What are the Most Common Practices in Cybersecurity? Part 1
The last couple of years have been a cybersecurity nightmare. As enterprises, healthcare institutions, government agencies, and educators pivoted to remote operations, threat actors were ready and waiting to take advantage of this transitional moment.
In October of 2021, we had already surpassed the number of data breaches reported in 2020 with over 1,291, affecting millions of people.
This year, security experts across industries have made cybersecurity an operational priority that will continue for years to come. One of the keys to fortifying enterprise infrastructure is following cybersecurity best practices.
In this two-part series, we will take a brief look at some of the most common cybersecurity practices to help protect your organization.
5 Common Cybersecurity Practices to Consider for your Enterprise
1. Protect Your Data
We now live in a hybrid world where remote learning and working are the norms. A highly-secure workplace WIFI connection is now replaced by a home or café WIFI connection that’s often weak in comparison.
Cybersecurity risks have soared since organizations adopted a hybrid remote work environment. Research suggests that 88% of small business owners feel their businesses are vulnerable to a cyberattack. Threat actors have small businesses in mind, knowing that most don’t have the resources to defend against a serious attack.
As comprehensive resource-heavy cybersecurity solutions are out of reach for most organizations, niche solutions can help improve security, have low adoption barriers (because of lower complexity), and effectively respond to your ad-hoc security needs.
Partnering with an established security services provider to enable immediate access to security experts and cutting-edge technology will help defend your business. This “as-a-service” approach will ensure that you always maintain the ability to tap resources for good security posture, even with competing business priorities. This is especially important if you have your data in a multi-cloud environment, where multiple skillsets are required to maintain security.
Most enterprises don’t have to cover every security vertical to fortify their infrastructure. Instead, niche (and often cost-effective) solutions might be a better fit for them. Think of it this way; you don’t have to pay for tools that you will never use to secure your infrastructure.
Luckily, modern cloud-based security players are much easier to deal with (unlike large corporations and telecommunications companies with long-established and complicated partnership options). They are also far more flexible and responsive in many aspects.
2. Regularly Backup All Data
As security events are now the norm, companies must regularly backup all data. This approach helps ensure business continuity in the event of a data breach. Data backups also give you more to work with when dealing with a potential ransomware attack.
When preparing for a potential ransomware attack, businesses must have a data backup and disaster recovery plan to ensure business continuity. However, returning files and devices to their pre-attack “normal” state can be time intensive.
The good news is that you have some options that help IT teams get the job done without getting overwhelmed. For example, you can create an image of the data within an undetectable overlay. Think of it like a coat of armor that helps limit access to enterprise data. As the original pre-attack data is both secure and available, you can simply restore it back to its original state with a click of a button.
It’s important to remember that data backup and disaster recovery was never intended to be the sole solution to defend against cyberattacks like ransomware. Instead, it’s better to make it a part of a multipronged approach to cyber defense. Furthermore, it’s crucial to regularly test and verify your data security strategy to enable a rapid rebound for business continuity.
So, if you’re reading this and haven’t backed up your data, do it immediately!
3. Train Your Employees
It’s common for individuals to click on a malicious link or fall victim to a ransomware attack, causing a data breach. Human error has played a role in as many as 95% of all successful data breaches.
Since cybersecurity isn’t your average employee’s job and without regular training, it’s unrealistic to expect your staff to make the right judgment call when they are faced with a potentially malicious phishing scam.
As human error continues to be the weakest link in the security chain, organizations should invest in regular staff training and cybersecurity awareness workshops. These workshops can help teach employees other good security habits such as:
- Locking computers while not at their desk
- Connecting to secure networks
- Keeping their equipment up to date
- Scrutinizing links
- Keeping work stations clean; avoiding loose papers or notes with sensitive information
- Safe web practices
Learning about, implementing these practices, and knowing how to properly respond to these situations can save organizations time and money in the long run.
4. Talk to Your IT Department
As bad actors become increasingly sophisticated, it’s vital for small and medium-sized businesses to regularly review their cybersecurity strategy, conduct security audits, and stay on top of patch management.
Moreover, as the threat landscape is rapidly evolving, it’s important for businesses to advance their security posture in response to it. Talk to your IT department to assess your business risk and formulate a viable plan to ensure security.
Talking to your IT team will give you a better idea about what is needed to secure your infrastructure against the latest malicious threats.
If we learned anything from the Log4j tsunami of cyberattacks, it’s that most IT departments don’t take patching seriously. Cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities to attack companies that are slow to update. It’s vital to apply security patches and update affected products and services as soon as possible.
Patching, upgrading code, and bug-fixing are complicated sets of processes vital to enterprise security. If your IT team finds the entire process complex and time-intensive, it might be a good idea to sign up for services like Patch Management as a Service (PMaaS) or outsource to a managed service provider to keep your business secure.
5. Use Strong Password Protection and Authentication
In a highly distributed environment, we must all take steps to mitigate risk and avert lateral movement. One of the best ways to make it challenging for hackers is to always use strong passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Strong passwords are your first line of defense, while MFA is the second. It’s a powerful feature that goes a long way in preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data. If MFA isn’t deemed enough for your organization, you can also use it in combination with SMS/text messages, biometrics, and emails with time-based security codes.
Make strong passwords a company-wide policy. Encourage everyone in the organization to use strong passwords that follow best practices:
- Avoid words in the dictionary, use a passphrase instead
- Always use longer passwords of at least 15 characters (the longer and more complicated, the harder to breach with a brute force attack)
- Avoid using memorable keyboard paths like “qwerty”
It also helps to use password managers, especially if you have many to keep up with. Password managers can also help auto-generate strong passwords for you and keep them encrypted and only accessible with a master password known to you.
Stay Tuned for Part 2!
In the second part of this blog post, we will learn more about additional cybersecurity best practices like endpoint protection, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions, and much more.
Can’t Wait to Protect your Enterprise?
Feel free to engage our cybersecurity specialists with your questions and concerns. Or, to learn more about our cybersecurity technologies and services, contact 2NDGEAR at info@2NDGEAR.com or call us at (866) 841-1679 with your questions or request a cybersecurity assessment by clicking the button below.