Six Ways to Improve Cloud Security for Your Organization

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Cloud security has become increasingly crucial as more organizations are transitioning from on-premise solutions to cloud-based services. The scalability and convenience of cloud products drive this shift. According to a study by Gartner, it is estimated that by 2026, 75% of organizations will adopt a digital transformation model predicated on cloud as the fundamental underlying platform. This showcases organizations moving toward the growing trend of cloud adoption and cloud technology as a key driver in their digital transformation journey and cybersecurity strategy.  

The rapid transition to the cloud has greatly expanded the potential areas for cyberattacks, posing a significant challenge for security teams. Cybercriminals have been targeting cloud environments by exploiting vulnerabilities in public-facing applications like web servers, gaining access through valid accounts, password resets, or by planting web shells for long-term access. These insights highlight the critical importance of implementing strong cloud security practices and actively managing exposure to mitigate the increasing threat of cloud-related attacks.  

This blog uncovers how to secure your cloud environment.   

Six ways to improve cloud security for your organization: 

1. Encrypt all data within the cloud:

Encryption makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to infiltrate sensitive information stored in the cloud. This added layer of protection ensures that data remains secure and confidential, reducing the risk of cyberattacks and breaches. Encryption also allows for secure data transmission between users and the cloud, further enhancing the security of information stored in the cloud. 

Implementing encryption also helps organizations comply with various data protection regulations and industry standards. By encrypting all data within the cloud, organizations can demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining data privacy. 

2. Centralize visibility of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments: 

Organizations can have visibility within a single pane of glass view across all cloud environments by centralizing the visibility of private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. IT teams can monitor and manage security controls, policies, and configurations more easily. This allows for better coordination and communication between different cloud environments, enabling organizations to quickly identify and remediate any security vulnerabilities or threats that may arise. 

Investing in Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions can further enhance centralized visibility across multiple cloud environments. XDR is a security platform that integrates and correlates security data from various sources such as endpoints, networks, and applications, providing a holistic view of the organization’s security posture. 

3. Enforce cloud security standards: 

By implementing and enforcing strict cloud security standards, organizations can ensure that all cloud services and applications adhere to best practices for data protection, access control, encryption, and compliance requirements. This can help mitigate the risk of unauthorized access compromising sensitive information stored in the cloud.  

Organizations should establish policies and procedures to enforce cloud security standards effectively. For example, conduct regular audits and assessments to monitor compliance with these standards and provide ongoing training and education for employees on best practices for securing cloud environments. 

4. Employ machine learning detection capabilities: 

Leveraging threat detection capabilities, such as User Entity and Behavior Analytics (UEBA) and Machine Learning, detects and responds to security threats in real-time. UEBA technology analyzes user behavior patterns and identifies deviations that may indicate a potential security incident. Machine Learning algorithms help block and predict security incidents by analyzing large datasets and identifying patterns indicative of malicious activity. By leveraging these advanced technologies, organizations can proactively protect their cloud environments from cyber threats. 

5. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA): 

Utilizing security tools and technologies, such as encryption, MFA, and intrusion detection systems, further enhances cloud security measures. MFA, specifically, adds an extra layer of protection to user accounts, requiring more than a password and username or email for access. MFA reduces the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches by requiring multiple verification forms to protect cloud data.   

Read more about the basics of MFA, its strengths and weaknesses, and top methods cybercriminals use to bypass MFA in MFA Bypass Attacks: How to Keep 2FA Secure. 

6. Regularly audit misconfigurations and stale accounts: 

Organizations should regularly audit and address misconfigurations in their cloud infrastructure. Misconfigurations can leave vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or resources. Organizations can identify and rectify misconfigurations by conducting regular audits of their cloud environments before they are exploited. This can involve implementing automated tools to scan for misconfigurations, regularly reviewing and updating security policies, and ensuring that employees are properly trained on best practices for cloud security.  

Another important aspect of cloud security is managing and monitoring stale accounts. Stale accounts refer to user accounts that are no longer actively used or have not been accessed for a long time. These accounts can become a target for cybercriminals, as they may not be monitored or have proper security measures in place. Organizations should regularly review their user accounts, identifying stale accounts and either disabling or deleting them. 

Maximize Your Cloud Security with Extended Detection and Response 

The shift to the cloud offers organizations a competitive edge by providing cost savings, increased agility, improved collaboration, and enhanced security features. It is no surprise that more and more organizations are transitioning to cloud services due to their numerous benefits. 

For lean teams looking to enhance their cloud security and free up time for other operational tasks, Extended Detection and Response (XDR) is invaluable. By seamlessly integrating with cloud security measures, XDR solutions provide continuous monitoring, threat detection, and prompt remediation, allowing organizations to safeguard their assets in the cloud proactively. 

This proactive approach ensures real-time threat detection and incident response, ultimately strengthening the overall security posture. With XDR in place, IT teams can focus on other critical operational tasks without compromising security. XDR services are vital in effectively supporting lean teams securing their cloud environments.   

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MFA Bypass Attacks: How to Keep 2FA Secure

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

One of the most widely recommended tactics to enhance security is the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA adds a layer of protection to user accounts, requiring more than just a username and password for access. However, as cybercriminals continue to evolve their tactics, they have found ways to bypass MFA, posing a significant threat to individuals and organizations.  

For example, despite MFA being implemented, Microsoft reports that 28% of users are still being targeted. This serves as a wake-up call to organizations to understand MFA’s limitations and implement additional layers of protection to safeguard their digital assets. 

This blog uncovers the basics of MFA, its strengths and weaknesses, top methods cybercriminals use to bypass MFA and solutions.  

What is Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)? 

MFA is a security measure that adds an extra layer of protection when accessing a system, application, or resource. It requires users to provide multiple forms of identification to verify their identity. With MFA, users must go beyond just providing a username and password to prove who they are. This helps address the weaknesses of using simple passwords or reusing them across different accounts.  

One form of MFA is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which requires a second factor, such as a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan, to verify your identity. This additional step enhances security and ensures that only authorized individuals can access the account. 

The Strengths and Weaknesses of MFA 

MFA significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access by requiring users to provide various forms of authentication, such as a password, a fingerprint, or a security token. This is especially important where data breaches and cyberattack attempts are increasingly common today. 

For example, many online banking platforms now require users to input a one-time password sent to their cell phone number in addition to their regular login credentials. So, even if a cybercriminal gets ahold of a user’s password, they will still need physical access to the user’s mobile device to complete the authentication process. Similarly, popular email providers like M365 often use MFA to guard against unauthorized access to user’s accounts by requiring another form of authentication, such as a fingerprint scan or a verification code sent to a trusted device.   

While MFA has proven to be an effective security measure in safeguarding sensitive information, it is important to acknowledge that cybercriminals continually adapt their strategies to bypass this system. Understanding the top methods used by these adversaries is vital in staying one step ahead in the relentless battle against cybersecurity threats. 

Bypassing MFA: Top Methods Cybercriminals Use 

Method #1: Phishing  

Phishing has become a top method used for cybercriminals to bypass MFA and gain unauthorized access to user accounts. Cybercriminals set up fraudulent phishing websites that closely mimic the login pages from popular platforms like M365, PayPal, GitHub, and others.  

To carry out this deception, they utilize tools such as EvilGinx, an open-source phishing framework. It comes with built-in “phishlets,” allowing cybercriminals to easily replicate the login pages of various websites. By hosting these phishing sites on custom domains and leveraging social engineering techniques, cybercriminals trick users into providing their login credentials and bypassing MFA.  

Method #2: Social Engineering 

Social engineering manipulates individuals into revealing sensitive information or performing actions that are not in their or their organization’s best interest. In the context of MFA, social engineering can be used to trick individuals into providing their MFA information, such as one-time passwords (OTPs) or biometric data. 

A common method cybercriminals use is the impersonation of a trusted individual, such as a co-worker, customer support representative, or IT manager. The cybercriminal does this through phone calls, emails, and text messages to deceive the target into revealing their MFA information. 

How to Strengthen MFA Security and Stay Protected 

To protect against attacks like EvilGinx, it is important to implement additional security measures: 

  1. User awareness: Educate employees about the risks of phishing attacks and the importance of not clicking on suspicious links or entering credentials on untrusted websites through Security Awareness Training.
  1. Secure session management: Implement mechanisms to protect session cookies, such as using secure cookies that are only transferred over encrypted connections (HTTPS) and regularly rotating session keys.  
  2. Behavior analysis: Implementing User Entity & Behavior Analytics (UEBA) detects abnormal behavior patterns, such as unusual login times or access from unfamiliar locations. For example, if a user typically logs in from a certain location or device and then suddenly attempts to log in from a different country or device, it could be a sign of a compromised session.

While MFA is a critical security measure, it is not foolproof. The goal is to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access, but determined and sophisticated adversaries can still find ways to compromise accounts. A cybersecurity strategy includes multiple layers of defense within your Security Operations Center, including MFA, regular security awareness training, threat monitoring, and incident response protocols. 

Illuminate Threats, Eliminate Risks 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providers play a crucial role in providing an extra layer of protection that organizations need in addition to MFA. MDR providers offer advanced threat detection and response capabilities, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to identify and respond to potential security threats. By continuously monitoring network traffic, endpoints, and user behavior, MDR providers can detect and mitigate threats that may bypass MFA, such as phishing attacks and social engineering.  

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An Overview of Microsoft 365 Security Best Practices

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

As organizations rely on cloud-based technologies for their operations, Microsoft 365 (M365) has become popular for its integrated suite of productivity and collaboration tools. M365 offers built-in security features that aim to protect organizations from various cybersecurity threats. However, in today’s complex threat landscape, relying only on the built-in security of M365 may not be enough. 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providers specialize in offering advanced security services that can integrate seamlessly with M365 to provide an additional layer of protection. MDR providers employ a range of technologies and techniques, such as AI-driven threat detection, real-time monitoring, and incident response, to actively identify and contain threats before they can cause significant harm within the M365 environment. 

This blog details the importance of expanding M365’s security by covering the best practices MDR providers should offer.  

M365 Data Security Best Practices   

Train Employees on Phishing Attempts 

Phishing attacks are a top method for cybercriminals to infiltrate systems, posing a significant risk to organizations using M365. These attacks have evolved in sophistication, making it harder for users to discern legitimate messages from malicious ones. As M365 is widely used for email communication, cybercriminals exploit this platform, disguising their phishing attempts as genuine correspondence. This tactic aims to trick users into exposing sensitive information or unknowingly downloading malware, posing grave security threats to organizations relying on M365 for their day-to-day operations.  

By training employees in email security through a Security Training Program, you can help them understand the risks and how to identify suspicious emails. This can include training employees to spot phishing signs, such as unexpected attachments or unusual email addresses, and avoiding clicking on suspicious links.  

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Admin Accounts 

MFA is a crucial security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to user accounts. While it is commonly known that employees should be required to enable MFA, it is equally important for administrators. Admin accounts, particularly those with high-level privileges such as Global Administrators, are prime targets for attackers due to their access and control level. By compromising an admin account, an attacker can gain unauthorized control over an organization’s systems and data, wreaking havoc and causing significant damage. 

However, it is important to note that while MFA is a powerful security measure, it is not foolproof. Cybercriminals have found ways to bypass MFA and gain unauthorized account access. For example, they may use sophisticated phishing techniques to trick users into providing their password credentials on a fraudulent website that will bypass the MFA. 

Integrate Logs with Existing MDR Solution 

Integrating your M365 logs into your existing MDR solution is crucial for achieving complete visibility into your environment. By doing so, you can ensure that all logs and events from M365 are analyzed and correlated with other security data from various sources. This helps you identify and respond to threats quickly.  

Firstly, it allows you to monitor and analyze user activities, such as logins, file access, and email actions, within the M365 environment. This visibility is essential for detecting anomalous behavior which may indicate a security breach. Secondly, integrating M365 logs with your MDR solution enables better correlation and analysis of events across your entire infrastructure. You can gain valuable context and a broader perspective on potential threats by aggregating and correlating M365 logs with logs from other systems, such as firewalls, endpoints, and cloud services.  

This holistic approach to monitoring identifies complex attack patterns and helps your security team make informed decisions on incident response. MDR solutions often provide specific integrations for M365, making the process of integrating logs seamless and efficient. These integrations typically include connectors or APIs facilitating the ingestion and analysis of M365 logs within the Security Operations Platform.  

Investigating Alerts for Suspicious M365 Activity 

Investigating alerts for suspicious M365 activity is critical for maintaining the security and integrity of your environment. According to Microsoft, these activities can include looking for unusual activities related to external user file activity, external file sharing, volume of file deletion, and more. 

However, configuring and managing alerts can be a lot to handle for IT teams, especially in large and complex environments. MDR solutions can alleviate the heavy load on IT teams by sifting through and prioritizing the alerts generated by the M365 integration. These solutions can analyze the context of alerts, correlate multiple events, and provide real-time insights into the severity and priority of each alert. 

One common scenario where MDR solutions provide immense value is detecting “impossible travel” from the M365 integration. Cybercriminals often attempt to log in from multiple locations across different geographical regions within a short period of time, which is humanly impossible.  

User Entity & Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a critical tool that allows MDR teams to effectively track and analyze employee behavior patterns within the M365 environment. With UEBA, organizations can identify anomalies and suspicious activities, including unauthorized logons from different locations, as cybercriminals may possess employee credentials. By leveraging UEBA, companies can establish a proactive approach to securing compromised accounts, preventing further unauthorized access, and taking immediate action. The presence of a dedicated MDR team provides organizations with extended visibility beyond their boundaries, ensuring enhanced security measures. 

Strengthening Cybersecurity with MDR Providers 

While M365 offers built-in security features, the evolving threat landscape requires additional layers of protection to safeguard organizations. MDR providers fill this gap by integrating seamlessly with M365 and leveraging advanced threat detection technologies, real-time monitoring, and incident response capabilities.   

MDR solutions not only help manage the overwhelming number of alerts generated by M365 but also provide expertise and insights to prioritize and address these threats effectively. By partnering with MDR providers and implementing best practices within your cybersecurity strategy, organizations can enhance their security posture and mitigate the risks associated with using M365. Typically, this integration is an additional cost, but Adlumin offers it at no additional cost. 

Learn more about Adlumin’s integrations and gain complete visibility across your entire enterprise. Our vendor–agnostic approach means you get the most out of your current security investments. 

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4 Factors to Consider Before Building vs. Buying MDR Services

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

When it comes to implementing a Managed Detection and Response solution, organizations often face the dilemma of choosing between building a Security Operations Center (SOC) in-house or buying a pre-existing Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution from a vendor. The MDR market has witnessed rapid growth due to cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated. As a result, organizations recognize the need to ramp up their security operations by adopting MDR services that combine threat intelligence, advanced detection tools, and around-the-clock monitoring. 

Cybercriminals are increasingly developing advanced attack strategies and techniques, making it critical for all organizations to have some form24x7 coverage. Proactive threat detection, continuous monitoring, and incident response are essential components of cybersecurity, ensuring the protection of valuable assets and maintaining customer trust. 

The decision between buying and building an MDR solution should not be taken lightly, as it could significantly affect your organization’s overall cybersecurity posture and operational efficiency. There are crucial factors that need to be carefully considered before making such a decision, including the organization’s objectives and needs, budget, team expertise, technology, and availability.  

4 Factors to Consider Before Building a SOC vs. Buying MDR 

  1. Cybersecurity Budget:

    There is a common misconception that working with an MDR vendor is more expensive compared to building an in-house SOC. However, when evaluating the total cost, it becomes clear that building in-house is often more costly. It is important to consider the affordability of various components, such as equipment, software, staffing, and ongoing maintenance. In addition, outsourcing to a trusted MDR vendor can prove to be cost-effective in the long run. Breaking down the expenses can often reveal additional expenses that can add up to a higher total cost to build in-house.  

    While focusing on building your SOC, organizations may divert internal resources from core business activities, leading to potential opportunity costs. Additionally, building an in-house capability takes time and does not happen overnight, so during this time, it may be difficult to detect threats. By buying an MDR solution from a trusted MDR provider, organizations can quickly implement a robust security posture without the associated time and opportunity costs of building internally.

    Ask yourself: What costs do I need to consider for buying vs. building an MDR solution? 

  2. Security Team Expertise: 

    When considering the implementation of an MDR, organizations should carefully assess their current team’s expertise and determine where their resources and time should be spent. Suppose your organization already has an internal team of cybersecurity professionals. In that case, it may be more beneficial for them to focus on other security operations tasks rather than constantly monitoring the environment and filtering through alerts.  

    Outsourcing the MDR to a trusted vendor can provide a ready-made team of experts in addition to a threat research team, to manage security operations efficiently, allowing the internal team to allocate their time and resources to other important cybersecurity tasks. This approach can help organizations optimize their resources and ensure that the expertise of their internal team is utilized effectively.

    Ask yourself: What expertise is required for an SOC? Do I currently have a team? And where do they need to spend their time? 

  3. Available Cybersecurity Technology:

    The cybersecurity landscape is dynamic, with threat actors constantly evolving their techniques. Organizations that choose to build an in-house SOC must allocate resources for research and development to stay updated on vulnerabilities, emerging threats, and industry best practices. This includes investing in threat intelligence feeds, attending conferences, participating in information-sharing communities, and conducting regular assessments and audits. Such ongoing investments are necessary to ensure that the in-house SOC remains effective and relevant.

    In contrast to MDR vendors, they are built to help organizations take command of their security operations and compliance without the additional need for expertise. Working with an MDR vendor, you should expect consistent updates, new technologies, and innovations that evolve with the current threat landscape.  

    Regardless of the chosen approach, organizations must invest in technology to build and maintain an in-house SOC effectively. This investment includes maintaining and tuning rules, managing the technology, and ensuring seamless integration with existing infrastructure.

    Ask yourself: What technology do I have currently, and what will I need to stay updated with current threats? 

  4.  IT Stack Scalability:

    Planning for scalability in your SOC should include adapting to evolving cybersecurity threats and accommodating your business’s expanding needs. This involves assessing the size and scope of your SOC and determining the necessary resources, such as the number of employees and tools, to support its growth. 

    When it comes to scalability, building an in-house SOC may limit your options. It requires additional investments in recruiting and training staff and acquiring new tools as the business evolves. Additionally, managing the increasing amount of data ingested can become cost prohibitive.

    On the other hand, opting for MDR service providers can offer flexible pricing that allows you to adjust your security resources and requirements as needed. They can help you scale your MDR to handle more data ingestion without incurring excessive costs. 

    Ask yourself: What scalability and flexibility does my growing business need?   

Buying vs. Building an MDR Solution? 

When considering whether to buy or build an MDR solution, it is crucial to start by outlining the ideal solution and assessing the availability of resources in-house. If building is viable, evaluating the time it will take to complete the project and ensuring it aligns with the desired go-live window is important. It is also important to find an MDR solution that can grow and scale with your organization as you build it. However, if building is not feasible within the desired timeframe or at all, exploring MDR providers that can deliver a solution that closely aligns with the ideal one is advisable. The decision between building vs. buying should be seen as a flexible approach to achieving the desired outcome based on your organization’s current circumstances. 

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Top One Percenter Show with Robert Johnston

In this podcast episode, Adlumin’s CEO, Robert Johnston, is featured on the Top One Percenter Show. Hosted by Paul Salamanca and Thomas Boccard, the interview dives into important topics such as raising capital, evolving professionalism, and navigating financial landscapes. Johnston shares his insights and expertise, discussing his journey to Adlumin. Listeners can gain valuable knowledge and inspiration from Johnston’s experiences and perspective.

Tune in to the episode to discover more about the mindset needed to excel in sales and entrepreneurship.

Audio links:

Cyber Tide Podcast Season 2, Episode 3: AI, IT Disruptions, Supply Chain Issues, and Other Cybersecurity Risks in 2024

In this episode, Adlumin’s Chief of Strategy, Mark Sangster, and Jessvin Thomas, Adlumin’s Chief Product Officer, who brings a decade of experience within MDR, discuss industry technology innovations and share insightful predictions for 2024. The episode offers valuable recommendations to safeguard organizations from potential risks.

Penetration Testing as a Service vs. PenTesting

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Penetration testing is a vital part of cybersecurity strategies for organizations, helping them identify vulnerabilities in their systems, networks, and applications. Organizations have relied on traditional penetration testing methods, where a team of experts conducts the tests on-site. However, with the rise of technology and cloud-based services, a new approach has emerged – Penetration Testing as a Service or PTaaS.   

This blog discusses the differences between conventional penetration testing and penetration testing as a service, comparing each method. By understanding the differences, organizations can make informed decisions when choosing the right approach for their security needs. 

What is Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS)? And how is it different? 

Penetration testing as a service is a revolutionary cybersecurity approach that is gaining popularity. Unlike traditional penetration testing methods, penetration testing as a service takes advantage of the cloud and offers on-demand accessibility, making the entire process more efficient and seamless.  

With penetration testing as a service, organizations can securely access the testing platform through the cloud, eliminating the need for manual setup and configuration of testing environments. This significantly speeds up the testing process and allows for greater scalability since the necessary resources can be easily allocated as needed. 

Additionally, penetration testing as a service employs automation and machine learning technologies to enhance the testing process. These technologies can assist with scanning for vulnerabilities, analyzing results, and even suggesting remediation steps. As a result, it can offer more accurate and comprehensive testing, saving time and effort for organizations. 

To further investigate what solution is best for your organization, let’s explore the differences:  

Who conducts the penetration test? 

Penetration Testing:  

Penetration tests are typically conducted by specialized cybersecurity professionals known as ethical hackers or penetration testers. These individuals have extensive knowledge and experience in identifying and exploiting security vulnerabilities. They follow a systematic approach to test the effectiveness of an organization’s security controls and identify areas where improvements are needed.  

Penetration Testing as a Service: 

Many organizations choose to engage in external penetration testing services provided by third-part services, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providers. These providers have specialized expertise and access to advanced tools and techniques that can comprehensively assess an organization’s security posture. 

How long does a penetration test take? 

Penetration Testing:  

The duration of a penetration test can vary depending on the availability of resources and information, the test’s scope, or the target system’s complexity. On average, a penetration test can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete.   

Penetration Testing as a Service:

With penetration testing as a service, the testing is run based on your convenience or when your team wants to schedule them. Moving penetration tests to ‘as a service’ eliminates needing someone to manually set up pen tests. Instead, they can be scheduled to run on a regular basis or when you want, allowing for consistent assessments and updates. This means the duration can be longer than a one-time conventional test, but it provides more comprehensive and up-to-date security coverage. 

Will there be communication between an organization and the penetration testers? 

Penetration Testing:

During a penetration test, the communication between the penetration testers and the internal team can vary based on the policies and procedures of the organization. In some cases, there may be little to no interaction between the two groups, with the penetration testers working independently and providing updates only to a designated point of contact, such as a project manager. 

Penetration Testing as a Service: 

Two options are offered: the organization runs the tests independently, or an MDR provider manages the tests through a Progressive Penetration Testing Program  

Utilizing an MDR provider allows for seamless and direct communication between internal teams and penetration testers throughout the project, resulting in a more streamlined process. By eliminating unnecessary mediators, the exchange of information becomes more efficient and effective. 

The close collaboration enables any friction or misunderstanding to be promptly addressed, clarified, and resolved during the penetration test. This not only ensures a smoother workflow but also allows for quicker resolution of any issues. 

Additionally, it provides a valuable opportunity for the organization’s employees to enhance their skills by working alongside penetration testers. By actively participating in the penetration testing process, they can gain valuable insights and knowledge, ultimately improving their capabilities in cybersecurity. 

When can I see the results? 

Penetration Testing:  

One of the significant limitations of traditional penetration tests is the delayed communication of results. Typically, the findings are only conveyed at the end of the tests. Consequently, potentially crucial vulnerabilities may remain unaddressed for extended periods, ranging from days to even weeks. 

Penetration Testing as a Service:   

When a penetration tester detects a vulnerability, the platform immediately notifies the organization. This real-time alert allows internal teams to address the issue promptly, even before the penetration test is complete. Organizations can deploy patches and test them against cybercriminals without the need for another round of testing.  

This continuous reporting system, coupled with the ability to collaborate with penetration testers, enables the organization’s IT team to gain valuable insights into the remediation of vulnerabilities. 

Penetration Testing as a Service vs. PenTesting 

Penetration testing as a service offers organizations an affordable and convenient solution for assessing their cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Organizations can quickly identify and mitigate potential threats with on-demand access to human-led penetration testing combined with automation. It also provides continuous monitoring and real-time reports for faster resolution. This approach ensures higher accuracy and data analytics and makes penetration testing more accessible and cost-effective compared to traditional methods. By illuminating potential risks, penetration testing as a service enables organizations to adopt effective defenses and enhance their security posture. 

Ultimately, the choice between penetration testing and penetration testing as a service depends on an organization’s unique needs and financial resources. Traditional penetration testing may be ideal for certain tasks, but it is crucial to assess the areas where assistance is needed and select the most appropriate option to meet the organization’s security requirements. 

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Finding the Best MDR Provider to Fit Your Needs

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

The managed services sector has had a significant influence and has been a prominent trend in the mid-market cybersecurity industry for the past few years. The MDR market is projected to increase from $1.56 billion in 2023 to $6.29 billion by 2030. Managed services, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR), Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP), and similar solutions, have emerged in response to the demand. The accelerated growth of the MDR market mainly comes from increasing cybersecurity threats, the adoption of cloud computing, the shortage of cybersecurity talent, and the increase of the Internet of Things (IoT).  

Last year, the global cost of a data breach was USD 4.45 million, which was a 15% increase over 3 years, according to IBM’s latest report. Due to this increase, organizations are investing in MDR services to help reduce their risk of attacks and irreputable damage. As a result, organizations seek a cybersecurity partner to provide all-inclusive cybersecurity services.  

With all the solutions out there, it can be challenging to decide on the right solution for your organization. In this blog, we go back to the basics and break down the different flavors of MDR solutions and what to look for in a provider.  

What is Managed Detection and Response (MDR)? 

It is important to understand MDR and the key aspects that differentiate MDR from traditional security services and its proactive approach to detecting, analyzing, and responding to potential cybersecurity threats. It differs from traditional security services and goes beyond solely relying on automated tools and includes human expertise to continuously monitor and investigate potential security incidents.  

Unlike traditional monitoring services, MDR does not only rely on alerts for incident response. It involves a team of skilled cybersecurity professionals who actively investigate and triage potential threats, providing an extra layer of expertise and context. These professionals work closely with organizations, leveraging their knowledge to understand the unique threat landscape and tailor response strategies accordingly.  

What sets MDR apart is the detection and response of threats. MDR provides a proactive approach that enables organizations to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, significantly reducing the risk of successful breaches. 

Breaking Down the Flavors of MDR 

When it comes to MDR providers, it’s important to recognize that not all MDRs are the same. While they all aim to provide businesses with the necessary tools and services to detect and respond to security threats, the capabilities and offerings can vary significantly.  

From the sources they pull security data from to the level of response services they provide, MDR providers differ in their approaches and focus areas. Understanding these differences is crucial for organizations looking to choose the right MDR provider that aligns with their specific needs and requirements. 

There are two broad classes of MDR providers: Pure-play MDR and managed endpoint or SIEM. 

#1 Pure-Play MDR 

This category of MDR service providers relies on a proprietary mix of third-party security tools and solutions, such as endpoint, SIEM, cloud access, or others, to collect logs and alerts. These providers use a customized technology stack, which their 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) monitors. Most pure-play MDR providers cannot decouple their technology stack from their SOC service offerings. While effective at detecting and responding to threats, this closed-loop approach often limits their ability to offer co-management, work effectively with partners and customer providers, and leaves customers reliant on their SOC to provide reports.  

#2 Managed Endpoint (EDR) or SIEM  

Given the expertise and dedicated resources required to properly manage endpoint and SIEM solutions, many customers outsource management to an MDR or managed IT service provider. Over the last few years, leading providers now offer a managed service based on their core technology offering. This managed service provides updating and operations, detection investigation, and specific response services based on the capabilities of their core technology offering. 

What to Look for in an MDR Provider 

The capabilities and functions of MDR providers can seem overwhelming, so how do you choose one that makes sense for your organization and cybersecurity strategy? First, to ensure the protection of your organization, it is crucial to verify the efficiency of an MDR solution before investing in it. This means making sure that the capabilities fit your needs and understanding that not all solutions are created equally. Here is a list of considerations when evaluating: 

  • Coverage: What methods are used to provide the greatest visibility beyond the endpoint?  
  • Detection: What methods are used to identify threats? Are they applying machine learning or artificial intelligence to detect advanced threats?  
  • Investigation: Will they alert you when things seem malicious? Or do they investigate and confirm for you? Investigations are dependent on the available telemetry, and it is essential to clarify if the provider will investigate alerts or simply notify you. 
  • Response: What does the host containment look like? Do they isolate systems, preventing the spread? Or block network traffic? 
  • Remediation: What type of guidance and/or recommendations will you receive and in what method?  

There are several other factors to consider when choosing an MDR. For example, understanding the service level agreements and communication methods for incident response is crucial. For instance, can you access the same portal as the provider to stay updated on the incident? Can you directly interact with the security analyst to discuss the incident? Also, it is important to evaluate the provider’s reporting capabilities and determine if it is easy to extract the required information when needed. 

Finding the Right Solution  

Cybersecurity professionals have one of the toughest jobs protecting organizations from threats that are changing daily. To help, EDR vs. XDR vs. MDR: The Cybersecurity ABCs Explained breaks down the three primary threat detection and response solutions while giving you visuals to help find the right solution that fits your organization’s criteria.  

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4 Myths About MDR Security

By: Brittany Holmes, Corporate Communications Manager 

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) constantly search for ways to enhance their data protection and resilience against persistent cybercriminals. However, their security service providers frequently struggle to tackle advanced threats effectively and often don’t know where to start. This has led to a growing interest in Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solutions, which offer around-the-clock proactive defense for organizations with limited resources. As the threat landscape and MDR market continue to evolve, both Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) and customers are facing confusion and uncertainty.

In this blog, we debunk common myths surrounding MDR. Our team frequently hears these misconceptions and wants to provide you with the real insights and realities behind them. By dispelling these myths, we will help you understand MDR better and find the ideal solution for your needs.

Myth #1: MDR is too expensive

Fact: Many MDR providers scale to fit your needs in terms of tools and resources, which can be expensive and difficult to replicate internally.

There is a common misconception that MDR services are too expensive for most organizations to afford. However, it is important to consider the value and monetary savings that MDR can provide in the long run. While there is a cost associated with implementing MDR, it is essential to compare it with the alternative options of handling detection and response in-house or not addressing it at all.

When considering the economic situation and the need for budgetary constraints, it is crucial to note that cybercrime is projected to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. This staggering amount represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history.  Specifically, ransomware is expected to be a major threat this year as access to powerful tools becomes increasingly easier and more affordable.

While building an in-house detection and response capability may be an option, it is important to recognize the advantages of partnering with an MDR service provider. These providers scale to fit your needs in terms of tools and resources, which can be expensive and difficult to replicate internally. In addition, it takes a considerable amount of time to establish an effective in-house detection and response capability, whereas MDR service providers can offer a turnkey solution that can be up and running in just 90 minutes.

It is important to note that while cost-effectiveness is a key factor, it is equally important to not simply go for the cheapest solution available. Choosing an MDR provider solely based on price may result in minimal level of service, limited capabilities, and insufficient telemetry.

Finding an MDR provider that strikes a balance between cost and capability ensures that your organization receives the highest level of protection and response.

Myth #2: Our existing solutions will protect us

Fact: New threats emerge daily that may go undetected or be missed by your existing cybersecurity measures, so it is important to have a 24×7 team in place, so nothing slips through the cracks.

Another common misconception is that having other cybersecurity measures in place makes MDR unnecessary. While these measures can offer some level of protection, they are insufficient to ensure complete security for your organization. This is because the landscape of cyber threats is constantly changing and evolving. New threats can emerge that may go undetected or be missed by your existing cybersecurity measures.

This is where MDR plays a crucial role. By continuously monitoring for dangers and providing real-time response, it offers an additional layer of protection that complements your existing security measures. It ensures that your organization is always defended against the full range of cyber threats. In addition, top-notch MDR services also include threat intelligence and human-led threat hunting, which enhances the effectiveness of threat detection. With MDR, you can be confident that your organization is receiving proactive protection against cyber threats.

Myth #3: “Our organization is too small for MDR”

Fact: SMBs are targeted by cybercriminals because they tend to have fewer resources and less robust cybersecurity measures in place.

Many believe that MDR is only essential for larger businesses and organizations that handle vast amounts of sensitive data. While it is true that larger businesses may face greater risks and potential reputational damage from cyberattacks, this does not mean that smaller businesses are immune to such threats. In fact, smaller businesses are frequently targeted precisely because they tend to have fewer resources and less robust cybersecurity measures in place.

For cybercriminals, smaller businesses become attractive targets due to their perceived vulnerabilities as cybercriminals search for easier, less-protected organizations. As a result, successful ransomware attacks can have devastating consequences for smaller organizations. The impact can be so catastrophic that it jeopardizes the very existence of these businesses, disrupting critical systems and processes.

However, MDR services can level the playing field and provide the same protection to small and medium-sized businesses as to their larger counterparts. By implementing MDR services, these organizations can ensure they are fully protected. MDR helps strengthen their cybersecurity defenses and safeguards their sensitive data, reducing the likelihood and severity of cyberattacks. 

Myth #4: MDR takes too long and is too difficult to set up

Fact: Adlumin’s Security Operations Platform takes 90 minutes to implement. 

While MDR may involve advanced technology, implementing it is not complicated. MDR providers, like Adlumin, offer support throughout the implementation process to ensure your organization achieves success. Implementing the Security Operations Platform and MDR is fast and effortless without requiring excessive IT resources or abandoning existing investments.

Adlumin’s platform is cloud-native and serverless, which means onboarding is simple, regardless of your architecture or technology. Our turnkey deployment allows organizations to establish powerful threat detection and response capabilities quickly and smoothly within a matter of minutes rather than months or years. Try a free two-week trial to see the value yourself.  

Advance Your Security with MDR

MDR services are a vital solution in today’s evolving threat landscape, offering around-the-clock proactive defense for organizations of all sizes. MDR is cost-effective in the long run compared to building an in-house capability and provides superior threat detection and mitigation. It complements existing cybersecurity measures, ensuring complete protection against evolving cyber threats. In addition, MDR is essential for SMBs that are frequently targeted by cybercriminals.

Despite the advanced technology involved, MDR implementation is quick and straightforward with the right provider. By partnering with a trusted MDR service provider like Adlumin, organizations can strengthen their security defenses, safeguard sensitive data, and know they are protected 24/7. 

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Top 4 Cybersecurity Predictions to Be Aware of for 2024

The Adlumin Threat Research Team has peered into the future and unveiled their top predictions for the upcoming year.

With each passing year, hackers become more sophisticated and the consequences of a breach become more severe. To help organizations prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, we have compiled this list of the top four cybersecurity threats to be aware of.  

From the growing threat of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) to the increasing impact of AI tools, these predictions will arm IT Directors with the knowledge they need to protect their organization from potential risks. So, buckle up and prepare for the top four cybersecurity challenges in the new year. 

1. Increase in Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) Attacks 

Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated, causing financial, operational, and reputational damage to businesses and organizations. RaaS refers to the model where cybercriminals offer ransomware tools and infrastructure to other hackers, who then deploy the ransomware on their behalf. This has enabled malicious actors with less sophisticated technical skills to carry out ransomware attacks, and share the profits with the original creators.

The rise in RaaS actors is alarming because it lowers the barrier to entry, making ransomware attacks accessible to a broader range of cybercriminals. This means we can anticipate a surge in ransomware attacks as more individuals and groups access these tools. This trend threatens organizations of all sizes and sectors, as no one is immune to being targeted by ransomware attacks. 

2. Shift from Data Encryption to Data Extortion Ransomware 

Ransomware has been a long-standing top cybersecurity threat, but in the new year, a shift in its tactics is predicted. Traditionally, ransomware attacks involved encrypting victims’ data and demanding a ransom for release. However, cybercriminals are expected to focus on data extortion increasingly.

This shift means threat actors will also exfiltrate sensitive information from victims’ systems and encrypt data. They will then threaten to release or sell this data if the ransom is not paid. This new approach adds an extra layer of pressure on organizations to comply with the attackers’ demands, as the exposure of sensitive data can lead to severe consequences, including reputational damage, regulatory penalties, and legal liabilities. 

3. Increased Focus on Cyberattacks Against Hospitality   

This cybersecurity threat prediction for the new year highlights the potential increased focus on attacks targeting the hospitality industry and the expected rise in the sophistication of fraud schemes. As the hospitality sector relies heavily on technology and handles a vast amount of customer data, it has become an attractive target for cybercriminals. This prediction suggests that attackers will continue to exploit vulnerabilities in hotel networks, reservation systems, point of sale (POS) terminals, and other digital platforms to steal confidential information. 

For example, the Marriot Hotel has faced multiple cybersecurity breaches over the past couple of years. Their most recent breach resulted in losing 20 gigabytes of sensitive customer and employee data including credit card information in an extortion attempt.   

4. Increased Impact from Malicious AI Tools

The increased impact of malicious AI tools on both attackers and defenders is predicted to be a major cybersecurity threat. AI technology has evolved significantly, creating a new era in cyberattacks and defense strategies. Cybercriminals leverage AI tools to amplify the scale and sophistication of their attacks, making them harder to detect and mitigate. AI-powered malware can self-propagate, adapt, and evolve, posing immense challenges to traditional cybersecurity measures.

Organizations also protect themselves by using AI tools to enhance their security capabilities. AI can help identify and analyze threats in real-time, assist in incident response, and automate cybersecurity processes. However, these AI tools can generate false positives or negatives, leading to missed or misinterpreted threats and potentially unlocking vulnerabilities.

The use of AI on both sides creates a dynamic and rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. Attackers can leverage AI algorithms for advanced evasion techniques. On the other hand, defenders have the daunting task of keeping up with AI-powered attacks while navigating through potential inaccuracies or blind spots in their AI-enabled defense systems. 

Illuminate Threats and Eliminate Risks in 2024

The threat of data breaches and ransomware attacks loom over organizations of all sizes and sectors. It’s no longer a matter of if your organization will get breached or attacked with ransomware but rather when. The harsh reality is that no system is invincible, and cybercriminals are continually finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

While it can be challenging for IT teams to keep pace with evolving threats, innovative technology solutions and security measures are available to alleviate the strain. Organizations can automate threat detection and prevention processes by leveraging advanced security solutions like a Security Operations Platform and pairing them with Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services, effectively mitigating the risks associated with cyber attacks.

Through the use of AI and machine learning, these solutions analyze vast amounts of data, identify anomalies, and respond to potential threats in real-time, empowering organizations to defend against cyber threats proactively.  

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