It’s no secret that cybersecurity is now a crucial concern for any organization, not only for bigger enterprises but also small businesses and even individuals. In fact, cybercriminals have increasingly moved their primary targets to smaller businesses because they perceive smaller organizations as more vulnerable.
As we know, damages caused by cybersecurity can be extremely severe and may cause long-term and even permanent financial and reputation damages. However, there are also various cybersecurity risk areas that are preventable. Here, we will look at them.
1. Network Security
Since virtually everyone is online nowadays, network security is a very important cybersecurity risk area to focus on.
Here, we should consider:
- Establishing multi-layer network security measures via firewalls. Proxies should be properly deployed when accessing any untrusted external networks.
- Use intrusion detection solution(s) to monitor network activities, and audit monitoring logs regularly
- Protect internal IP addresses at all costs, for example by utilizing VPNs to prevent any direct connections to external networks, especially untrusted external services.
- Conduct regular training and simulation exercises for cyber attacks, as well as penetration tests.
2. Monitoring Policies
A key cybersecurity area to focus on is to establish a monitoring strategy and define supporting policies. Policies should be defined and properly implemented according to the risk assessments previously performed.
This monitoring strategy should include:
- Monitor all networks and host systems involved in the business processes, including all servers and clients.
- With malicious bots becoming major threats in executing various attack vectors, implementing an automated botnet monitoring and detection system like DataDome is necessary to ensure autopilot and accurate monitoring of bot activities, as well as properly managing malicious bot activities.
- Network traffic should be continuously monitored at all costs, especially to identify unusual activities that could indicate attack vectors like DDoS or credential stuffing/cracking.
3. Risk and Incident Management
It’s very important to properly establish a governance framework to ensure proper risk and incident management practices throughout the whole organization. This will include:
- Make sure everyone from senior management to the lowest-level employees are on-board for the delivery of the risk and incident management plans
- Assign roles and responsibilities clearly in your risk and incident management plan. Regularly test your plans and adjust as needed.
- Regularly conducting training for all employees, and specialist training for the incident response team. Response team(s) should be properly trained so they are able to address various cybersecurity attack vectors that may occur.
- Make cybersecurity risk a regular agenda in board meetings. An all-encompassing security policy should be produced together to ensure senior ownership.
4. Human Factors
Even after the organization has implemented proper cybersecurity best practices and has invested in state-of-the-art security infrastructures, human errors are still one of the leading causes of various data breaches and successful cyberattacks.
As the old saying goes, your security is only as strong as the least ignorant person in your organization, and thus we should address the human factors risk area in implementing cybersecurity:
- Produce and communicate clear policies of how users can and should securely use the organization’s resources and systems.
- Include cybersecurity training when onboarding new employees, addressing personal security responsibilities, and cybersecurity best practices in general. Re-train existing employees as needed to accommodate the latest cybersecurity trends and newer threats.
- Encourage relevant employees to develop relevant cybersecurity and internal audit skills (including taking formal courses when necessary).
- Educate employees about phishing and social engineering attacks, how to identify them and how to prevent them.
- Make the practice of using strong and unique passwords mandatory for all accounts (not only business accounts but also personal ones.)
- Encourage employees to use VPN when accessing public Wi-Fi, and never access company networks and/or any apps that might reveal sensitive information when using public networks
Malware is the most common and arguably the most dangerous form of cybersecurity threats and can produce various damages from deleting/modifying files to stealing sensitive information.
A proactive approach is always the best approach when defending against malware:
- Produce comprehensive policies to identify and mitigate risks related to malware infection
- Invest in the latest anti-malware solutions, preferably those that offer AI-based behavioral detection rather than relying on a risk database. You should protect all host and client machines with proper antivirus/anti-malware solutions.
6. Remote Working
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing self-quarantine, remote working situations have become much more common. However, with remote workers accessing your company’s resources with potentially unsecured devices daily, cybersecurity risks are also elevated:
- Set up remote working policies that cover aspects such as encryption, device security best practices, user credentials protection, and incident reporting
- Educate users about cybersecurity risks in remote working, and train them to use their devices (including mobile devices) securely by following security policies defined above
- All personal devices should be properly configured to an agreed configuration. Data integrity and security should always be maintained.
Improper or inadequate access control is also a very important cybersecurity risk area to focus on. Attempt to manage and review all user accounts from creation, and don’t forget to delete accounts of those who no longer work in your organization.
- Limit user privileges for all users: only give authentication for data they absolutely need to perform their tasks. Review the requirement for a privileged account frequently.
- Monitor all user activities, especially access to sensitive data and the use of privileged accounts.
With various cybersecurity risks continuing to grow in complexity and quantity every year, understanding these risk areas is the most effective way in defending your systems and networks. With the potentially severe damages caused by cybersecurity threats, organizations should start treating the risks to their digital assets as they would to legal, financial, or operational risk.