The cyber world, like a coin, has two sides. One is the marvel of digitalization, which provides business organizations with futuristic advancements. The other is the dark side of cybercrime, which poses serious threats to the organization’s very existence. But that’s not all.
According to CyberSafeHaven™’s Managing Director, Ramakrishnan R. Seshagiri, in the current scenario, company management must understand the risks associated with the products, processes, people, and, in effect, the entire business faces from cybersecurity threats.
Businesses of all sizes must know intimately about cyber threats, which can have a direct or indirect financial, brand, and business impact. Economic damage can be caused by ransomware attacks or downtime caused by DDoS attacks, brand impact from data theft, and business impact from customer credentials being sold on the dark web. These are only a few examples of various effects. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, companies will face regulatory and compliance consequences if found negligent. Due to all of these factors, treating cyber threats appropriately becomes very crucial for companies.
In the near future, three clear trends are evident. One, national critical infrastructure attacks will intensify by nation-state actors. The recent ransomware attack on AIIMS-Delhi is a classic case. It exposes the country’s and citizens’ data and the infrastructure itself.
“The second trend is that our defence forces are ramping up technology-based arsenal rapidly.” Examples include UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) and Drone-swarms. These next-generation assets will be under massive attacks again from deep-state actors.
As far as companies are concerned, the biggest trend is that very sophisticated phishing enabled by technologies like chatGPT, and deep-fake voice-enabled vishing attacks have become much more prevalent. Businesses need to guard themselves both using technology and continuous employee training.
“This is where we are emerging as the perfect partner for organizations worldwide to enable us to protect them,” says Ramakrishnan, popularly known as Ramki in the security industry, who founded CyberSafeHaven™ in late 2019 and formally incorporated it in early 2020.
Ramakrishnan is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of global experience across several software product companies, including CalSoft, Siemens, and McAfee. With McAfee, he has built security products in the network and web protection space. His educational credentials include a combination of formal degrees and industry-recognized certifications. He is enlisted as a National Cyber Security Scholar under the National Security Database, has an Advanced Cyber Security Certificate from Stanford University and Post Graduate Diploma in Cyber Laws and Cyber Forensics from National Law School (NLSIU-Bangalore), is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), AWS-Security Specialist and TUV Certified ISO27001:2013 Lead Auditor.
He spoke in an exclusive interview with Insights Success, the highlights of which are given herein.
Sir, please describe your company in detail.
CyberSafeHaven™ Consulting is a firm that specializes and has expertise in product and application security. The primary services offered by the company are basic product security, advanced application security, including a proprietary threat modelling framework, integrated security for product development (DevSecOps), and threat-hunting services. It also offers partner-enabled services like SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS), ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), and even Dark Web monitoring.
What was your inspiration behind venturing into the Cyber Threat Solution niche?
Based on in-depth analysis and scanning of the prevailing solutions and services in the market, a clear trend was evident that a large white space existed for services around niche application security and threat services.
While many companies provide VAPT (vulnerability and penetration testing), firms providing specialized services in the areas mentioned earlier were a great opportunity and the biggest inspiration for this venture.
What are the USP’s that highlight your brand as a leading name in the Industry?
CyberSafeHaven™ offers its clients a proprietary threat modelling framework that can be applied to products at any stage of development and is not generic or objective but very prescriptive and specific in offerings solutions to identified gaps. This unique threat modelling framework looks at various dimensions, including data at rest, data in motion, internal, and external APIs/interfaces, whether and what level of encryption is used in every module and surface attack area, access control mechanisms employed, and known attack vectors as a matrix to cover all aspects of possible threats encountered by the application(s).
ThreatProwler is a tool exclusively for our clients, which helps perform a thorough analysis of threats from the web, email, and other emerging threats from the wild. This tool integrates with multiple open-source APIs, including Mozilla Observatory and AlienVaultX, to scan all the sub-domains for the various threats and provides a clear picture of where addressable issues.
CyberRISK4Board™ is another unique and industry-first risk management offering that offers top management and the Board of Directors a complete picture of all the business’s cyber risks. Most cyber risk-management solutions in the market largely focus only on technical aspects. However, CyberRISK4BoardTM focuses on cyber threats related to business, legal, financial and technical. This provides the management with a clear perspective on what was attempted to be protected, how effectively it was done, and what needs to be done for future quarters in a concise three-page report.
What are the immersive benefits of the services/solutions you provide to your clients?
Our company’s philosophy is to offer comprehensive and 360-degree solutions rather than providing cyber security as a piecemeal approach. An allied philosophy is that businesses should not settle for just VAPT. While VAPT services are critical for every business, it also needs to be understood as a snapshot of a given timeframe. Companies are happy with just plain VAPT of their applications but might not be sufficiently concerned about cloud and/or network security and monitoring the events in their environment.
This can be dangerous and make businesses highly vulnerable since attackers always look for a single breachable source. It does not matter if applications alone are highly secure. The entire environment needs to be protected. This is the immersive benefit of in-depth and total security is our most differentiated solution offering.
What were the initial challenges after venturing into the field and what are the challenges now?
The initial challenges were around convincing customers about value-added services like threat modelling and threat hunting. Most customers are highly cost-conscious and prefer to stick to what they think is “least needed” and sufficient. However, in security, this is not a great approach.
There was an uphill battle to convince customers, but now more central bodies, regulators, and enforcement agencies are passing strictures that require most organizations not to be happy with the minimum. Additionally, potential liability clauses for businesses in the upcoming Digital Personal Data Protection Bill will certainly make companies to sit up and take threat management, incident handling, and related services more seriously.
The current challenge is that multiple agencies release multiple and sometimes conflicting requirements making it confusing and harder to implement the mandates. These bodies like RBI, IRDAI, CERT-In under MeITY, all should co-ordinate amongst themselves or create a nodal agency that will release notifications and technical requirements for companies and industries to comply with.
What would be your advice to the aspirants willing to venture into your field?
Be curious and ready for continuous learning! That is the most important advice for aspirants to cyber threat solutions. The landscape is changing so fast that no one can claim to be an expert forever without upgrading themselves and equipping themselves with the latest trends. Secondly, many aspirants have an obsession with certifications. They are definitely essential and add much value but are barely sufficient. Hands-on experience in the field, even if it’s practice, labs is far more crucial.
Lastly, I would advise aspirants to play to their strengths while choosing an area to specialize in within cyber security and not go by popular trends. For example, many youngsters believe that one has to be a “Pentester” to be respected in the field. Cyber Security is way too big and has several areas to choose from: Blue Teamer (Defender), Forensics Analyst, SOC analyst / Incident Handling and Response Analyst, and GRC analyst are some of the several other roles that are possible and can expand later depending on likes and expertise.