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7 Steps to Reducing Cyber Risk: Enhance Your Online Security Today

Introduction

In celebration of Secure Our World, the theme of 2023’s annual CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, we want to increase awareness of the importance of maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture.

In today’s digital landscape, where cyber threats constantly evolve and attackers grow ever more sophisticated, it is critical to have a solid cybersecurity strategy that results in a strong cybersecurity posture. Understanding and managing cyber incidents is a crucial part of this strategy. Headline-making incidents such as the Solar Winds attack or the Equifax data breach showcase the importance of staying vigilant and implementing robust security measures to protect your data, finances, and reputation. Cyber risk management is also a critical component of a strong cybersecurity posture.

In this blog post, we’ll outline seven simple actions that you and your team can readily implement to significantly enhance your business’s cybersecurity posture. By following these steps, you can fortify your defenses and secure your valuable assets. Join us, Cyber Defense Group, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in celebrating Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and make this October an impactful one for your organization’s journey towards fostering a culture of resilience and a more secure future in the face of evolving threats.

Strengthen your cybersecurity posture

NIST defines cybersecurity posture as “The security status of an enterprise’s networks, information, and systems based on information security resources (e.g., people, hardware, software, policies) and capabilities in place to manage the defense of the enterprise and to react as the situation changes.”

Let’s break that down.

Cybersecurity posture is the overall strength and resilience of your company’s cybersecurity defenses, both in preventing attacks and responding to them. It encompasses a variety of factors, such as policies, procedures, technologies, and employee awareness, that all work together to protect your business against cyber attacks. Having a strong cybersecurity posture is vital to protect your company’s most valuable data and build trust with your clients and stakeholders.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top seven relatively small things that you can do today to improve your business’s cybersecurity posture.

ONE // Implement strong passwords and a password manager

The first step to improving your business’s cybersecurity posture is to implement a strong password policy. Weak passwords are the easiest way for attackers to gain unauthorized access to your systems and steal sensitive data. Encourage your employees to use strong passwords that include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Consider implementing a password manager tool to help your employees generate and store complex passwords.

Fortunately for your business’ pocketbook, there are some FREE password managers that are worth considering. Check them out here and keep your passwords safe without spending a dime.

TWO // Enable Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) everywhere

Another easy way to enhance your business’s cybersecurity posture is by implementing two-factor authentication wherever possible. This instantly adds an extra layer of security to your login process, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your systems. Major business applications such as Google and Microsoft already come equipped with integrated multi-factor authentication (MFA), allowing you to effortlessly activate this security feature. So, just turn it on.

Another thing to note is that not only is multi-factor authentication (MFA) the key to getting cyber insurance these days, but new MFA standards can actually lower your cyber insurance premiums. However, before applying for cyber insurance, remember to conduct a thorough security assessment to identify any existing vulnerabilities. For insights into the latest authentication trends, I recommend checking out the “State of Authentication Report 2023” here.

THREE // Update your software, implement regular updates

Make sure your business is up-to-date with the latest patches and software updates. Conducting regular cyber risk analysis helps in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities through these updates. Unpatched software leaves your system vulnerable to cyber threats that can exploit system vulnerabilities. Regular software updates will ensure that your systems are protected against newly discovered vulnerabilities.

We recommend real-time asset register tools, like Axonius or Rapid7 or patch management software. You can also find a fantastic list of FREE cybersecurity services and tools from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Check out their suggestions here. It’s like hitting the jackpot, but without spending a dime! So go ahead, level up your security game with these amazing resources.

FOUR // Achieve secure employee behaviors through employee training

Educating your employees on cybersecurity awareness is critical to your business’s cybersecurity posture. Cybersecurity risk management should be an integral part of your employee training programs to ensure ongoing, organization-wide awareness and proactive measures. Implement a cybersecurity awareness program and regular training sessions to raise awareness of common attack techniques, such as phishing, malware, and social engineering. Ensure that your employees know how to recognize suspicious emails and avoid clicking on suspicious links.

“In 2022, 82% of data breaches were “a result of employee behaviors that were unsecure or inadvertent,” making it clear that the human element is a prominent contributor.” Gartner

Research from the USENIX says, “It is recommended that enterprises hold cybersecurity awareness training every four to six months. At four months after initial training, employees are still able to spot phishing emails, but after six months, they start to forget what they have learned.”

Back up your data to prevent data breaches

Regularly backing up your data is another easy step you can take to improve your cybersecurity posture. This ensures that your business doesn’t lose critical data in the event of a cybersecurity incident or a hardware failure. Make sure your backups are stored off-site or in the cloud to protect them from physical damage or loss.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for effective data backup, it is recommended to follow the 3-2-1 rule. This rule suggests keeping three copies of any important file: one primary copy and two backups. Additionally, it is advised to store the files on two different media types to safeguard against various types of hazards. Following these guidelines can increase the likelihood of successfully recovering lost or corrupted data. For more details, you can refer to the NIST publication [here].

Implement a firewall: Enhancing network security against cyber attacks

If you’re not well-versed in firewall implementation, there’s no need to make things overly complicated. Incorporating security controls, such as firewalls, is a simple way to bolster your business’s cybersecurity stance, thwarting unauthorized access and blocking malicious traffic from infiltrating or exiting your network. The complexity of implementing a firewall can be reduced by breaking the process down into smaller tasks and seeking assistance from experts (like the CISA) or managed security service providers if needed.

If you’re looking for reliable recommendations on firewall providers, I highly recommend checking out the Gartner Peer Insight reviews. You can find a comprehensive analysis of various network firewalls and their performance here. This valuable resource will help you make an informed decision and choose the right firewall solution for your specific needs. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your network security!

Regular cybersecurity risk assessments to identify cybersecurity risks

To ensure the comprehensive security of your systems, it is of utmost importance to regularly perform cybersecurity risk assessments. These assessments play a critical role in identifying potential risks, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses that might exist within your infrastructure. By evaluating and analyzing your system’s security posture, you can proactively address any potential threats and take necessary measures to mitigate them effectively. Embracing structured approaches such as Compliance Operations methodology and risk management frameworks can significantly enhance your cyber risk management initiatives. Managing cyber risk as a strategic business function requires proper resource allocation, strong governance, and alignment with other initiatives such as compliance.

To ensure comprehensive protection against cyber threats, it is highly advisable to consider engaging a professional cybersecurity provider. These experts can conduct thorough cybersecurity risk assessments tailored to your business needs, identifying vulnerabilities and implementing robust measures to safeguard your valuable assets and sensitive data. By using various key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure cyber risk, including assessing and remediating risks, you can enhance your resilience against evolving cyber threats and maintain the security of your business operations. Implementing effective controls to mitigate risks associated with third-party engagements and cyber incidents is crucial.

Contact us today to learn more and secure your business. Contact us today.

Don’t wait for a cyberattack to compromise your organization’s information security. Conduct a risk assessment today and take the first step towards a more secure future. Utilizing the NIST Risk Management Framework as a key tool for managing cyber risks can provide a structured and effective approach.

Remember, cybersecurity is a team sport. Cybersecurity is not just about preventing threats but also managing them effectively when they occur. Start your risk assessment journey today and build a robust risk management strategy that maintains complete visibility and implements effective strategies to keep your business safe.

You need a comprehensive cybersecurity program.

Cybersecurity Posture Management

Developing and maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture is of utmost importance for businesses of all sizes. It is crucial to implement the best cybersecurity practices to effectively safeguard against the ever-evolving cyber threats. By incorporating these seven small yet impactful measures, you can significantly enhance your business’s cybersecurity posture.

Taking these proactive steps will not only protect your business from potential cyber attacks but also demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding your customers’ data and maintaining their trust. Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and continuous improvement is key in staying ahead of the ever-evolving cyber threats.

Additionally, Gartner summarizes three key points to reduce cyber risks:

  1. Rethink the security technology stack to address sophisticated new threats.
  2. Push cybersecurity decision making out to the business units to improve your security posture.
  3. Evolve and reframe the security practice to better manage cyber risk.

For more information and resources on cyber defense, please visit the following relevant pages:

Remember, staying proactive in your cybersecurity efforts is key to protecting your business and its valuable assets.

Seek a strategic partner to enhance your business’s cyber risk management.

Looking for a partner you can rely on in your journey to a more mature cybersecurity posture? Look no further than Cyber Defense Group! We stand as your dedicated in-house cybersecurity team, armed with top-tier expertise and resources.

Reach out to Cyber Defense Group today and discover how we can elevate your cybersecurity posture and establish a robust strategy for your business. Don’t let cyber threats hold you back; let’s secure your future together! Contact us today to learn more about how our cybersecurity as a service can provide the protection your business needs.

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