15 Nov 5 best practices in a great cybersecurity strategy
5 Best-practices to be central to your cyber security strategy.
A cyber security strategy should include a good number of elements, but the five crucial elements that a highly-effective cyber security strategy should include are: data management, personnel awareness training, thorough access control, ongoing monitoring and an end-to-end incident response plan with clearly defined responsibilities and actions.
Cyber threats are a concern for all organisations irrespective of their size. The repercussions of a data breach or cyber attack are often devastating, spanning from financial losses to reputational damage.
A strong organisation-wide strategy is crucial to safeguard your data and digital assets. Following are the 5 best practices to feature in your organisation’s cybersecurity strategy.
Regular Cyber Awareness Training
Usually the weakest link in a business’ cyber defence is the human element. Cyber criminals exploit human error or lack of know-how to access systems and get their hands on sensitive data. In this day and age, it is imperative that all your employees follow regular cyber awareness training. Done in class or online via a dedicated e-learning platform, employees will be guided and informed about topics such as social engineering, phishing scams and strong password policies. By empowering your staff with cybersecurity knowledge, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of successful attacks.
A robust access control element in a cybersecurity strategy is key. Access to sensitive data, like financial data or customer data, is a central aspect of cybersecurity. Authority levels, access rights and user account management are extremely important pillars of access control. Access reviews should be regular, due to new joiners and leavers, and changes in employee responsibilities. Access should be role-based and strong authentication methods such as the use of MFA are to be imposed. Effective access control ensures that even if an attacker breaches your perimeter defences, they will not have free reign over your entire network.
Regular Software Patching and Updates
Outdated software and operating systems are often riddled with vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can easily exploit. To prevent these vulnerabilities from being used against you, it’s crucial to maintain a strict patching and updating regimen. Continually scan for vulnerabilities, carry out vulnerability assessments and pen tests, run automated patch management scripts and keep an up-to-date software inventory of all the software applications in your organisation’s environment. Open source software is commonly the main target for cyber attackers. In addition, ensure all licences are renewed on time. By staying current with software updates and patches, you can close potential entry points for cyberattacks.
Incident Response Plan
No cybersecurity strategy is one hundred percent foolproof, so it’s essential to have a well-defined incident response plan in place. The plan should outline the steps your organisation will take in the event of a cyberattack or data breach. Following are the salient points in such a plan: Identification of incidents, Classification of incidents by severity and impact, containment and eradication, recovery and lessons learned. Always deep dive and analyse the incident to improve future responses. The plan needs to be well communicated throughout the company. Having a robust incident response plan can minimise the impact of an attack and help your organisation recover more quickly.
Data Encryption and Backup
Protecting your data is paramount. Data encryption and regular backups are essential components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Data needs to be encrypted both in transit and at rest. In the unfortunate event of unauthorised access, it will remain unreadable and personal identifiable information will not be extracted by hackers. Regular backups will, moreover, ensure that data could be recovered if an attack on the organisation is successful. It is key to store backups securely and test reinstatement periodically.
Never see cyber security as a one-time effort. It is an ongoing process that requires constant vigilance and adaptation. Learn More how you can improve your organisation’s cyber security.