5 Ways to Improve Cyber Security
It’s When Not If
The CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has said that it’s not a matter of if you’ll be breached, it’s a case of when - and it doesn’t matter what size of organisation you are, everyone’s at risk. It’s a ‘horses for courses’ scenario with ambitious criminals targeting the larger enterprises, and smaller bad actors happy to take easy pickings from SMEs.
The stats are alarming; according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses, 43% of small UK companies experienced a cyber incident in the past 12 months, with human error cited as the root cause of 80 - 95% of all cybersecurity incidents.
5 Key Areas
Against a backdrop of intensifying security concerns, we’ve identified 5 areas that will make your business safer, and provide peace of mind in the on-going war against cybercrime.
1. Security in the Workplace
Ensuring your employees care about cyber security is about more than the regular staff training done for compliance reasons, it’s about making the workforce a highly effective front line of cyber defence. Human error presents the biggest risk to organisations, and developing employee cyber awareness is the smartest thing you can do:
- Train and educate your staff using a range of techniques, many of which are now automated and fun, with employees having their own cyber risk scores.
- Implement a strong password policy, mandating at least 12 characters, including numbers, symbols and capitals.
- Introduce two-factor-authentication to make it harder for attackers to breach your infrastructure and systems.
- Limit employee access to only those systems and applications needed for their role.
Cyber Essentials is a government-backed certification scheme by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). It’s an accredited programme with two levels, Basic and Plus - designed to mitigate over 80% of threats. Certified companies are able prove to customers that their operations are formally accredited as trustworthy and secure.
The five technical controls applied to reduce risk are:
- Ensuring systems and software are up to date and secure, preventing cyber criminals from using vulnerabilities in your infrastructure and systems.
- Controlling use of data and services based on levels of access. Ensuring employees only have access to the data they need limits the risk of accidental and malicious damage.
- Secure, active, and effective firewalls must be in place to create a security filter between the internet and the organisation’s network and devices.
- Settings and systems should be configured correctly, with secure device set-ups to minimise vulnerabilities and the risk of exploitation by cyber-criminals.
- Systems must have adequate protection against malware and viruses, identifying and immobilising viruses and other malicious software before it has a chance to cause harm.
3.Data Back-up & Recovery
No security solution guarantees immunity from attack, and it’s likely you’ll be breached at some point in the future, so back-up and recovery capabilities are needed to protect your data and enable continuous working in the event of a breach.
- As a minimum, hybrid solution consisting of onsite backup and offsite cloud storage should be used. Quick recovery is possible using the onsite system and your data is secure and easily retrievable from the cloud.
- Highly effective recovery-as-a-service solutions with continuous data protection will provide business continuity by eliminating harmful downtime and protecting business-critical data. Disaster recovery and risk mitigation are brought together here, in an affordable and easy to manage solution.
- When calculating the amount of storage required for a backup, it’s important to include operating systems and applications capacity requirements in your total figure.
4. Threat Detection & Prevention
SOC and SIEM are highly effective measures to protect your organisation - by monitoring, detecting and preventing harmful attacks on your infrastructure and systems.
A Security Operations Centre (SOC) comprises a dedicated team of cyber security analysts and systems that proactively monitor your infrastructure - responding to incidents and providing 24/7 cover with out-of-hours peace of mind.
- Immediately detect and respond to threats and attacks on your infrastructure.
- Protect data held on systems and networks, allied to any back-up and recovery services.
- Enhance cyber resilience by identifying and responding to threats and breaches.
- Understand user behaviour - supporting and improving your technology evolution.
SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) software analyses data from multiple resources across your infrastructure, such as logs, network traffic, and user activity. It detects, investigates, and responds to potential security threats and compliance issues, alerting you when the rules are broken and collecting security data from network devices and servers.
SIEM systems provide a comprehensive view of an organisation's security posture, and they’re principally used to:
- Detect cyber security incidents by collecting logs from all data sources across the network and systems - triggering alerts from suspicious activity.
- Enable cyber security specialists and analysts to manage suspicious activity.
- Demonstrate compliance, as part of a robust security solution.
5. Update Applications & Remove Unused Software
Web browsers can become slow and unresponsive over time due to accumulated temporary files and cookies. Operating systems can become cluttered with unnecessary files, installed applications, and other data, leading to decreased performance, and system instability. These applications and services can act as loopholes in your systems, and are security risks.
You need to delete erroneous applications and user credentials associated with them to prevent hackers gaining access to systems and sensitive data. Software should be automatically and regularly reviewed and updated - as developers are constantly releasing new and patched versions, as they identify bugs and security gaps in the applications.
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