If you're new to cyber security protocol implementation, you may find the process overwhelming.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that cyber security is one of the hottest topics in the world right now. With high-profile data breaches, malware attacks, and cyber extortion incidents making headlines on a regular basis, there has perhaps never been a more important time to ensure your company is taking all possible steps to protect your users and sensitive information.In the world of enterprise technology, this comes in the form of cyber hygiene. The concept isn’t new or revolutionary, but it may be something you haven’t considered for your organization yet. With so many cyber attacks targeting specific companies because they have a known weakness, improving your enterprise cyber hygiene can go a long way toward protecting both individuals and the company as a whole.
What is Cyber Hygiene?
Cyber hygiene can be divided into three categories: technical, behavioural, and organizational. Technical measures include the use of strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and virus protection software. Behavioural measures include the avoidance of phishing scams, suspicious emails, and social media posts. Organizational measures include the adoption of policies and procedures that promote cybersecurity awareness and compliance.
Cyber hygiene should be practiced by everyone, regardless of their role or position within an organization. It is especially important for employees in high-risk positions such as IT support staff, security analysts, and other professionals who deal with sensitive information on a regular basis. By taking these basic precautions, you can help to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime.
Why It Matters
Maintaining good cyber hygiene is critical for any company, big or small. Just as poor personal hygiene may result in various health problems, failure to maintain proper cyber hygiene may have serious consequences. Your firm may cease to operate, and, most importantly, your clients will lose faith in your business if you do not properly maintain good cyber hygiene. You will also lose your competitive advantage if you don't maintain good cyber hygiene. We've seen many instances in history where this has occurred.A malware detection solution or any cyber security software is not enough to protect your company's data security. Cyber hygiene is an important preventive measure to avoid data breaches. Reactive responses to attacks are not enough; instead, an attack must be prevented from happening.
1. Maintain an updated inventory of your assets
Digital assets, such as computers, smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT) are valuable targets for hackers who seek to steal or disrupt data or affect operations.
To protect digital assets from cyber threats, organizations need to be proactive and have a plan in place for what to do in the event of a breach. The most important thing is to know what’s out there and what you have. To maintain an updated inventory of your assets, make sure you regularly scan your networks. Keep up with patches and software updates and stay on top of any new threats by monitoring your security alerts.
Maintaining an organized inventory is only part of the puzzle because it’s easy for someone to walk away with something they shouldn’t have if there isn’t good tracking in place. Establishing good IT standards, policies and procedures will go a long way towards making sure that data stays protected.
2. Create an Allowlist (Whitelist) of softwares that can be installed on the company owned assets.
An Allowlist is a list of programs and files that are allowed to be installed on company owned assets, such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This allows a company to control what software and files can be installed on their devices. This is especially important for companies that have sensitive personal data stored on the devices, or who want to ensure that employees are not being exposed to malware and viruses on their devices.
There are several benefits to creating an Allowlist:
- It prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data.
- It ensures that employees have only approved programs running on company owned devices. It helps to prevent cyber attacks by allowing trusted apps only.
- It ensures that employees are not running malware or viruses on their devices.
- For more information about creating an Allowlist, see the following resources: https://www1.usa.gov/2tNxWtK
3. Implement an Access Control & Management System
An access control and management system is an essential component of any cyber security strategy. It helps to ensure that only authorized users are granted access to sensitive information and systems. It can also be used to monitor network usage patterns and identify anomalies. And, like all other cyber security measures, it should be regularly updated to remain effective.
There are a number of different types of access control and management systems available. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The best approach depends on the needs of the organization.One type of system is an authentication system. It allows users to log in using their username and password. Another type is a biometric system, which identifies users by their fingerprints or facial scans. And, a token-based system uses physical devices such as key fobs to grant or deny access to specific areas of the network.
Other types of systems include email filtering, web filtering, compliance monitoring, intrusion detection, and monitoring security events. They each have different uses and capabilities, so it’s important to choose the right one for your organization.
- Ensure that only those users that authorized have access to specific systems
- All users use a Multi-factor authentication into organization’s network
- Block external storage devices from being connected into company’s computers
4. Train your employees on cybersecurity threats & best practices
The days of the hard copy record are numbered. As a business owner, it is essential to keep up with new technology and adapt to changing practices. However, it is not always easy. Employees can be resistant to new ideas, and digital security practices may seem overwhelming for new employees.One way to mitigate this problem is by training employees on digital hygiene habits. The phrase itself may sound like gibberish, but it actually refers to the ways in which people use technology to protect their online privacy and security. For example, using a password manager can help you avoid creating a simple password that anyone could guess easily. Using two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter a second code when logging into their account.Another way to equip employees with digital hygiene habits is by providing them with cybersecurity training so they can learn how to properly use technology and avoid cyber attacks. By teaching them how to identify phishing emails and update their antivirus software regularly, you can ensure your company stays safe from cyber threats.
Digital hygiene is a critical aspect of cybersecurity. It includes the basic principles of online safety (i.e., identifying potential threats and taking proactive measures to avoid them). But digital hygiene also encompasses more-advanced practices, such as creating a password and two-factor authentication for all of your online accounts, scanning incoming email for suspicious attachments, and regularly backing up important data so it’s available in case of an incident. While these are individual habits, they are also essential components of any cybersecurity program.There are several ways to train employees on digital hygiene habits. The simplest approach is to have employees complete a training module on digital hygiene before they get screened for access to sensitive corporate information. A more comprehensive approach would include in-person training sessions, workshops and one-on-one discussions with IT staff.
5. Monitor & Administer the above steps regularly to ensure you are up to date
Maintaining cyber hygiene is a continuous process requiring active monitoring and ensuring that you are up-to-date. As new technologies emerge, cyber threats evolve as well. It's critical that you stay on top of the game at all times. For example, you must regularly update your software allowlist because legacy software versions may pose a threat to your organization. You also must keep an up-to-date asset inventory.
It is crucial to keep up digital hygiene. Remember, you cannot neglect brushing your teeth today because you brushed them yesterday.
If you're new to cyber security protocol implementation, you may find the process overwhelming. You can start by assessing your current cyber security posture to ensure that the above steps are actionable. You can get a comprehensive cyber hygiene assessment tool/report based on Industry standard CIS Controls. Click here to begin. This will give you a detailed report to identify and address your current risks, establish your risk profile, and provide you with action steps.