The risk-based approach to cybersecurity is more prevalent then it ever has been, and for good reason. Rather than blindly piecing together a cybersecurity strategy, organizations are trying to address cyber risk more foundationally. This entails identifying risks that are unique to the business and addressing them with proper security controls. While the exact nature of these controls will vary by organization, broadly speaking, there are several ways every business can be effectively managing cyber risks. They include the following:
Deploy Best-in-Class Cybersecurity Tools
Set-it and forget-it cybersecurity still has its place, but only if it actually does everything you need it to. A strong all-in-one solution should provide:
- Active protection against viruses, spyware and rootkits.
- Firewall and web filters.
- Easily accessible reporting for network traffic, protection status and more.
Ideally, this solution would be lightweight enough to run in the background, but powerful enough to be comprehensive in its protection that it actually saves IT staffs’ time.
Create Best Practice Policies, Test Them
A written cybersecurity policy is a critical component of cyber risk management.
Organizations need to start implementing written security policies that all employees are expected to abide by. These don’t have to be Draconian measures, but they must be thorough enough to adequately address employee-introduced risk. Furthermore, they need to be explained to employees to be effective. Handing them a dense manifesto outlining cybersecurity protocols is hardly the best way to raise awareness.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, verify the efficacy of these policies by testing them. Get creative here. Maybe send out a simulated scam once every few weeks to identify how well employees are adhering to certain guidelines, or host a quarterly cybersecurity trivia event that puts employees’ knowledge of best practices up against each other. In a nutshell – educate employees, execute your cybersecurity policies and evaluate their effectiveness.
Implement Strong Patch Management
Nefarious innovation is second nature to hackers. If there is a single line of bad code in an application, they’ll find it, and they’ll exploit it. It’s for this reason that zero-day threats attacks have steadily increased in the past few years. Critically, it’s also the reason that patch management is a key part of managing cyber risk. Failure to run the most recent iterations of software can precipitate intrusions that cause financial or reputational harm to your organization.
In some cases, white hats will identify the zero day first. This is lucky, but once the threat is out there, you’re in a race against hackers; patch your systems before they can exploit them. Make sure that you have a patch management setup that lets you do this.
Keep Computers in a Frozen State
Wherever possible, organizations should try to keep local drives in a frozen state. This is beneficial because it helps prevent configuration drift. More importantly, in the event of a malware intrusion, a system restart will be all the remediation you need. Even persistent remote access Trojans will be eradicated.
For this to be possible, organizations need a way to create special drive partitions where critical data can be saved. Alternatively, a business can integrate local drives with cloud storage space so documents can automatically be saved to the cloud drive rather than locally on a computer. This can help limit the number of endpoints that a hacker might use to sneak into the network. In this way, IT staff is effectively limiting the number of risky endpoints in its computing environment.