Business Maverick

VIRTUAL ARMOUR

Tech giants step up innovations to address cybersecurity breaches

Tech giants step up innovations to address cybersecurity breaches
(Photo: EPA-EFE / Justin Lane)

Google and global tech company Zoho recently announced security enhancements designed to reassure users.

A recent IBM report estimated the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 to be $4.45-million, more than enough to put some companies out of business. 

The same report highlighted that 51% of organisations were planning to increase security investments as a result of a breach. These investments would typically include incident response planning and testing, employee training and threat detection and response tools. In addition, companies that do make use of security AI and automation extensively save an average of $1.76-million compared with those that do not.

Irwin Lazar, the president and principal analyst at the research firm Metrigy, said the adoption of generative AI was growing. “Nearly 85% of our research participants are using or planning to use it while only 39% have implemented a generative AI security strategy,” he said.  

A big part of cybersecurity ties back to the software that companies use in the back end — how secure the company’s data is and how susceptible it might be to hackers or bot attacks — and tech giants are increasingly being held accountable. 

In February, Google agreed to fork out $350-million to settle a long-running class action lawsuit after a security glitch in its now defunct Google Plus social media platform exposed millions of its users’ data to outside developers. But the tech giants are not napping on this issue.

Zoho improves security tech stack

Both Google and global tech company Zoho recently announced security enhancements designed to reassure users. At its annual Zoholics conference in Austin, Texas this week, Zoho unveiled new safeguards to its reinforced, tightly integrated security tech stack. These include a privacy-first browser called Ulaa, a workforce identity and access management platform, a multifactor authentication solution (OneAuth) and a secure password manager (Vault). 

Zoho said its improved security stack would provide businesses with the highest level of protection against tracking, breaches and attacks, without sacrificing employee and organisational productivity. 

“We are really pleased that Zoho continues to focus specifically on its security-related offerings,” said Jeff Anderson, vice-president of IT at Integris Credit Union, which is a Zoho client. 

“We’ve implemented Ulaa, Vault and OneAuth, and connected them to over a dozen SaaS [Software-as-a-Service] applications using Zoho Directory. As a credit union, Integris is entrusted with incredibly sensitive customer data, and we won’t take chances on the security, privacy and trust of our customers. These tools provide protections we need while offering simplified management for IT, which saves us time and money.” 

Crypto mining detection

Ulaa emphasises data privacy and security, enhancing productivity while blocking web surveillance and tracking. The browser now includes machine-learning-powered phishing detection, which protects users by identifying and blocking phishing sites with advanced algorithms. Another new feature of Ulaa is its crypto mining detection, which enhances security by preventing unauthorised mining attacks. Superior ad blocking protects user privacy by eliminating intrusive ads and tracking scripts. 

Zoho Directory helps businesses manage their users, apps, devices and networks securely and from a single console with one secure credential. With conditional access and routing policies, IT admins can also automate access management without the fear of security breaches. 

OneAuth, Zoho’s multifactor authentication (MFA) solution, now offers smart sign-in, providing users a faster way to log into their Zoho accounts by scanning a secure QR code. Additionally, Zoho has made it easier to enforce MFA across organisations, enabling administrators to add employees by carrying over their MFA session from web browser to mobile device, removing friction from the adoption process. 

OneAuth’s password-free feature allows Zoho users to enter their username, after which they can log in via a push notification and biometric verification. OneAuth also offers encrypted cloud sync, which makes it possible to use the authenticator across devices. Users can employ the OneAuth feature across the Android, iOS, macOS, iPadOS, watchOS, Wear OS, and Windows platforms. 

Zoho Vault, the company’s enterprise password manager, enables businesses to store, share and manage workforce passwords from anywhere. It offers a password generator, policies, breached password detection, compliance reports, browser extensions and mobile apps. 

“Nothing is more important to Zoho than the privacy and security of not only our customers, but their customers, too,” Raju Vegesna, Zoho’s chief evangelist, said. 

tech innovation cybersecurity vegesna

Raju Vegesna. (Photo: Supplied)

“That’s why we’re announcing additional safeguards to our integrated security stack, bringing businesses the broad and deep protection needed to defend against today’s increasingly sophisticated attacks. This stack is unlike anything else on the market, providing top security solutions alongside a privacy-first browser, which affords users an additional layer of safety against surveillance and tracking,” he said.

A month after Google’s $350-million settlement was made public, the company released a Secure by Design report detailing how implementing software security from the start could better protect its users. 

Kate Charlet, the global director of privacy safety and security policy at Google, said generative AI was already helping organisations understand privacy feedback for large numbers of users and identify privacy compliance issues. 

“AI is enabling a new generation of cyber defences. Privacy-enhancing technologies like synthetic data and differential privacy are illuminating ways we can deliver greater benefits to society without revealing private information,” she said. DM

This article was partly based on a trip to the Zoholics 2024 conference, which was sponsored by Zoho.

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