There are two key trends happening in today’s networks the c-suite executives need to be paying close attention to. Aside from network security, the first is that IT teams are struggling to keep up with digital transformation demands, including the move to multi-cloud infrastructures and services, the rapid adoption of IoT networks and devices, BYOD and a highly mobile workforce, and the growing number of shadow IT services popping up in their networks. The second is the alarming growth of increasingly automated attacks that are consistently and successfully targeting known device, application, and network vulnerabilities.
The reality is that these trends are related. The unprecedented rate of digital transformation that is consuming your IT resources has also led to basic network and device hygiene becoming the most neglected components of your security posture. And it shows. The biggest attacks of 2017, from Petya to the Equifax breach, all targeted vulnerabilities for which patches had been available for weeks or months. In fact, a full 90% of organizations recorded exploits for vulnerabilities that were at least three years old. Which means that good cyber hygiene still needs to be a fundamental best practice, and is a key to ensuring that your organization’s network is kept secure.
But it can be hard to prioritize. Let’s take a look at where to start and what the most important steps are to take.
One method for prioritizing is to understand what vulnerabilities are most likely to be targeted. Knowing the kinds of vulnerabilities attackers probe for the most can help determine which assets require prioritized patching. Effective IT teams use computer security reports and then ask pointed and important questions, like “Have we seen these alerts?” and “Do our scans detect these vulnerabilities?” Then make managing those vulnerabilities a top priority on any controls you’re using to protect your cyber assets.
It also helps to understand that successful attacks have a higher probability of recurring. Which means that whenever a breach makes the news, look at its attack vectors and check to see if you that same exposure exists in your environment. If so, make it a priority to reduce that exposure or eliminate it altogether.
To really get ahead of vulnerabilities, find out in advance where you need to strengthen your defenses by conducting a risk assessment. The goal of a risk assessment, according to ISACA, is to understand your existing system and environment, and identify risks through analysis of the information/data collected.
NIST’s recent Criticality Analysis Process Model describes “a structured method of prioritizing programs, systems, and components based on their importance to the goals of an organization and the impact that their inadequate operation or loss may present to those goals.”
You should start by gathering all relevant information. Begin with a full inventory of your physical assets, including network infrastructure, laptops/desktops, IoT, data management systems, and other connected devices. This also needs to include IT support Fayetteville NC solutions deployed, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network monitoring tools.
Next, catalog all of the applications and services running in your network, including Shadow IT. You should also understand what information is available to the public about network components, individuals and their roles, applications, and services.
Most of this information can be gathered automatically using a variety of tools, such as a SIEM solution.
Finally, you need to cross-reference all of this information against compliance requirements that define minimum security controls as well as any documented or even informal policies, procedures, and guidelines.
After this information is gathered, a number of tasks need to be performed, including:
Only then can you begin to develop and update your existing risk management and security technologies and strategies.
There is an incredible urgency for organizations, especially those undergoing digital transformation, to reprioritize security hygiene and identify emerging risks. However, as the volume, velocity, and automation of attacks continues to increase, it is also becoming increasingly important to align patching prioritization to what is happening in the wild so you can better focus your limited resources on the most critical and emerging risks. A risk assessment of your environment will help you to combat today’s new normal. Start by using the best practices outlined above to help you create a flexible security strategy that can adapt and protect even as the threat landscape continues to evolve.
You can read important takeaways in the full Global Threat Landscape Report. Also, view our video (above) summarizing valuable data points from our most recent report.
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This byline originally appeared in CSO.
Synchronized network security allows you to layer your defenses and stop malware in its tracks, no matter where it is in your environment. It’s not easy to live in the age of information and modern technology. Your sensitive and critical data is susceptible to cyberattacks and it may even get corrupted or stolen. A lot of small businesses as well as middle market organizations have become victims of external attacks and because of that, resulted to lost data. Loss of important information can harm the company and destroy your business’ reputation, especially if you failed to set up preventive measures against cyberattacks.
Just like all the physical assets of a company are crucial, in the same manner, the digital assets are important too. So, here are seven tips to boost the network security of your business. Keep in mind that prevention is so much better than cure.
You may protect the network of your company by setting up a foolproof, strong, as well as a network security policy that is clear. A policy is comprised of written regulations involving the rights of users in terms of accessing a network as well as what limitations and privileges different employees have. The policy will outline essential data and creates an emergency plan, too.
Don’t Use Weak Passwords
This is included in the core guidelines of network security Fayetteville NC. It is a fact that a complex and strong password is crucial. In case you are using an easy to remember and weak passwords, you can just say goodbye to the digital assets and information of your company. So, you should enforce the need for complicated passwords, which should be made of lengthy and different characters, and have them changed every 90 days so that the complexity will continue.
Update Your Software
A bugged or broken software is one of the easiest methods that potential hackers use to get access to your data. Therefore, updating software such as the operating system, antivirus, drivers, firmware, can help prevent cyberattackers from launching an attack on your network system. Aside from that, the security settings on your software must match with the policy of your network security.
Set Up A Firewall
A firewall is a specific device that can prevent unauthorized access to your company systems and it also filters out any unwanted intruders from getting access to your data. Likewise, it also helps in block any malicious program from getting into your system such as Trojan horses, viruses, malware, keyloggers, and etc. You should install a hardware and software based firewalls too so that risks of hackers who are trying to access your network are minimized. So, be sure to update your firewall regularly.
Block Unwanted Installations
If users download a software or program that is related with their kind of work, the installed is done by network administrators using their credentials. However, in a few organizations, users could download and install software freely and that could lead to a disaster. This due to the fact that many employees may not be able to differentiate a safe website from an unsafe one.
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