You have likely experienced something like it before: You open a seemingly harmless email or go to a seemingly harmless website and all of the sudden your computer seems to begin uncontrollably disintegrating. You scramble to shut it down or quickly apply the antivirus, and the issue is usually resolved. It often seems, however, that these computer “viruses” continue to evolve at nearly the same rate as the measures used to counter them. In fact, what used to be computer viruses that were largely just annoying have tuned into threats to personal identity and finances. The same is true for business and many other organizations. As more and more critical data is stored digitally, companies often take serious and sophisticated steps to protect themselves and their customers, steps that include incident response and application control.
The First Response
It is often recommended that organizations have an effective, clear plan for reaction in the event that they are cyberattacked or their data is breached by any sort of hack, whether it is merely unwanted software or even a malicious virus. This may include spyware, malware, a polymorphic virus, a direct action virus, a boot sector virus, or nearly any of the many other types.This plan is known as incident response. If an attack or breach occurs, the goal is damage control: There may need to be precise, organized stepsto retain brand reputation, as well as to limit overall recoverycosts and time. Organizations often rely on the expertise of companies that provide this sort of protective action. Once plan preparation is in place, the SANS Institute lists certain steps for effective action in the event of a cyber attack or data breach, includingcontainment, identification, eradication, and recovery. Of course, the hope is that this process never occurs; however, it is common practice to have a reactive plan such as this in place.
Although it may be very difficult to avoid unwanted access to computer systems and the important data they contain, preventative steps can be taken to potentially lock down critical systems and servers to possibly significantly reduce the chances of a need for incident control. Many organizations may choose a form of application control, which is when proactive, protective policies are in place against unwanted applications and files. Application control can give computer system operators significantly enhanced control over what accesses their digital systems. It can potentially block anything that is undesired – things that organizational policies and IT have not pre-approved.When a system for application control is in place and system access is regulated, the data owner may experience a greater sense of security through the opportunity to become more proactive and less reactive toward unwanted access.
Taking Back Control
Methods for accessing the data of those who may not want it accessed areever-changing and can be difficult to avoid. When an individual or organization proactively chooses to develop an incident response plan and implement application control measures, however, the chances of a breach occurring and the damage from it can be drastically alleviated.