A regional bank needed to know its applications and customers’ information were safe. They knew hackers were increasingly targeting small businesses with less advanced security measures in place. In fact, a recent study found that the percentage of small businesses that have experienced a cyber-attack in the past 12 months increased from 55% in 2016 to 61% in 2017.

Rapid Cloud Adoption and Innovation Overwhelms Security Team

As the bank’s applications increasingly moved to the cloud, their IT team began to see unusual activity on their network. While they believed that their current security solution was sound, they hadn’t done a full audit recently. Their CIO preferred a more proactive cybersecurity approach, but they didn’t have the staffing in-house to perform on-going security testing. Additionally, they were looking for more than a testing solution that found holes in their system – they were looking for a roadmap to better their security environment.

Develop a Plan of Attack

The company engaged Nitel through an IT consultant and, together, they explored several options to fit the bank’s budget and risk tolerance. They agreed that the first step would be to assess the current environment. This would expose any vulnerabilities, detail how they could be exploited and estimate the potential remediation and damage control costs.

With Nitel’s four levels of security testing, the customer could choose a solution that was appropriate for the size and type of company they are and for the types of threats that were most prevalent. The four levels Nitel offers are:

  1. Basic: simulates the most common attacks, typically using freely available, automated attack tools.
  2. Opportunistic: Simulates attacks executed by skilled attackers seeking easy targets, using a mix of automated tools and manual exploitation to penetrate targets.
  3. Targeted: Simulates targeted attacks from a skilled, patient attacker that has targeted a specific organization. Expends significant resources trying to compromise systems.
  4. Advanced: Simulates an advanced attack executed by a highly motivated, well-funded, extremely sophisticated and unrelenting attacker.

Three-Part Solution

With Nitel’s guidance, the bank chose the Opportunistic level. As a small business, targeted attacks were unlikely, but broader attacks intended to find vulnerable businesses, on the other hand, were quite common. By using ethical hackers, Nitel would put the bank’s environment to the test by the same techniques as leading cyber-criminals to hack into networks and applications.

For ongoing protection, the customer also had the choice between 24/7 continuous monitoring or a compliance review that would be conducted no less than once every 24 hours. Because they did not feel that they were a major target and due to budget constraints, they chose the daily compliance review. This meant that a human would manually check the security of their network once daily.

Finally, Nitel would conduct four automated network scans per year. Based on those scans, Nitel would provide a report that breaks down the different levels of risk factors as well as how to address them.

After the initial automated network scan, not only were the bank’s weak points identified, but they also gained an understanding of why those assets were vulnerable to an attack and what could happen should they be compromised. Most importantly, they received a blueprint to address these vulnerabilities. Should a breach occur, they now had the expertise in place to quickly detect and remediate the intrusion. Additional scans throughout the year would continue to check for vulnerabilities in their firewalls, network infrastructure, servers and workstations.

As a result of the daily tests coupled with the quarterly automated network scans, the bank could rest assured that their organization was being monitored on an ongoing basis to prevent malicious activity.

Nitel’s intrinsic network knowledge, backed by a highly skilled ethical hacker team made it easy for this customer to assess their security situation, identify potential vulnerabilities and introduce new measures to maintain a consistent level of vigilance over their environment. Just as important, the customer was able to choose a solution that was ideally suited for their business, ensuring the outcomes they wanted and remaining within a budget that worked for them.