A Strategic Approach to Cyber Security in 2022

Sep 19, 2022
Cyber Security

In today's digital landscape, organisations are custodians of vast amounts of sensitive data, making them prime targets for cyber threats. Robust cyber security policies are essential to safeguard not only the organization but also its employees and the invaluable data they hold. These guidelines are crucial to prevent unauthorised access to information stored on various devices such as servers, databases, the cloud, and workstations.

Understanding the Threat Landscape

As cyber incidents surge, organisations face probing and attacks from diverse threat actors, ranging from lone wolves to nation-state actors. Among the predominant threats is ransomware, a malicious program encrypting data and rendering it unusable until a ransom is paid. Before delving into protective guidelines, understanding these threats is paramount.

Top Threats to Organisations

  1. Ransomware: Modern ransomware is often undecryptable, making regular data backups a potent defence.
  1. Phishing: Campaigns involving deceptive emails or luring individuals to scam websites, with spear phishing targeting specific organisations.
  1. Virus/Malware: Malicious software that can self-replicate, infect legitimate systems, and result in information leakage.
  1. Insider Risks: Malicious or inadvertent damage by legitimate users with privileged access.

Bolstering Cyber Security Defences

To fortify cyber security defences, organisations can implement various strategies, including:

  • Improved Staff Training: Enhance staff awareness through training programs.
  • Conduct Audits: Regularly assess preparedness levels.
  • Devising Attack Response Plans: Develop comprehensive plans for incident response.
  • Review Industry-Specific Legal Requirements: Stay abreast of regulatory changes.
  • Up-to-date software Licensing Agreements: Ensure compliance with software licenses.
  • Fostering a Culture of Caution: Encourage vigilance regarding unusual online activity.

Key Cyber Security Measures

  1. Access Control
    Access controls safeguard organisational assets by permitting only specific, authorised individuals to access information. Implementing automated access approval processes, scrutinising access through monitoring devices, and maintaining compliance with data retention policies are essential.
  2. Baseline Configuration
    Establishing a baseline configuration—ensuring all systems comply with security controls—is vital. This baseline must be maintained and updated regularly and involve collaboration among different organisational groups.
  3. Communications Security
    Protecting cyber communication from host to destination is crucial. Policies, procedures, and tools must be deployed to ensure end-to-end encryption and protect against malicious actors.
  4. Information Sanitisation and Destruction
    Protecting data in transit, at rest, and in use involves practices such as safe disposal, archiving, sanitisation, and secure destruction of data-carrying mediums.
  5. Operational Security
    Implementing the principle of least privileges, staff rotation, and the two-eye principle (requiring at least two individuals for critical operations) are essential for operational security. Background checks, credit reports, and timely revocation of access when an employee leaves are also imperative.
  6. Security throughout the Asset Life Cycle
    Introducing security measures throughout the asset life cycle, from procurement to safe destruction, is crucial. Incorporate security in each phase, including threat modelling during the design phase.
  7. Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery
    Disaster recovery
    must be managed by an authorised employee, undergo regular checks, and include a secure backup of critical data and infrastructure. A complete annual disaster recovery exercise is essential.
  8. Incident Response
    Incident response involves identifying incidents, implementing corrective measures, promptly restoring systems, and using gathered data for future prevention. Align incident response policies with industry or governmental standards.
  9. Monitoring and Auditing
    Continuous monitoring and auditing detect internal and external threats. Automated tools, such as SIEM solutions, aggregate logs to proactively identify indications of compromise or threats.
  10. Awareness and Training
    Ongoing security awareness training for employees is vital. Assess current levels, formulate training based on identified gaps, and ensure all employees receive mandatory cyber security training, including vendors and contractors.

The Long Game of Cyber Security

While the scope of online threats may seem overwhelming, organisations must recognise that cyber security is a cumulative effort. There's no magic bullet, and education is key. To aid in understanding and implementing cyber security, download our comprehensive checklist today.

Cyber security is everyone's responsibility, and a strategic, layered approach is essential for protecting vital business data.

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