Threats evolve nearly every single day. Companies that don’t stay on top of their cybersecurity needs are automatically vulnerable, making them prime targets for attackers and increasing the amount of damage that can be done before a threat is mitigated or eliminated.
Luckily, staying fit in 2019 doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are five ways to get started.
1. Implement a SIEM Tool
If you don’t have a Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) tool, you need to get one ASAP. SIEM reporting capabilities are incredibly robust, making them ideal solutions for compliance requirements and spotting potentially malicious activity.
Whether you want to streamline reporting and access to data (ensuring distributed systems are monitored, and various IT teams can review the logs), have zero-day threat detection in place, located advanced persistent threats (APTs), or complete thorough forensic investigations, an SIEM tool is a must-have.
2. Use MFA on All Systems
Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a necessity if you want to prevent unauthorized access to systems. Since more than one authentication method is required to verify credentials prior to a user being given access, you significantly reduce the likelihood of unwanted entry.
MFA creates a layered form of defense around key systems. If a single factor is overcome by attackers, they have to contend with at least one more barrier, making breaching systems significantly more time-consuming and challenging.
Since many corporate systems are interconnected, using MFA on all systems should be seen as essential. Otherwise, an attacker may breach a system that isn’t as well protected, use it to access the network or other assets, and ultimately gain access to the areas you were most hoping to safeguarded.
3. Use Secure Email and Communication Methods
Companies across the country rely heavily on email and communication platforms, including collaboration software, to handle a wide range of business. Without encryption, more than just the content of messages is at risk; your network could be vulnerable too.
Encryption makes it difficult for attackers to read intercepted messages, including content that could hold sensitive information about internal systems or personally identifiable information (PII). There are a variety of solutions that can integrate with existing systems, and some solutions offer it along with the core email service. Often, this makes encryption fairly easy to add, and it’s a step that should always be taken.
4. Make Cybersecurity Training for Employees Mandatory
Your employees represent a vulnerability when it comes to breaching your system. If they are not aware of current threats, techniques attackers may use, and how to handle a potential attack in progress, they may make it easier for attackers to infect or gain entry into your system.
By making cybersecurity training mandatory for all employees, you ensure everyone is properly informed. Not only will they be more adept at identifying threats, but they will also know what to do if they see something suspicious.
5. Participate in a Third-Party Compliance Audit
By going through a third-party compliance audit that aligns with one of the core cybersecurity frameworks – like SOC, NIST, or ISO – problems and shortcomings are more likely to be spotted. Often, companies and their IT personnel are somewhat blind when it comes to finding certain issues in their own systems, typically because they interact with them on a daily basis.
When you partner with a trusted third-party, you gain access to a fresh set of eyes. They may find shortcomings that you’ve overlooked, giving your company a chance to enhance their level of security and remain in full compliance.
From the IT implementation perspective, there are a few other moves that are smart additions if you want to stay ahead of the security game. For example, by estimating your budget for next year, you can plan for needed changes, updates, or enhancements you’ll need in the future.
Similarly, reviewing your current hardware and firmware allows you to identify where upgrades or updates are needed, ensuring you don’t overlook something critical. By creating a road map for architectural changes each quarter, you also make remaining prepared as easy as possible.
Also, stay apprised of your support contracts and monitor renewal and expiry dates. Otherwise, you may find yourself without a critical service as an inopportune time or forced into a more expensive arrange merely because you weren’t proactive.
Finally, consider your anticipated IT workload over the course of the next year or two. This allows you to estimate your staffing needs in advance. By doing so, you can initiate recruitment efforts at the right time, supporting full productivity.
Brian Baker, Executive Director at TetherView