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Who said Cybersecurity was complex?

26th April 2019
Who said Cybersecurity was complex?

Cybersecurity is not a new phenomenon, in fact, Cybersecurity, in some form has been around for the best part of 30 years. Back in the early ’80s, the most damage a cyberthreat could cause was a minor irritation. Fast forward to 2019 and cybercrime can cause unimaginable chaos. Therefore, it is hugely important to get right – if that’s even possible!

Consequently Cybersecurity Managers today have it tough – we’re no longer in the ’80s. In contrast to today, back in the ’80s, there wasn’t much in the way of Cybersecurity to actually manage!

In this blog, we look at how Cybersecurity has morphed from a ‘bit of Anti-Virus’ to the gigantic, super colossal, intricate, maze of solutions and services we see today.

Cybersecurity in the 80s

The Anti-Virus Boom!

The early ’80s saw the first Anti-Virus solutions start to appear. This was probably as a result of the ‘Elk Cloner’,  ‘Brian’ and the ‘Morris Worm’ computer viruses.

Over the next few years, more and more of the Anti-Virus companies we know and love were founded…

Symantec -1982

Sophos – 1985

McAfee – 1987

Avast – 1988

Trend Micro – 1988

Panda – 1990

AVG – 1991

These Anti-Virus solutions scanned machines and compared them with a database of known signatures. And boom the first signature-based AV was born.

Cybersecurity in the 90s

Anti-Virus, Firewalls, Web Gateways, Email Security

Into the early 90’s more and more people started connecting to the Internet. Whilst it’s use remained pretty basic (yes, I had a Myspace page!), new opportunities arose for computers to interlink and share information.

As this happened, hackers realised that it also created more ‘opportunity’ for them! Suddenly, Anti-Virus was no longer enough on its own – although still very important.

With this transition, Firewalls became the new norm and the first commercial Firewall was sold in 1992.

Yes, you can argue that the original Firewalls, weren’t necessarily a ‘cybersecurity’ solution per se, but the later ‘Next Gen’ and ‘Cloud Gen’ firewalls most definitely are.

Built to examine packets of data and allow or deny entry to a network, the early Firewalls allowed those responsible for IT to distinguish and control certain types of traffic.

The late 90’s saw businesses begin to harness the power of the Internet. By giving employees the opportunity to access the internet, it opened up a number of potential issues. Accessing infected websites, downloading large music files/bandwidth hogging and reduced employee productivity are some of the issues that came to the fore. It was at this point, many businesses started to deploy dedicated Web Gateway technology.

As the use of the Internet as a business tool increased, so too did the use of Email. Businesses quickly realised that email was a quick and cost-effective communication method, therefore its use skyrocketed. However, no sooner was this the case, then we saw email tools abused by internal employees and external cybercriminals – leading to the first Email Security solution.

By the late 90’s not only were IT Teams tasked with ‘keeping the lights on’ but they now had to ‘keep the bad guys out’ too.

Cybersecurity in the 00s

Anti-Virus, Firewalls, Web Gateways, Email Security, Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Web Application Firewalls, Security Information & Event Management (SIEM), Privileged Account Management (PAM), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Vulnerability Assessment, Patch Management, Encryption, Dedicated Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM), Identity & Access Management (IAM), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Back-Up & Recovery, User Security Awareness Training, Services (Penetration Testing etc)

Cybersecurity by default has traditionally been reactive in nature. A new threat is uncovered, and before we know it there is a new solution released to protect against it.

From roughly 2005 onwards, with the number of threats increasing dramatically it becomes easy to understand how we’ve reached this juncture.

Whilst other areas within the IT industry have stood relatively still, cybersecurity is forever evolving. IT Departments can no longer afford to focus only part of their time on this discipline and a more dedicated focus is required.

Even smaller businesses are now struggling to keep up with the explosion of threats and solutions to these problems. However, because of the speed of change, the industry is struggling to keep up with the demand for a skilled workforce as discussed by CSO Online. This is where we see managed services really taking off.

Redress the Balance

As an industry work is underway to redress the balance.  ITB Partner McAfee’s Data Exchange Layer (DxL) is a communication fabric that allows cross-vendor threat intelligence sharing. Another McAfee technology, ePO is widely regarded as the best Central Management console in the industry. It can connect to many 3rd party solutions to ease management overhead. Another ITB partner, Censornet provide a single platform for Web, Email, CASB and MFA technology hence you only have one console to manage.

McAfee ePO Console
McAfee ePO console

It will be interesting to see where the next 10 years take us. With legislation tightening and Cloud Computing taking off there really are interesting times ahead. Now, where was that MySpace Page?