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Not All Attacks Are Preventable: Early Detection and Response is Crucial

Develop a multi-layered security posture that minimizes the damage attackers can cause. 

Cybersecurity technologies traditionally fall into one of two categories: prevention and detection. 

Prevention-based technologies keep unauthorized users from accessing protected systems. Passwords and security policies are typical examples of the prevention-based approach. Detection-based technologies look for signs of unauthorized activity in those systems. 

Ideally, strong prevention will deny most threat actors access to your network and assets. However, there is always a chance that a small number get through. In the decades-long lifecycle of a major enterprise, it’s virtually guaranteed. Some attacks cannot realistically be prevented. 

But that doesn’t mean enterprise CISOs have to live in fear and paranoia. It only means that a major part of any security leader’s job is being prepared for the breach when it occurs. 

Secure IT architecture and early detection dramatically reduce the damage cyberattacks can cause. The more challenges you put between attackers and their goals, the easier it will be to find and block them. 

Traditional performance metrics rarely take these kinds of environmental facts into account. Enterprise security teams can markedly improve their performance by shifting to outcome-driven reporting that focuses on qualitative information about their risk profile and attack surface. 

Slow Down Threat Actors Before They Accomplish Their Goals 

Imagine an enterprise organization that invests exclusively in preventing external threats. It has strong security policies and authentication processes, but no visibility or internal controls against unauthorized activity. If an attacker successfully gains access to one system, they can immediately move from there to any other, practically unchallenged.  

In this scenario, a single compromised credential can instantly lead to catastrophic damage. If an attacker has breached the perimeter, there’s nothing else to stop them from achieving their goals. Once they’re past the front gate, it’s a free ride. 

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How to Detect and Mitigate Compromised Credential Attacks

Secure IT architecture can create a landscape that’s much harder to travel. The principle of Zero Trust can strictly limit how far compromised credentials can take an attacker. Once they hit that limit, they must spend time and effort escalating their access privileges before moving on.  

Throwing these obstacles in front of attackers doesn’t just slow them down, though. It can force them to show their hand or make mistakes. If a diligent team of detection and response analysts is watching for signs of internal compromise, they will see when attackers bump against those barriers. 

Both aspects are of critical importance when dealing with an active cyberattack. The more difficult and time-consuming it is for attackers to access your most sensitive data, the more likely you are to detect and block them before the attack executes successfully. 

Specialist Expertise is Vital for Effective Incident Response 

There is no shortcut to successful incident response. Enterprise security leaders need to establish robust policies to minimize access and prevent attackers from escalating their privileges to prepare the field. At the same time, they need access to scalable human expertise for detecting and investigating unauthorized activity. 

Security leaders must manage limited resources to accomplish these tasks. They cannot do both things without compromise. Even major enterprises with 24x7 security operations and huge IT budgets find themselves stretched thin, with security operations personnel dividing their attention between multiple technologies. 

A single in-house security professional may have to split their time between configuring firewalls, updating access controls, and working on DNS filters. There simply isn’t enough time to gain comprehensive mastery over any single technology, nor to frame that technology in the wider context of threat intelligence and incident response.  

Doing this requires specialist expertise in the specific technologies that make up the enterprise tech stack. Managed detection and response vendors enable enterprise security teams to reduce the impact of cyberattacks by leveraging product expertise gained through navigating real-world attack scenarios for their clients. 

Conduct Early Threat Detection and Response with Castra 

Castra is a managed detection and response provider with 24x7 SOC monitoring capabilities and a diligent staff of highly specialized security experts. We help enterprise security teams make the most of their own expertise and resources by taking on the operational processes we excel at. We’ve seen active attacks and threats in many different contexts, and we can use that knowledge to respond faster and more decisively to new threats as they emerge. 


Talk with a Castra representative today.