Cyber Hygiene: What You Need to be Aware of

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Every business, regardless of the service they provide, needs to take cyber security seriously. There are no two ways to go about it.

And there is one question that is always in our mind.

“Why would an attacker target me?”

Interestingly, people who get hacked tend to have thoughts along the lines of either “We are 100% secure” or “I run a small business, and I have nothing valuable for them”.

And for those who still believe so, the analytics of small-to-medium-sized businesses, being the favorite target of hackers from script-kiddie to state-sponsored would make sense.

According to a Symantec report, businesses with less than 250 employees have been the target of 36% of all targeted attacks in recent years.

Understand How Vulnerable You Are

 

The first step toward being secure to your best knowledge is to understand how vulnerable you are.

And if you are seeking the perfect solution for this question, improving application security by conducting periodic penetration tests as much as possible would be the answer, no matter what security implementation you have already implemented.

The vulnerabilities can be a small (careless) piece of code you have, outdated dependencies, or the vulnerable devices in your product or organization.

Even if your organization or specifically the network is not directly affected by the attack, you could have been a part of the cyber-attack propagator without your knowledge.

This occurs because of self-propagating botnet attacks that take every available network in their path and wreak havoc indiscriminately, as well as hacks that utilize your company as a launchpad to a larger target.

 

Find the Suitable Solution

 

The next step after analyzing the vulnerability is to determine how to patch all of them (or at least the maximum of them).

For that, you must prioritize the risks in your business and implement the remediation according to the advice of the security team.

By means of prioritizing, you may follow the format of vulnerabilities that affect the most sensitive data, which violates PCI-compliant credit card data, HIPAA-compliant health information, and any other data covered by regulations relevant to your organization.

Also, the applications and the devices which are connected to your network must be scanned. This is often neglected and gives a clear roadmap to your network for the bad actors.

You will better understand your attack surface once you have classified all vulnerable network elements.

Implement the Solution

 

The central part is to analyze the vulnerabilities by embracing a shift-left approach to security. This can be made easier with a suitable tool that will help you to pinpoint the vulnerable parts of code and other dependencies.

The next proceeding is to resolve the vulnerabilities with suitable patches. This is an important part neglected by most organizations when they hear about the cost of patching.

Organizations tend to forget that the cost of fixing or recovering from a cyber incident is remarkably high compared to how much you would have to spend on proactive remediation.

For outdated dependencies, updating to the latest version would be the perfect solution. When it comes to the code, it would be perfect to synchronize the developers with the expert suggestions from the security team.

Beyond that, it is always a promising idea to educate your fellow employees and create a cyber security policy that all employees must follow.

This policy should include not only what solutions should be used, but also best practices like creating smart passwords and spotting phishing emails.

If dealing with all these issues on your own is not feasible, you can hire cyber security consultants or managed services providers, but make sure to read the service-level agreements you sign with either of those parties to understand exactly what they will provide and what you will be responsible for.

Conclusion

Following cyber hygiene practices is never a one-day thing, and it is always a continuous process of finding vulnerabilities and patching them.

There is no excuse for the same since there are numerous educational resources and best application security software available in the market.

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