Cybercrimes are continually on the rise, bringing more threats to organizations in the pandemic than before.
Statistics show that as early as March 2020, breaches in the USA ballooned by 300%. This is due to the greater security risk associated with remote working, prolonged cyber attack detection and response, and others.
Because of this increasing volume of cyberattacks, you can’t afford to take your security lightly. Tedious traditional defense methods and static, ineffective programs are not going to help either.
To bolster your current cyber safety status and maintain it in 2021 and the following years, you need modern, robust, and long-term security programs.
Check out these three powerful techniques for keeping your business safe from cyber attacks.
- Assess your security posture.
Your company’s security posture refers to the collective cyber defense stance of your data assets, networks, information security resources, and capabilities to manage your safeguards and respond to status changes.
Besides information and networks, these components and resources involve all your software, hardware, security policies, defense teams, vendors, and service providers.
Evaluating these aspects shows you your company’s current, overall security stance. It helps you plan your defense roadmap, including the next steps necessary to enhance or maintain it.
Security posture assessments involve measurements and calculations of your resources, level of visibility into your attack surface and asset inventory, degree of automation in your defense program, and more.
To begin assessing your security health, get an updated, accurate, and comprehensive inventory of all associated assets with these tasks:
- Classify assets by category, sub-type, purpose, location, and whether or not they are internet-facing
- Obtain detailed information, e.g., user accounts, status of open ports, services, and roles related to the asset
- Identify every asset’s business criticality
- Ensure all assets have up-to-date licenses and software and comply with security standards
- Select assets to be decommissioned due to being outdated or unused
You should also ask yourself questions such as:
- What data does our company collect?
- How and where do we store this information?
- Is this storage secure?
- How do we safeguard and record the data?
- How long does our team store this data?
- Who can access the information internally and externally?
Next, list your assets according to their level of vulnerability — from the least to the most at-risk. This lets you determine what to prioritize in your next corrective steps.
Finally, use security ratings to measure your defense posture. They are objective and quantitative, giving you a solid grasp of your cybersecurity health and actionable insights for your roadmap.
- Implement continuous security validation.
One of the most critical steps to maintaining cyber safety is investing in a continuous security validation platform.
These platforms concentrate on testing whether or not your cyber defense controls are functioning properly. It also involves identifying security system components that need enhancement or replacement.
Continuous security validation entails a practically ongoing process of defense control testing, as that phrase implies.
However, it does not necessarily mean that the method runs unceasingly each second of the day. Rather, “continuous” signifies a contrast to one-time-only or cyclical defense testing routines.
With continuous security validation, your tests do not end with only one or a few sets of trials and results.
You keep repeating this process to track your safeguard controls’ status constantly and proactively — instead of waiting for attacks to happen, infiltrate your systems, and reveal your weak defenses.
That’s another reason continuous security validation is critical. It lets you uncover security loopholes before cybercriminals do and exploit them.
It also empowers you to level up your defense position by assuming a persistent cyber attacker’s perspective.
These crooks unceasingly try breaking into your systems, so continuous security validation will help offer a robust counteraction.
One best practice to execute continuous security validation is following the MITRE ATT&CK model.
Be guided by the MITRE ATT&CK framework.
MITRE ATT&CK stands for MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques and Common Knowledge. This model is a curated knowledge bank and framework for cyber antagonist behavior.
It diagrams the different phases in the attack lifecycle, the channels cyber adversaries frequently target, and popular threats and assaults implemented.
It is also practical because it includes modern platforms, such as cloud-based systems (the model has a specific table for it).
Knowing all these things provides concrete guidance on how to combat cyberattacks. It also quickens you and your team to remain vigilant and proactive about securing your systems at all times.
- Establish a security culture with best practices.
Set in place a stable security culture that permeates all levels of your organization, trickling from executives down to all subordinates — whether they’re regular or contractual and part-time or full-time workers.
Doing so is among the top ways to avoid security breaches. It allows you to maintain a healthy posture and protect your data assets from risks and their far-reaching repercussions.
You can establish an effective security culture by consistently implementing best cyber defense practices — which include both elementary and advanced techniques.
Empower your IT security and risk management offices to spearhead this initiative (in partnership with your admin department) since they know best the intricacies involved in it. The executives can then support it and authorize any necessary actions and budget.
Below are some best practices to incorporate into your security program for a company-wide cyber defense culture:
- Create and enforce security-related policies and protocols, including penalties and disciplinary actions for violating them.
- Provide practical cybersecurity training for your executives and staff. Teach them to recognize fraudulent attempts (e.g., phishing, whaling, etc.) and install efficient reporting systems for these incidents.
- Centralize your SaaS management, preferably to your IT department. All computer and Internet-based applications must be listed, including their usage details, present versions, etc. Having one management team for it allows you to contain any security risk, ensure they are up-to-date and safe, and others.
- Encrypt sensitive data and communications, including passwords and addresses or locations for top-level files.
- Limit people’s access to various files and information. Authorize only those holding directly relevant positions, and regularly monitor if these people are still with the organization or not.
- Perform regular code and data backups, and update your firewalls and anti-virus software.
- Manage and restrict, if needed, employees’ bring-your-own devices and personal internet-connected communications at work or within the office.
Ensure maintaining your cybersecurity in 2021 and beyond.
Continuously bolstering your security should be among your company’s priorities if you want to remain operational and dependable in the years to come. After all, cyber adversaries are always on the lookout for vulnerable small and established businesses to exploit and steal from. With these measures, you can set up a long-lasting security strategy that protects your organization, reputation, and hard-earned customer trust and profits.