As Cloud computing gains momentum, cyber attackers become sophisticated. The security horizons are always shifting and the “ultimate” in security is just over the horizon. Current versions of firewalls, intrusion systems, anti-virus, and other security tools may not work so well with future threats. They are signature based technologies that may not be able to stop the dynamically shifting attacks that are in the pipeline. Cyber criminals have a sophisticated arsenal of zero-day vulnerabilities, commercial quality toolkits and social engineering techniques that cannot be dealt with in traditional ways. So, how can we plan for something that is not yet visible—unrealized, unknown?

It is important to understand the nature of cyber threats of the future. The threats are multi-layered and multi-staged.  The stages are designed to overcome the security systems of traditional systems.  The strategies must therefore, go beyond signatures and heuristic analysis that are based on behavior patterns.  The modern-day cyber attacks are designed to harness the power of polymorphism and personalization and override the authentication process to pass unchecked into the target system.

A Ponemon Institute “Cost of Data Breach” survey found that over 10% of the companies in the Cloud have been compromised. Phishing and malware are the most common threats with malware occupying the number one position in the hierarchy of cyber threats. The survey also found that this was consistent with the patterns that were recognized in the earlier years and that the threat is progressively crippling traditional cyber threat handling systems. Malicious attacks on information networks are on the rise and costs associated with handling them are escalating.

Next generation cyber crimes require next generation security tools. The security systems must be signature less, real-time, proactive. Attack lifecycles must be continuously monitored and malware communications must be blocked on multiple threat vectors. Advanced malware should be stopped in its tracks so that zero-day exploits and advanced persistent threats do not gain the upper hand.

Traditional security systems must be supplemented and strengthened with next generation cyber protection systems that offer multi platform, multi-vector security that operates well in all stages of the attack.

Real-time analysis must be automatic and reporting alerts should be “always on” to draw attention to the threat even as it looms over the horizon. Next generation cyber threat handling and forensic analysis must be shared to update Cloud vendors and users on cyber-crime innovations and call back destinations to ensure that security disaster planning kicks off with data disaster recovery planning!