Locking down IT security weak links is crucial to protect your organisation from potential threats and vulnerabilities. It’s vital to the reputation and day-to-day running of your business that you keep your organisational assets safe because cyberattacks can affect businesses of all sizes, when you’re least expecting them.
We have put together some practical steps to help you improve your cybersecurity and protect your vital assets.
Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
Make sure you use strong passwords on smartphones, laptops, tablets, email accounts and any other devices or accounts where personal information is stored. The National Cyber Security Centre recommends using three random words.
Where possible, you should consider using multi-factor authentication, which requires at least two separate forms of identification before access is granted, for example, a password and a one-time code which is sent by text message.
You could also consider biometric authentication. Fingerprint scanners and similar devices are popular, albeit expensive choices.
Keep all software, operating systems and applications up-to-date with the latest security patches: vulnerabilities in outdated software are often exploited by attackers. By applying your perimeter tools to the inside of your network, you can enhance your security posture.
If you’re already using vulnerability assessment tools for your internet-facing services, start by scanning your most critical servers, such as internal email, web and directory servers, then prioritise other systems and scan them in order.
Establish centralised log management and restrict access to sensitive data and systems based on the principle of least privilege (PoLP). Only grant permissions that are necessary for employees to perform their roles. For example, payroll or HR may need to see workers’ personal information, but your sales staff won’t.
Employ detection tools
Install anti-virus and malware protection and keep it up-to-date. Anti-virus software can help protect your device against malware sent through a phishing attack, for example.
New technologies mean that email attacks are becoming more sophisticated and a phishing email could appear to come from a source you recognise. Look out for signs such as bad grammar, demands for you to act urgently and requests for payment.
Back up your data
Perform regular backups of critical data, and ensure that backups are stored securely and can be restored if needed in the event of a breach or data loss. Make sure your back-up isn’t connected to your live data source, so that any malicious activity doesn’t reach the network.
Don’t keep data for longer than you need it. Getting rid of redundant data will free up storage space and there will be less personal and confidential information at risk if you suffer a cyberattack or data breach.
Firewalls and intrusion detection systems
Sensitive information can be shared from your organisation through email, printed copies or instant messaging. Intrusion detection system (IDS) can help identify and block suspicious activity.
Today’s network infrastructure generally has many entry points, from local headquarters, remote offices and mobile devices. Deploy firewalls to filter incoming and outgoing traffic, which should be installed at every entry point to your network. As companies embrace infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) models, which operate in the cloud, the network perimeter is not so defined. Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) is an affordable, efficient, and scalable solution.
Endpoint devices such as laptops, desktops and mobile devices are becoming prime targets for virus, malware and ransomware attacks. Preventing these entry-point devices from being compromised by a malicious cybercriminal attack is vital for overall network security.
Using a combination of advanced security measures such as antivirus, anti-ransomware, phishing detection, end-to-end encryption, coupled with central SEIM security alerting, ensures the security of your endpoint estate.
The Securus Endpoint Protection Platform (EPP) allows you to fully manage endpoint security from a single, easy to use, cloud-based GUI. Every single endpoint device that has access to your corporate network is securely managed and maintained.
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secure
Using public Wi-Fi, or an insecure connection, could put personal data at risk. You should make sure you always use a secure connection when connecting to the internet. If you’re using a public network, consider using a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Penetration testing and vulnerability scanning
Conduct regular penetration tests and vulnerability scans to identify weak links in your systems and networks, assess their potential impact and determine the likelihood of exploitation. Then address any issues promptly to limit any damage caused.
Update your security policies regularly
As a minimum, your security policy should include procedures to prevent and detect misuse, as well as guidelines for conducting insider investigations. It should clearly spell out the potential consequences of misuse.
Make sure that your policy details the limits on access to and dissemination of personal data about your employees and others third parties who might be targets of investigations. Specify who is allowed to access what data, under which circumstances, and with whom they are allowed to share this information.
Ensure that your security measures align with relevant industry regulations and compliance standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA or PCI DSS.
User Training and Awareness
Invest in cybersecurity training and awareness programmes for your employees. Teaching them about phishing, social engineering and best practices for password management could prevent a security breach.
Insiders cause the vast majority of security incidents and can do the most damage, having intimate knowledge of network layouts, applications, staff and business practices. Employees can also unwittingly sabotage systems and create computer security threats. Simple mistakes such as clicking suspicious links in emails, apps or adverts can have serious and damaging consequences.
Your security may require direct employee monitoring. Web content filters are useful tools, since they can be set to block pornography, competitors’ websites and hacker tool repositories, all of which figure prominently in common insider security threats. In general, you can safely employ these as a matter of policy for all your workers.
Screen new employees thoroughly and have a process in place for securely deprovisioning access for employees who leave the organisation, or who may be absent for a long period of time, to prevent unauthorised access.
Secure your desktops
Lock your screen when you’re temporarily away from your desk to prevent someone else accessing your computer. If you do need to leave your device for longer, put it in a secure place, out of sight.
You can’t depend on users to be responsible for all their configurations, but if you’re using Microsoft’s Active Directory service, you can use group policies to lock down desktops across your enterprise. Group policies allow a security manager to set configuration details for the OS and its components (for example, Internet Explorer or Windows Media Player), as well as other apps. In addition, make sure access rights to network folders are applied on a strict need-only basis.
Dispose of old IT equipment and records securely
You must make sure no personal data is left on computers, laptops, smartphones or any other devices, before you dispose of them. Consider using deletion software, or hire a specialist to wipe the data.
Cybersecurity and attack prevention is an ongoing process. No security system is entirely foolproof, but by implementing these measures and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce your organisation’s vulnerability to security threats.
Please get in touch with the Securus cybersecurity experts on 03451 283457 to discuss your requirements.