Here are a few trends to look forward to.

AI threats

2024-25 will see AI cyber security threats reach new heights of sophistication as adversaries weaponize AI to automate and scale their campaigns. Deepfakes and AI-generated phishing emails will blur the lines between reality and deception, making it harder than ever to spot the fakes. But it won’t just be a tool for the bad guys. AI-assisted threat detection and response will become a critical line of defense, enabling organizations to fight fire with fire and stay one step ahead.

Third-party data breaches

Third-party data breaches will continue to be a thorn in the side of organizations as the risks associated with vendor and supply chain security reach critical levels. Organizations must put their vendors under the microscope, conduct thorough due diligence, and implement ironclad security controls, among other best practices for cyber risk mitigation in 2024-25.

Increased non-human identity access 

The explosion of service accounts will make non-human identities the new frontier for cybersecurity in 2024-25. As the scale of NHI access grows, so will the challenges of managing and securing these identities. Traditional IAM solutions may not cut it, leaving organizations vulnerable to NHI compromise and unauthorized access.

Increased regulations

2024-25 will see the compliance landscape become more complex, with new regulations and standards to tackle emerging risks and technologies. From data privacy to AI governance to industry-specific standards, organizations will need to navigate a regulatory gauntlet or risk facing hefty fines and legal fallout, making it crucial to adopt best practices for cyber risk mitigation in 2024-25.

Risk mitigation strategies

We are seeing a combination of advanced threats, cunning hackers, and an expanding attack surface. It’s all no less than a digital battlefield where to emerge victorious, you need a razor-sharp strategy that cuts through the noise and delivers real, tangible results. Effective cyber security risk management requires a comprehensive approach encompassing technical controls, governance, risk assessment, and incident response planning. With that said, here are our cyber security risk mitigation strategies for 2024-25:

Centralized non-human identity management

Non-human identities have silently outnumbered their human counterparts. To take control, you need to establish a single pane of glass that supports the visibility of secrets and overall non-human identity management. This system should enable you to:

  • Automatically discover and inventory all non-human identities across your entire IT ecosystem
  • Enforce strict access controls and permissions based on the principle of least privilege
  • Monitor and audit all activities associated with non-human identities in real-time
  • Integrate with your existing security tools and workflows for seamless management

Automated discovery and remediation

Manually tackling and managing secrets and non-human identities across your ecosystem is daunting, to say the least, and quite prone to human error. To deal with this, organizations must leverage the automated discovery features of a competent secrets management platform to ensure all non-human identities are dealt with regardless of their location or environment. Integrating threat detection and response and vulnerability auto-remediation capabilities can help minimize the window of opportunity for attackers.

Granular visibility and risk assessment

Gain deep visibility into your non-human identity landscape by

  • Creating a detailed inventory of all non-human identities, including their purpose, ownership, and dependencies
  • Analyzing the behavior and usage patterns of each identity to identify potential risks and anomalies
  • Conducting regular risk assessments to prioritize automated remediation of secrets exposure based on the criticality and impact
  • Leveraging machine learning algorithms to detect and respond to emerging threats in real-time

Automated lifecycle management 

Leveraging automation in the lifecycle management of non-human identities can help organizations save time and resources while maintaining security and compliance with regulatory bodies. 

One key aspect of automated lifecycle management is implementing a self-service portal for requesting and provisioning new identities. By providing predefined templates and workflows, this portal empowers users to quickly and easily request the identities they need without compromising security. Additionally, by enforcing automatic rotation and expiration of credentials based on predefined policies and best practices, organizations can minimize the risk of unauthorized access and ensure that their non-human identities are always up-to-date.

Another crucial component of automated lifecycle management is the decommissioning process for unused or obsolete identities. Organizations can significantly reduce their attack surface by automating this process, eliminating potential entry points for malicious actors.

Multi-cloud security integration 

With multicloud becoming the norm, ensuring consistent security across all platforms and services is increasingly challenging. We need a cloud-agnostic security solution that offers easy integration options to deal with this. By enforcing this uniformity, organizations can rest assured of their security regardless of their specific cloud technologies. 

Automated compliance reporting 

All companies must maintain compliance with various industry standards to avoid hefty penalties and maintain trust with their customers and stakeholders. Nonetheless, keeping up can be a resource-intensive task since compliance requirements are updated frequently. To simplify this, we need to use automated compliance reporting.

Businesses can use their resources more productively by implementing an automated compliance reporting system that maps an organization’s security controls to relevant regulations and standards. Of course, the system should be capable of generating real-time compliance reports and dashboards, providing auditors and stakeholders with a clear, up-to-date picture of the organization’s compliance posture.

Furthermore, with ML algorithms in place, the system can expect to identify compliance gaps and suggest remediation actions, helping organizations proactively address issues before they become significant problems.

Education and awareness

Incorporating secrets security in the development stages is a critical aspect of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, ensuring that sensitive information is protected from the earliest phases of the software development lifecycle. So, it is a good idea to invest in continuous security education and awareness programs. This way, everyone in the company stays ahead of the curve and can deal with even the most complex challenges with finesse. The programs should cover the latest threats and offer best practices with specific action items. Simulations are also helpful here as they can be used to test incident response capabilities and identify areas that could be improved.

Parting thoughts

As we approach 2024, organizations must adopt a proactive, multi-faceted approach to cybersecurity risk mitigation. The key to success lies in remaining vigilant and adaptable to the shifting sands of time and, of course, automating as many processes as possible.

And if you’re looking to reduce your cybersecurity workload, Entro’s comprehensive secrets and non-human identities management solution might be of immense help. Its offering is built upon six pillars: discovery, secrets enrichment, anomaly detection, misconfiguration alerts, the principle of least privilege, and the flexibility to bring your vault (BYOV). With these capabilities in your arsenal, you can gain unparalleled visibility into your non-human identities and mitigate associated risks.

Why not see it for yourself? Click here to book a demo!

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