Small Changes to Your Operations That Will Significantly Improve Your Security Posture

Crafting and implementing a robust cybersecurity policy can be a daunting task for many business owners. A good MSSP can help you create policies that are tailored to meet your needs, help you identify weaknesses in your defenses, and learn from any incidents that do occur.

To help protect your digital assets, here are a few small changes you can make to your operations.

Adopt the Right Mindset

Good cybersecurity is not just about following checklists; it’s a state of mind. For any company to maintain a secure organization, they need to cultivate a healthy attitude towards cybersecurity. Like all company-wide initiatives, good cybersecurity has to come from the top. Everyone in your organization, from the C-suite downwards, needs to understand the importance of security, receive proper training, and understand why cybersecurity best practices need to be followed. 

If the leadership at an organization isn’t working hard to champion the change, it is incredibly challenging to create a culture where cybersecurity is more than just a checklist. Cultivating the right culture at work also helps employees understand that cybersecurity is essential at home as well as at the office. If you can impart on your employees the importance of cybersecurity wherever they are, they are more likely to form good cybersecurity habits that they carry with them back to the office. To help cultivate this mindset, make sure employees are aware of potential cybersecurity incidents that could impact them personally, such as the recent Capital One breach. Make sure to include information on what your employees can do to protect themselves.

Train Your Staff

Your employees are your first line of defense against cybercriminals. They are also the most likely target of an attack. Organizations and businesses need to take the time to train and educate their employees about current threats, how to recognize them, and what to do if they encounter something suspicious. 

It is also imperative that employees understand how the business could be impacted if they click on a malicious link or accidentally reveal their password. Unless employees understand the underlying reason for cybersecurity measures, and the potential consequences for the business if these procedures are ignored, they won’t fully appreciate how important it is for them to remain vigilant. 

Run Audits

Even the best of us make mistakes or miss things. Vulnerability scans, pen tests, and configuration audits can help your organization identify weaknesses in your current defenses so that you can update your current cybersecurity policies to address them. Pen tests involve hiring an ethical hacker to attack your defenses and take note of any vulnerabilities they were able to exploit to gain access. Once the test is complete, the hacker shares this information with you and helps you reinforce your defenses against malicious attacks.

Communicate Effectively

Cultivating a positive cybersecurity culture is only part of the equation. Employees need to be kept in the loop and reminded about the important cybersecurity role they play within your organization. Regular updates and reminders about your cybersecurity policies, and information on who they should contact if they suspect something suspicious is going on are imperative. 

You should also remind employees to create strong passwords (section 5.1.1.1 of the NIST Digital Identity Guidelines can help you and your employees choose strong passwords) and to change these passwords frequently. Employees should also be taught to be skeptical of suspicious emails and phone calls, and how their web surfing habits can compromise both your organization’s cybersecurity and their own. You should also consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), which typically has users enter a password and then has them verify their identity using their phone. This added layer of security can be added to many websites or accounts and should be explored.

Limit Administrator Privilege

Administrator privileges should be reserved for the few employees that actually require them. Too many organizations allow employees to retain local administrator status on their personal computers, which enables employees to easily install programs without needing elevated privileges. 

Removing administrator access helps limit the possibility of an employee inadvertently downloading a malicious program, and can shield your organization from drive-by attacks. Drive-by use compromised webpages to download malicious software onto your machine, often without you even realizing it. 

Segment Your Network

Proper network segmentation can help limit the damage if a cybersecurity incident does occur. By compartmentalizing your network, you can help contain malware and limit access to cybercriminals that are able to breach your defenses. To help segment your network, make sure that printers, employee wireless networks, guest wireless networks, servers, and departments each have their own segment. This way if one segment is compromised, the rest of the network is protected, and damage can be contained.

References

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/29/business/capital-one-data-breach/index.html

https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63b.html#memsecret

https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/padlock-icon.html

https://www.nist.gov/itl/tig/back-basics-multi-factor-authentication

https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/drive-by-download.html