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Understanding Cyberattack Dwell Time

Cyberattacks are on the rise and no company is safe — to the point where it’s no longer a matter of if you get attacked but when. Even though it may be impossible to prevent a cybercriminal from targeting your company, there’s a lot you can do to make your systems less vulnerable. As with all preventative measures, the key is understanding who and what you’re fighting against. When it comes to cyberattacks, one of the most important factors to consider is dwell time.

Dwell time as it relates to cyberattacks can directly correlate to how much your systems and data are exposed and compromised. Here’s a straightforward breakdown of what dwell time is, why it matters, and how to mitigate your risk.

What Is Dwell Time?

Dwell time refers to the amount of time a hacker spends inside your network without being detected. For example, suppose an attacker uses a phishing attack to gain access to your network environment. If an organization doesn’t have the right cybersecurity tools in place, the cybercriminals could go undetected on your network for days or even months. From the moment an attacker gains access to your network from the time they are detected is the attack dwell time.

Why Does Dwell Time Matter?

Dwell time matters because cybercriminals can cause more damage the longer they are in your system. “Damage” can refer to literal damage via malware that harms databases or other software components. It can also include the theft of sensitive data and east-west attacks, which involve moving to other areas of the network to launch more assaults. By reducing dwell time, you reduce the extent and impact of the attack.

How to Mitigate Your Risk

Mitigating your risk begins with having proactive cybersecurity strategies and technologies in place. This would include:

  • Conducting penetration scans. Penetration scans help reveal the weak spots in your network, making it easier to address and fix them.
  • Using next-generation antivirus technology. Next-gen antivirus software can both detect and respond to hackers trying to take advantage of your system.
  • Enabling domain name server (DNS) protection. DNS protection blocks internet-based threats by filtering out suspicious traffic and preventing malicious sites from interacting with your network.
  • Monitoring firewalls. By using a managed services provider that can monitor and manage your firewall settings, you can benefit from its vast experience and knowledge of attack methodology.
  • Implementing endpoint security. By leveraging managed endpoint security, you can safeguard your workstations and servers. This kind of service can also protect mobile devices from attacks, making it easier to safely operate a distributed or hybrid workforce.
  • Use managed detection and response (MDR). Managed detection and response combines cutting-edge tech, human discernment, and wisdom to identify and respond to threats faster. This saves your business time — and the money involved in recovering from an attack.
  • Regularly backup data. A regularly executed backup system can help you recover from even the most devastating cyberattacks in a matter of hours — or less. With a managed backup system, you always have a recent version of business-critical apps and data ready to be spun up if necessary.

TPx’s managed cybersecurity services can help minimize your dwell time by removing cybercriminals from your network faster — and helping prevent them from getting into your systems in the first place. Reach out to TPx today to start bolstering your defenses and slashing attack dwell time.

Interested in learning more about how businesses can better protect themselves from cybercriminals? Read our “Comprehensive Cybersecurity Guide.”

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