Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats to Watch in 2020

My Post (2).pngThese days, cybercriminals are ambitious and innovative, with no shortage of tools and resources at their disposal to go after high-stakes targets and execute malicious code — all while flying completely under the radar.

To prepare you for what’s ahead, below are five of the top cybersecurity threats you might encounter in 2020.

Misconfigured Cloud Environments Set the Stage for Damaging Attacks

Cloud misconfigurations have been responsible for some of the most egregious breaches in recent memory. Last year, a Seattle-based hacker exploited a misconfigured web application firewall to access files of a major financial institution hosted on AWS S3 servers, resulting in a data breach that compromised the personal information of 100 million credit card customers. Unlike other threats, this security problem originates internally — often as a simple mistake that’s made during the deployment of cloud resources. This also paves the way for insider threats on cloud deployments. Yet even accidental oversights can result in costly and destructive breaches that will only become more pervasive as hackers increasingly turn their attention to the cloud.

Phishers Cast a Wider Net

As one of the cheapest and most efficient methods of reaching targets at scale, it’s not surprising that phishing is one of the leading causes of data breaches, according to the Verizon 2019 DBIR. However, hackers are upping their game with a myriad of advanced techniques. Phishers are targeting numerous business SaaS applications —  now accounting for 36% of all attacks — and are continuing to use personal information shared on numerous social media sites to create more authentic-looking, interpersonal messages. As a result, these attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to identify — even for the most tech-savvy users.

Malware Authors Up Their Game

Malware grew by leaps and bounds in 2019, and shows no signs of slowing down in 2020. According to AV-TEST, cyberattackers pushed the total number of known malware samples over the one billion mark — with attacks that are more sophisticated than ever before. Fileless malware attacks – malicious code that executes by piggybacking on legitimate software – are continuing an upward trajectory, along with new forms of “stalkerware” — spyware that tracks victim smartphone data to generate a big-picture view of their activities. On the ransomware landscape, new families are targeting high-value business data while others such as Maze are punishing victims who fail to pay up.  Read More


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How to Maintain Customer Relationships While Working Remotely

My Post - 2020-03-26T124800.644.pngMy job is to ensure every customer gets the most value out of Salesforce, but my passion is establishing and building trust. As the Chief Adoption Officer, I spend more than half my time meeting with customers all around the world. It’s that face-to-face interaction that helps me help them.

On any given day, I’m landing in a new city with a packed schedule, shuffling from plane to car to client meeting to hotel and then back the other way. That all changed overnight.

As worries over the coronavirus escalated, out of an abundance of caution, Salesforce asked many of us to start working from home. I went from knowing where I was going to be every single day for the next four months to scrambling to set up my next meeting… over video.

So what should sales leaders do to deepen our connection with customers during a time when digital communication becomes the form of communication? What do we tell our teams when they’re cooped up at home? And how do we be there for our people without physically being there?

Below are a few practices I’ve implemented these past few weeks to maintain strong customer relationships and build new ones, even while I’m not out on the road. I hope that by sharing, you too will be able to strengthen your bonds during these trying times.

1. Listen to your team

Let’s be realistic. Your team members aren’t going to be thinking about how they can help their customers if they’re worried about what’s happening at home.

First and foremost, focus on building an inclusive, empathetic culture from the top down. Your team is watching to see how you react. Show them you care. Open up a team call or one-on-one with a personal story and invite them to share their own.  Then probe deeper: How can I help? What boundaries can I respect? What are the things we should all agree on as a team?

One of the first things I did at home was organize a call twice a week with my team just to talk. This led us to create a Quip doc, where we could collect our thoughts and share what we’ve learned. You can also try inviting people to virtual happy hour. You’d be surprised to find how nice it feels – even when it’s just 15 minutes in front of a webcam.

At Salesforce, we’re helping our employees redefine their work through a variety of tools and channels – but no matter what technology you have at your disposal, every leader can be empathetic and listen. That creates team members who are ready to do the same.

2. Listen to your customers

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is a time for deep listening. It’s important now more than ever. Remind your teams to really hear what their customers are concerned about and to show that they’re really there for them.

How do you do this? Set up a virtual coffee. Talk about what they’re facing. Brainstorm how to work together. Propose ideas that could solve their problems now.

One customer recently told us they needed an emergency preparedness portal to communicate with their customers. Our team turned around a prototype in two days. That customer may or may not ultimately sign a deal with us, but they’ll remember we helped them when they needed it most.

While many things feel uncertain right now, people still need to do business. Contracts are still being written. And pain points still need to be solved. Listen to your customers with empathy, and you’ll end up creating true value for them. – Read more

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4 Ways to Prepare Your Application for Remote Workers

My Post - 2020-03-26T115832.340.pngCompanies all across the world are adjusting to new working from home policies and are taking precaution to limit the impact diseases are having on the lives of employees and customers. The virus has created a ripple effect impacting everything from a visit to the local grocery store to countless conference cancellations. And the world became aware of this crisis only a little over a month ago. Tech companies have responded by asking, and even requiring, employees to work remotely. The CEO of Zoom Communications stated publicly that usage is at an all-time high, most likely due to restrictions on travel.

For companies that deliver applications that enable remote work and collaboration, this has obvious implications. To enable a sudden and potentially sustained burst of utilization, there needs to be a business continuity plan. Executives at these companies must be asking:

  1. How do we keep our employees safe and productive?
  2. How do we continue to meet SLAs as usage increases?
  3. What is our capacity planning strategy?
  4. For incidents that do occur, are we adequately prepared to address them?
  5. As the utilization of services increases, what is the impact on margins?

Indeed, these questions should be top of mind for those companies in the remote workspace, but even companies who now may have larger employee counts working remotely on in-house applications face similar challenges.

These are questions we’re thinking about here at Splunk, where we treat data as the fuel that helps us make better decisions.

From a technical operations perspective, we’ve identified 4 areas where companies can find these answers:

  1. Measure what matters
  2. Drive standardization of tools
  3. Employ an effective escalation policy
  4. Make learning a part of the process

Measure What Matters

Access to accurate, discoverable, and timely data is what drives collaborative planning and response. Even in the era of the cloud, resources are not limitless. It is critical to develop a deep understanding of infrastructure utilization and how application changes over time have affected performance and reliability, particularly when capacity planning. However, baseline analysis doesn’t adequately safeguard against future incidents. An effective metrics system will be capable of firing an alert within seconds, ensuring fast mean-time-to-acknowledge (MTTA) and detection (MTTD). Distributed tracing has become the go-to debugging approach for more complex application architectures, where multiple services are called to fulfill individual requests. Its effectiveness in identifying causality during incidents can also help technical teams better understand the overall impact on application performance by aggregating metadata contained within the traces to produce tag-specific SLIs.

Drive Standardization of Tools

Unfamiliarity with tools and data sets used across teams creates a huge obstacle in driving responsiveness and cross-team collaboration. It is not uncommon for two teams to produce different metrics from the same datasets. The more tools, the more likely one will encounter data that is or may appear inconsistent. Time will be spent debating dashboard and data validity, rather than focusing on capacity planning and updating runbooks. When something does go wrong, the last thing the incident manager wants to run into are conflicting tools and dashboards. As open-source data collection grows in popularity, and IT Operations companies grow the breadth of offerings, there are more options than ever to collapse the observability stack. – Read more

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