Outdated IT network security systems and a lack of collaboration are contributing to unnecessary and costly manual incident responses to advanced threats.
Palo Alto Networks systems engineering manager A/NZ Gavin Coulthard said one of the most consistently neglected costs of any security product is neither the price nor maintenance, but the time and talent required from security experts.
"Cybersecurity architects and managers need to recognise the dramatically diminished effectiveness of legacy network security solutions that continue to rely on methods and technologies designed for the threats of yesterday," he said.
"Advanced cyber threats simply can't be effectively addressed using a 'set it and forget it' approach to security.
"Worse still, the vast majority of security products focused on advanced threats stop at detecting a threat, which kicks off an incident response phase.
Coulthard said modern IT incident response required a set of highly technical skills including advanced traffic analysis, memory forensics and reverse engineering of malware - highly technical disciplines.
"An enterprise would be lucky to have just one of these experts on staff," he said.
"The fundamental problem is that advanced threats are not sufficiently rare."
He said the IT security industry and organisations needed to grow to a place where incident response is reserved for the truly exceptional threats, not those that simply slide through outdated security models invented a generation ago.
In order for this to happen the industry needs better and faster sharing of threat intelligence to create a shared level of protection.
It also need a more automated approach to investigate threat events, avoiding deep-dive technical analysis.
However, Coulthard said, understandably, many organisations were reluctant to share what they found about advanced cyber threats on their networks.
"Some may see knowing how to combat an advanced threat as a competitive advantage while others may see sharing the information as drawing unwanted attention to their network's vulnerabilities," he said.
"The important thing to remember is this: until there is a more collaborative approach to threat identification and mitigation, combined with an automated approach to investigating threat events, Australian organisations will continue to suffer from the adverse effects of advanced cyber threats.
"It's only when these two elements come together in a more mature approach that we will be able to minimise the amount of human intervention required and thereby reduce costs."
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