With critical infrastructures moving to the cloud, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to secure the attack surface and prevent potential attacks from compromising data.
This has resulted in several incidents where ransomware attacks have disrupted critical infrastructures such as the SOLAS wind attacks in 2021.
In addition, countries like the UK are experiencing cyberattacks on their critical infrastructures at an alarming rate with surveys showing that 39% of UK businesses have reported cyberattacks over the past 12 months.
With the development of more complex security systems, businesses are identifying more attacks, but businesses without a strong cybersecurity infrastructure may be attacked more frequently without having the proper systems in place to identify them, leaving malicious actors accessing data with ease.
Businesses must invest in solutions—such as CNI cybersecurity—that could provide more comprehensive and complex cybersecurity defences to protect their critical infrastructure.
Why should organisations take extraordinary measures to augment CNI?
CNI—Critical National Infrastructure—refers to the critical elements of security infrastructure where a breach can result in a detrimental impact on the integrity, availability, and deliverability of essential services, which can lead to devastating economic consequences.
CNI cybersecurity is a vital component of the company’s infrastructure and any disruption in the CNI could severely compromise company operations. With it becoming increasingly digital, it has become even harder to protect critical infrastructures against cyber criminals.
In addition, information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) are becoming increasingly interconnected and the chances of a breach have also increased significantly.
Businesses must keep in mind that cyber-attackers can come from anywhere and it can be anyone from an unknown hacker from a rogue nation to a disgruntled employee. Anyone is capable of dismantling defence systems.
Today, most business operations are automated and augmented by IT, OT, and IoT. This means that networks and equipment that were once isolated are now interconnected, broadening the attack surface and paving the way for a much easier cyberattack.
Traditional safeguards such as authentication, firewalls, encryption, and antivirus software are no longer sufficient to prevent attacks, minimise the impact of an attack, or respond to a cyberattack immediately.
What is the best way to augment CNI?
It requires the best cloud technology and cybersecurity defences such as Zero Trust.
Zero Trust is a cybersecurity protocol that works under the notion that no user, system, or organisation can be trusted and access is granted on an ‘as-needed’ basis. It requires strict identity verification methods and explicit permission for every individual that wants access to the network.
While Zero Trust primarily targets external users and systems, it also applies to internal users and processes. This ensures that your critical infrastructure is protected against malicious actions, intruders who slip in through partner systems, and also potential human error.
Zero Trust can also be extended to the points between IT and IoT, which makes it much easier to secure your critical data when it’s being transferred between different data points. Implementing these Zero Trust gateways at data transfer points ensures that content is inspected more comprehensively at a byte level, creating a more efficient way to filter and validate data.
Data sharing among multiple domains is also made more secure—this includes the movement of big data among sensitive networks and clouds.
Another way that Zero Trust can augment your CNI cybersecurity is by allowing only specified control data to get through. Even if an attacker penetrates a utility’s environment through a supply chain partner, the attackers would still have no way of pivoting to move laterally from IT to OT and create a more secure security landscape.
Augment your CNI cybersecurity when using cloud technology
Ensuring that businesses’ most critical cybersecurity infrastructures are secure and resilient must be a top priority.
Keeping your critical data from being attacked or exploited by internal or external threats is vital. With digitalisation and digitisation, many businesses are making the transition from traditional networks to cloud technology, giving cyber-attackers more leverage to access critical data.
Augmenting CNI cybersecurity with Zero Trust solutions can help your business stay secure no matter where you operate your business.