The transformation of rural telecommunications organizations are increasing Cyber Security Risks

Rural Telecommunications

Rural telecommunications organizations are moving fast to deliver high-quality and reliable communications services, as well as provide additional services such as video on demand, internet services, VOIP, email, etc, to an expanding range of customers. This expansion of services, has led to new products and services that are created and delivered in innovative ways, resulting in a raft of new collaborations, joint ventures, and strategic alliances across industries.

Across the rural telecommunications industry, this fast-changing technological, competitive and customer environment is calling for a renewed look at Cyber Security risks to data, applications, and networks. Yet according to findings from recent security surveys from PWC, Verizon, EY, Mandiant, etc many telecommunications companies are not doing enough to address these new Cyber Threats that plague their environments.

Despite overwhelming evidence that cyber-risks continue to multiply across industries, the number of security incidents detected by telecommunications companies dropped almost 20% in 2014, according to the pwc. But a drop in the identification of incidents is not necessarily a good thing. Security breaches are escalating across the globe, so a decline in identified incidents suggests that telecoms may be unable to identify intrusion events. It seems more likely as savvy attackers, particularly nation-states and hacktivists, make it their business to carry out advance, complex, sustained attacks without detection. In the surveys, large organizations identified incidents increased 4% while incidents detected by small and midsize organizations decreased by over 20%. It may be the case that these small and midsize companies are not watching their environments for complex attacks.

I know as an executive of Managed Security Service Provider, this is one of the things that keeps me up at night like the possibility of a multifaceted assault against our infrastructure. However, I do have an arsenal of defensive weapons at my fingertips….
• Our dedicated trained security staff, that defend our infrastructure with our http://VNSOC360.com services,
• A multilevel security architecture that protects our data, and
• A test strategy, that attacks our network like hackers would.

However, rural telecommunication executives and board members they do not have this arsenal of defensive weapons at their fingertips like I do. Many rural telecommunication organizations do not have a security program or a dedicated security practitioner, the architecture is built for ease of use and speed, not with security at the forefront of their minds. They do not have a complete picture of their attack surface or threats to their organizations, they do not have a regularly scheduled security assessment performed by an independent third party. So many of these executives, do not try to think about the current threat to their environment or put security as a priority in their strategic or tactical plans, they buy insurance coverage and hope they are never breached.

Building a future and a differentiator with cybersecurity

The internet has transformed how telecommunication companies operate, provide services, and collaborate with their customers. This disruptive business ecosystem, combined with increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyber-attacks, demands a commitment to cyber security that focuses on highly trained personnel, up-to-date processes, and the right tools to detect, analyze, and respond to threats in near real-time.
A well-honed cybersecurity program can also create a business differentiator by increasing customer confidence in the organization’s brand and reputation, giving the company an advantage in launching new services. Innovative-thinking organizations are also starting to market cybersecurity services to other businesses by partnering pure play cyber security companies and providing; Security Assessments, managed security services, deployment of security tools, training and awareness.

As the telecommunications industry reinvents itself and cyber-threats continue to evolve, cybersecurity will continue to be top of mind for telecom executives, Boards of Directors, and consumers alike. It is an all-encompassing, persistent risk issue that is critical to the resilience and revenues of today’s telecoms and retaining connected customers.

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