Companies should pay special attention to consistent classification and labeling of data, as it’s one of the biggest hurdles to effective data governance. Setting default labels for new data (for example, dubbing them confidential) can ensure that policies and technical controls are applied consistently across the organization. This also frees up data creators from having to manually label all newly created information. “In that way, a data steward only needs to review data labels when that data is crossing a security barrier such as preparing a file to send to a client or third-party vendor,” notes Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), director of security and information technology at Pensar Development.

“Consumers should use the ‘guest’ network of their home Wi-Fi routers as a dedicated network for IoT devices, so if one of those devices were compromised, the threat actor can’t easily pivot to more valuable data.” That’s the case for newer devices, he says. “For older, cheap, IP-based security cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs), the easiest way to secure them is to recycle them responsibly as there often are no security updates available.” The ability to update devices over their lifetime is essential to security, and should factor into buying decisions, he says.

An organization that doesn’t understand or appreciate security won’t be able to adequately identify and prioritize risk, nor articulate its tolerance for those risks based on business goals and objectives, says Kayne McGladrey, director of security and IT for Pensar Development and a member of the professional association IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

“The CIO won’t see the business impact if there’s not a culture of risk mitigation,” McGladrey says. “A culture where security is seen as someone else’s problem will derail any conversation around security, so the biggest thing for CISOs is to make the conversation with CIOs around risk – not around technologies or shiny objects but around risks to the business.”

Sharing information about threats can help boost overall cybersecurity by alerting others to those risks, as well as providing successful ways to counteract them, said Kayne McGladrey, national cybersecurity expert, director of security and information technology for Pensar Development, and member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

"They could actually see a reduction in those threats that are commodity threats -- threats that are crimes of opportunity [vs. targeted attacks]," he said.

While we hope these points have brought into focus some of the evolving challenges in IT security, we also want to point out that certain best practices will continue to underpin how smart security pros approach problems, no matter what the flavor of the month is. "Enterprises are going back to the basics: patching, inventory management, password policies compliant with recent NIST directives," says Kayne McGladrey, IEEE Member and Director of Security and Information Technology at Pensar Development. "Enterprises are recognizing that it’s impossible to defend what can't be seen and that the easiest wins are to keep systems up to date and to protect against credential stuffing attacks."

“Identify those elements of your business that are core competitive differentiators,” says Kayne McGladrey, Director of Security and Information Technology. “Focus on improving those. If accounting, cybersecurity, legal affairs, or marketing is not core to your organizational identity, then plan to migrate away from your legacy systems and processes in those areas. Organizations can then focus their limited time and resources on improving what they do well, and what customers value most about those organizations.”

"People need to ask the car companies where they stand on security," says Kayne McGladrey, director of security and IT at Pensar Development and an IEEE member, who cites companies such as Apple and Google, which have made strong public statements on these matters.

When asked if the car companies have followed suit, McGladrey says, "Not really."

Enterprises and consumers alike are rewarding vendors that produce low-cost, insecure devices, such as $20 IP-based security cameras. It'd be easier for everyone if those consumers instead sent $20 to threat actors who will inevitably compromise those devices, as this would only be a $20 problem.

However, when threat actors conscript thousands of insecure IP-based security cameras into a botnet that can knock major brands off the internet -- such as what happened with the Mirai botnet attacks in the fall of 2016, it potentially becomes a multimillion-dollar problem that affects major markets and international relations.

"If the end user logs on from Seattle, where their mobile phone and laptop is, a connection from New York would be unusual," McGladrey explained. "It is also possible to note the typing style and speed of a user and use that biometric signature to determine if the user is legitimate. These data [points] make it more difficult for a threat actor to operate silently in the environment."

Phishing is the lowest cost way for a threat actor to gain access to an organization’s network and assets, according to Kayne McGladrey, an IEEE member and director of Security and IT at Pensar Development. “While it might be fashionable to worry about the latest zero-day, or shadowy nation-state threat actors developing crippling remote exploits, the fact is that it’s cheaper to ask users for their passwords.”

The fact that nearly a billion people had their personal information exposed in November 2018 “has further helped threat actors to develop more compelling and targeted phishing content,’’ McGladrey adds.