In today’s business world, the innovations of bad actors are constantly evolving as they devise new ways to breach defenses, and the potential for human error remains high. Add to that the increasing number of devices connected to your network, and it becomes imperative for you to do all you can to protect your company’s hardware, software and networks against internal and external threats.
Organizations that manage, store or transmit sensitive customer data of any kind need to be even more careful. Developing and implementing a cybersecurity strategy that takes your business’s mission and resources of all types into account should be one of your greatest responsibilities.
Components of Cybersecurity Strategies
Your security team, hardware, software, network and protocols combine to form a complex web that must be carefully constructed, monitored and maintained. Cybersecurity strategies are put in place to help meet these needs. As you might expect, they require buy-in from many sources, including top management and department heads. Because security is so vital to every facet of a modern company’s survival, protecting it should be an all-hands-on-deck proposition.
The Facets of Cybersecurity Strategies
Anyone who has been in business for any length of time knows the importance of putting policies and protocols into writing. By releasing a tangible set of information and guidelines, you can ensure that all stakeholders, both employees and third-party contractors, know what they need to do, the time frame in which they must do it and to whom to report problems or questions. In addition to the written protocols, any practical cybersecurity plan should contain the following elements:
- A set of procedures ensuring that all device software is consistently upgraded and all patches installed. Since this task often gets neglected, it is important to delegate it to a specific person or team.
- Vulnerability management. No matter how vigilant your security team might be and regardless of the quality of your risk analysis, you still need to use automated IT scanning programs that work 24 hours a day to protect your systems from threats and alert your team should a suspected system glitch or data breach be found.
- Regularly replace cameras and other hardware. Because switching out your entire set of IP cameras all at once could prove to be financially draining and time-consuming, aim to replace about one-fifth of them every year even if the old models still seem to be working fine. Legacy systems eventually reach a point where they cannot be upgraded anymore, thereby potentially leaving them open to attack.
- Pay attention to supply chain security. Just because the security products you purchase appear new does not mean that they might not have been interfered with before reaching you. Therefore, it is important to implement practices that enable you to learn the trajectory of products and ensure the security of all vendors they encounter before arriving at your door.
Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, many device manufacturers now build technology such as secure boot features, signed firmware and trusted platform module (TPM) into their products. These tools are effective ways to ensure that bad actors do not access the hardware or code.
Practical Cybersecurity Actions You Can Take
Now that you understand the general structure of a cyber security strategy, you might be wondering what concrete actions you can perform to bring it into being IN YOUR LANDSCAPE.
The following suggestions can provide a framework for a comprehensive threat detection, monitoring and remediation system:
- Provide security training to all employees in your organization. It should include clear descriptions of the practices and procedures you have put in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data you manage. Instruction should also cover online behaviors and proper use of passwords. Finally, be clear about the penalties people will receive if they fail to adhere to these standards.
- Guard against viruses and other malicious code. Protect all networks and systems with anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, making sure to keep them updated.
- Set up a firewall to monitor network traffic and prevent unauthorized access to your servers. Firewalls should be installed on all computers used in your company, including staff laptops.
- Back up all critical data on a regular basis.
- Control physical access to computers and network systems. Only give administrative login privileges to those who truly need them, and keep company laptops locked up.
- Protect your Wi-Fi networks. Hide them from public access by setting your router to mask the network name or Service Set Identifier (SSID). Also, be sure that encryption is turned on so that all users must enter a password to gain access.
- Give each employee a separate account, and require everyone to safeguard it with a strong, unique password that is changed at least once every three months.
In order to guard against and prepare for the possibility of data breaches and other catastrophic events, cybersecurity strategies are a necessity. Criminals never stop their efforts to compromise your network. It is crucial that your team, armed with this set of protocols, has every possible counter-defense at your disposal to repel them.