Improving your cybersecurity to reduce cyber exposure is an ongoing process.
Recent data suggests that a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds. Therefore, an organisation-wide cybersecurity plan is critical to tackling the constantly changing modern threat landscape.
This article will reveal the five steps you can take to reduce cyber exposure. These include:
- Updating and patching
- Leaving your security perimeter behind
- Vulnerability scanning
- Providing practical cybersecurity training and awareness
- Following safe password best practices
Cyber Risks Reduced through Updating and Patching
Cyber-attacks can be relatively simplistic and take advantage of outdated, vulnerable environments. This means that systems which are detracting from your overall security posture are those that don’t receive routine upgrades and fixes.
Applying regular updates and security patches for both an organisation’s and employees’ devices ensures that widespread vulnerabilities are likely already protected before being compromised. Making patching and updates a high priority prevents unnecessary environmental penetration, building the barricade between your organisation and potential attackers.
Leave Traditional Perimeter Security Behind
As more of us work from home, many devices don’t sit behind a traditional secure network boundary. These devices are subject to the dangers and flaws of home networks and home-based IoT devices because they are outside the secure walls of the conventional workplace, clinic, or school.
Limiting security to the traditional network perimeter with connectivity tools like VPNs may assist in simplifying device security in the short term; however, this approach has significant security and monitoring trade-offs.
Organisations should act as though every computer is connected to a public internet instead of attempting to define and defend a perimeter. This is often called a ‘Zero-Trust’ strategy.
Manage Cyber Risk using Vulnerability Management
Attackers always have easy targets to exploit, gaining access to IT environments thanks to vulnerabilities in web applications, operating systems, or services that listen on ports.
Without effective vulnerability management, there is a strong chance that an opportunistic actor will take advantage of any weaknesses in systems that are accessible to the outside world or via an already compromised device.
Vulnerability scanning allows you to find vulnerabilities, prioritise remediation, and fix them. This efficient management of vulnerabilities reduces your overall attack surface and closes off these highly exploitable weaknesses.
The process of vulnerability management is:
Asset Tracking and Analysis
Use a broad range of attributes to precisely track changes to assets regardless of how they move around or how long they last, including dynamic IT assets like laptops, virtual machines, and cloud instances.
Streamlined User Interface
Together with skilled security consultants, a modern interface with pre-defined templates and configuration audit checks that adhere to best practice frameworks, including CIS and DISA STIG, may help safeguard your organisation and maximise your return on investment.
Pre-built connectors with complementary platforms to rapidly and easily streamline a vulnerability management programme.
Cybersecurity Training and Awareness
The human factor always plays a significant part in cyber-attacks because a network’s entire user base serves as a surface through which security failures might happen, especially when threat actors force uneducated staff into doing something wrong.
This often falls under social engineering techniques, which also cover phishing and other psychologically deceptive tactics.
This means that practical cybersecurity training and awareness programmes equip employees with security knowledge, reducing the overall attack surface as there are fewer possible entry points into networks through social engineering methods.
Follow Safe Password Best Practices
Credentials are the primary method used by malicious actors to break into an organisation, with 61 per cent of breaches being attributable to leveraged credentials, according to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report.
Using good password hygiene is key to protecting against attacks. Good hygiene involves:
- Using upper and lowercase letters
- Using numbers and symbols
- Changing passwords every 60 to 90 days
- Setting strong and unpredictable passwords (such as using random strings, letters and special characters)
- Not writing any passwords down
- Not sharing them with colleagues (unless through secure security software)
Additionally, using an authentication platform to secure access and identity management such as SSO (single sign-on), API access management, MFA (multi-factor authentication) and more can help things secure.
Contact our expert team for more information about reducing your organisation’s cyber exposure.