Telecom companies and ISPs (internet service providers) can’t exactly relax. With millions of customers needing them to go about their daily business – whether work or entertainment – they have to be available 24/7. Unfortunately, the fact that telecoms and ISPs are vital hasn’t escaped cyber attackers. Bad actors have made telecoms and ISPs prime targets for cyberattacks, knowing that the kind of critical infrastructure these companies maintain and operate is essential. Essential services rely upon them when it comes to customer services. Telecoms and ISPs also manage large quantities of customer data, including personally identifiable information (PII). This opens up massive threats if these services go down. For these reasons, ISP security is so important when it comes to protecting against the biggest threats in this arena. It’s something every organization should take extremely seriously. Security challenges for ISPs The first security challenge for ISPs involves protecting networks and applications from possible abuse. ISPs are in an immensely powerful position when it comes to this area. For example, the number of online transactions that now take place on the internet is greater than at any point in history. Think back to coronavirus lockdown and how, in many cases, online shopping was the only way many people had of getting hold of the goods they wanted. Things haven’t slowed down since then. The increased number of online transactions means that ISPs are, more than ever, handling sensitive information like credit card details for merchants. This information is potentially vulnerable to cyberattacks. The infrastructure handling this data must be protected from the edge through to the data, regardless of whether it’s in the cloud or on-prem. A second security challenge involves securing data in the cloud. Organizations moving to the cloud can expect myriad benefits when making their lives easier – such as lowering the costs associated with managing on-prem infrastructure. But security mustn’t fall by the wayside. Therefore, infrastructure such as APIs and databases are adequately safeguarded so that a transition to the cloud can happen with agility. With the same seamless experience customers have come to expect. More challenges where those came from A third challenge comes from downtime resulting from devastating attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Domain Name System (DNS) attacks. Such attacks can knock vital services offline for prolonged downtime by using measures such as bombarding targets with massive quantities of fraudulent data in the case of DDoS attack. These attacks have seen a considerable uptick in popularity in recent years. Targeting an ISPO or telecom provider, the results of such an attack could be enormous – and would also affect plenty of downstream services which rely on these companies. One last challenge comes from bad bots, a problem that’s increasing every year. Bad bots can negatively impact victims by carrying out automated attacks, including malicious acts like account takeovers. It’s an enormous challenge that any business needs to be on the lookout for – but which could hit critical infrastructure like telecoms and ISPs particularly hard. There’s bad news and good news The bad news is that such threats are only going to get worse. Attackers will focus on the kinds of attack targets that give them the potential to cause maximum harm. Unfortunately, in a world where connectivity is relied upon, that means going after telecoms and ISPs. One report published earlier this year noted that the number of cyberattacks leveled at ISPs and managed service providers rose by close to 70 percent year over year from 2020 to 2021. That’s a trajectory that’s unlikely to reverse any time soon. But not all the news is terrible. There are tools available that can help out when it comes to battling back against these threats. Data Activity Monitoring (DAM) tools can aid by keeping tabs on on-premises and cloud environments alike to pinpoint what’s happening at any given time for any given database – while also ensuring that companies comply with the correct data protection requirements, such as Europe’s GDPR framework. Meanwhile, Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) can help keep data safe in the cloud, and Cloud Data Protection services can utilize machine learning to look for suspicious data access that could pose a threat. The cyber security threat landscape is a lot like a game of cat and mouse – with bad actors looking for new ways to cause problems while good actors seek to keep people safe. It’s a never-ending battle, with stakes ramping up all the time. But by taking the proper precautions, organizations can keep themselves and their customers safe. And that goes whether you’re a small-to-medium business or an enormous telecoms giant or ISP. Further Reading \t Tips for Choosing the Best Digital Security Products for Your Business \t The Security Deposit Alternatives for Renters \t How to Set up a Small Hotel Business: An Inside Guide?