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Vasudev Surabhi, Microland: “the pandemic created cybersecurity challenges for businesses around the world”

The rapid switch to remote work caused a reveal of many vulnerabilities of companies, signaling a need for better cybersecurity solutions.

There are various cyber threats lurking around the corners of cyberspace, trying to attack organizations of all sizes. And without proper security measures, businesses can face major financial or reputational consequences.

While individual users entrust virtual private networks (VPNs), antivirus software, and other solutions with their cybersecurity, enterprises are in need of more advanced measures, including NextGen security services that monitor and respond to cyber threats and incidents.

To find out more about such solutions and cybersecurity threats, we invited Vasudev Surabhi, the Director of Microland – a company that helps companies adopt nextGen Digital infrastructure.

What was your journey like since the start of the Microland Cybersecurity Services? How has it evolved over the years?

Cybersecurity is one of the most important and also one of the most complex domains, as it involves protecting networks, infrastructure, and data from unauthorized access, use, or destruction. Given the high stakes and the constantly evolving nature technology landscape, customers need service providers who are reliable and customer-oriented. At Microland, our cybersecurity expertise comes from over three decades of experience in leading and helping clients transform their infrastructure landscape. Over the years, we have evolved to build a capability around providing a comprehensive suite of security tools and services that helps protect our customers from ever-changing cyber threats.

The cybersecurity service ecosystem has evolved from network perimeter-based security to comprehensive, wing-to-wing solutions for cybersecurity that secure customers’ managed and unmanaged devices, OT, Cloud Infrastructure, Datacenter, and End User security. Apart from service expansions, we have also fundamentally evolved our approach from a people and tool-based support to a ‘Cyber Resilience First, Automation Led, People Supported’ model.

As our customers are becoming more and more aware of the importance of cybersecurity, we anticipate growth in this sector in the years to come and we are investing in it to protect the crown jewels of our global clients. We are proud to share that we have now established ourselves as a significant service player and a time-tested reliable partner in the industry with our unique platform-centric cybersecurity service offerings. We understand the importance of cybersecurity and are committed to helping businesses stay vigilant.

Can you introduce us to what you do? What are your main areas of focus?

As a cybersecurity leader, at Microland, our core focus is helping our customers protect their digital assets. Most of our engagements involve a consulting and domain-led approach bringing our deep technology expertise to deploy and manage innovative solutions that keep our clients safe from threats of any kind. We have a dedicated set of cyber defenders with blue team, red team, and purple team professionals who are constantly applying new techniques to safeguard our customers from cyber warfare. At the core, our next-generation offerings (developed by our globally dispersed CyberTrust CoEs) are powered by platforms, time-tested frameworks, and automation. We not just view Cybersecurity from a technology standpoint but expand it further with risk mitigation, data privacy & compliance strategies, which in many cases are industry vertical-specific. We are positioning Microland as a "Cybersecurity Partner for the Present and the Future".

You stated that Microland advocates “Cyber Resilience First approach” and this approach is at core of Cyber services. Would you like to share more about Microland cybersecurity vision?

Microland believes in promoting and advocating our "Cyber Resilient First Approach”. Our vision is to always be prepared for any cyberattack and quickly recover from them to help keep our customers’ businesses running. We live in a complex world, with dynamic threats targeting not only enterprises and public networks but also mission-critical national crown jewels and modern edge computing infrastructure components.

We are unique in our approach because we believe cybersecurity needs a change in mindset of providing services. Our cybersecurity service ecosystem is powered by advanced capabilities with cutting edge platforms integrated service approach (AI/ML based Cloud Security for Data Lake), advanced AI/ML driven autonomous detection, conviction, and orchestration), covering wing to wing cybersecurity needs.

Has the Covid-19 pandemic presented new challenges in securing enterprise customers?

The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented cybersecurity challenges for businesses around the world. The sudden need to rapidly deploy large-scale remote access solutions has exposed previously hidden vulnerabilities in many organizations’ IT systems. Microland’s Global Cyber command center had noticed a significant increase in attacks exploiting vulnerabilities in Healthcare IT systems, Critical National Infrastructure services like Energy and Utilities, that could potentially cause catastrophic destruction.

We observed a significant rise in the need for securing critical applications for our clients with respect to log4j vulnerabilities. Microland partnered with a leading innovative platform, CloudDefense.AI, to run collaborative campaigns and publish specific cyber advisory information. With our unique offering powered by CloudDefense.AI, we help our customers secure mission-critical applications, assisting them with risk-based cloud posture management.

With work from home becoming the new normal, what are the worst habits that can make an organization vulnerable to cyber threats?

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed new cybersecurity challenges while organizations are trying to protect themselves from the adversary. Below are some of the few common security lapses:

  • Lack of communication and collaboration among organizations to share information about the threats landscape and best practices for prevention and response.
  • Limited visibility and no vigilance against cyberattacks, which could be used to spread ransomware or potential malware to exploit sensitive data.
  • Failure to enforce controls to protect critical infrastructures, such as key applications, critical data assets, and cloud infrastructure from cyberattacks.
  • Failing to maintain a good recovery and incident response plan that works both online and offline.

Even though cybercrime rates are constantly on the rise, some companies still fail to recognize the importance of having a quality security system. Why do you think that is the case?

Let me address this in two parts:

  • Malicious actors don’t differentiate as long as they are able to exploit vulnerable systems, and we have witnessed even small retail shops getting breached. Although cybersecurity is now on top of a CIO’s or business leadership’s mindshare, there are still few customers who think that threats and threat protection are not applicable to their organization. The notion of leaving security to “Hope” is a very dangerous thought process. We can't continue to run a business while leaving the cyber defense program to hope.
  • The second important point to consider is the velocity of attacks. If we analyze cybercrime’s general statistics – 80% of attacks are in some way known signatures/ TTP and 20% of attacks originate from targeted groups, such as nation states. If we carefully analyze the underlying belly of the WannaCry attack, Microsoft released a patch about 2 months before the actual breach, so it led to the effectiveness of the vulnerability management program, adaptiveness of existing Security Operations Centers, and scalability of cyber vigilance to quickly respond to the threat. Along with this, customers are facing a talent shortage in cybersecurity skills, IR team, and trained resources to support their cybersecurity programs.

What do you think about the future of cyber warfare and what adversaries will look like in the upcoming years?

In our view, we believe that the current threat landscape is going to continue to be dynamic and automated with the power of AI. We also view that the very definition of managed endpoint is no longer restricted to workstations only. It would extend to OT devices, including managed satellites. We are also not far away from witnessing attacks on remote satellite services powering our Internet backbone.

In your opinion, what kind of attacks organizations should be prepared to tackle in 2022? What security measures are essential for combating these threats?

From our experience, we consider three areas to be fundamentally important:

  • The right mindset: Always strive to achieve a good cyber defense posture addressing at the overall enterprise program level. A good way to start is Maturity Audit and Assessment, making it a continuous process.
  • Right Cyber Technology foundation: If we take a simple use-case with Cloud computing, there exists the capability to spin up 1000+ resources in milliseconds and completely run it as infra-as-a-code. We are looking at millions of data points to process, and figure out what is useful and what is not from a SecOps standpoint. How good a security program is depends entirely on having the right platform and not on the number of tools deployed.
  • Cyber operations hygiene: A lot of things that we did over the years have inadvertently created risk. Every customer has some element of technical debt, which in turn creates weak cyber hygiene issues.

It sounds simple but is very difficult to execute in the right cycle in an era where enterprises are embarking on continuous digital transformation.

Tell us, what’s next for Microland Cybersecurity?

Our methodology is to always ensure that we design a holistic cybersecurity service with three core layers – speed of response, elastic scale-flexibility powered by the cloud, with the right skill set that is tailored to our customers’ needs, and make technology work in the favor of the client. We will continue our investments in capability building and ensure that our clients are better equipped to protect themselves against security risks in the current dynamic threat landscape. As always, we will continue to strive to deliver the highest standards of customer service.

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