In our last two blog posts, we discussed how to “OWN IT” and “SECURE IT.” Today, continuing our National Cybersecurity Awareness Month series, Be Cyber Smart – Part Three focuses on the theme “Protect IT.” These tips cover how to strengthen cybersecurity at the heart of your network … where cybercriminals can do the most damage.
OWN IT. SECURE IT. PROTECT IT.
Protect IT … Cybersecurity Steps to Battle-Harden Your Network Environment
We always wondered if it was intentional to schedule National Cybersecurity Awareness during the same month as the “fright” of Halloween. Nevertheless, there’s real pressure on IT staffs everywhere to keep their network environment secure and protected. Here are some preventive cybersecurity measures that can keep attackers at bay. The more layers of defense you incorporate, the better!
Monitor Like There’s No Tomorrow
Proactively monitoring network environments around-the-clock is the rule, not the exception. Since cybercriminals never sleep, neither should preventive countermeasures take a break before they strike. Be Cyber Smart with purposeful cyber monitoring and threat protection.
- Understand what’s happening on your network. Full network visibility with actionable threat intelligence is key to monitoring traffic flows so you can respond to alerts in a timely manner. You want to quickly flag and suppress cyber exploits in real-time before threat actors can disrupt operations and compromise data.
- Stop attackers in their tracks. Early-warning detection helps identify patterns of suspicious activity indicating a possible threat. This is especially important with remote workers and bring-your-own-devices linking to your network. Blocking malicious network traffic begins with actionable threat intelligence monitoring all perimeters, internally and externally, to limit exposure.
- Minimize weaknesses in your network. Cybercriminals often rely on human error – people neglecting to install software patches or not regularly performing vulnerability scans – to gain access to systems. Secure your network with regularly scheduled software patching to stay up to date and ensure corrective action responses are current with best practices and industry standards.
Build an Ironclad, Multi-tier Defense
Cyber risks are growing exponentially with attacks getting more sophisticated and targeted. Whether from opportunistic criminals or nation states, a multi-layered defense is imperative to distinguish between the good guys and bad actors. Be Cyber Smart with security protection monitoring all endpoints – on-premise, the cloud, remote users and mobile devices.
- Holistically identify patterns of threats. You can’t protect what you can’t see! Work with a managed service provider to implement a centralized Security Information and Management (SIEM) capability that that delivers real-time visibility and continuous monitoring of your network. It will help analyze security events with correlated event and log collection to identify and contain cyber threats that violate pre-defined policies.
- Update firewalls for advance protection. Next-generation firewalls are much more intelligent than previous generations of firewall technology. They typically bundle traditional firewall protection with intrusion prevention, antivirus and protocol filtering, giving you granular visibility and control by IP address and individual user from a single console.
- Know your infrastructure weaknesses. Don’t wait for a breach or ransomware attack to discover gaps in your security defenses! Regularly conduct vulnerability scans to detect issues in your network, applications and devices before it’s too late. Be proactive to patch software and insecure configurations that threat actors can exploit.
Prepare for Outages and Natural Disasters
Disasters occur in many forms – data breaches, ransomware, power outages, natural disasters and equipment failure. Be Cyber Smart to minimize downtime with responsive data backup and recovery capabilities.
- Test your backups regularly. It’s important to test complete restoration against many simulated hardware, software and service failures. Know how much downtime is acceptable for your organization … a few hours or a few minutes. Establish recovery point and recovery time metrics for acceptable restoration parameters that fit your organization. For example, if you only backup data once a day, would losing 12 hour’s worth of business-critical data be acceptable?
- Minimize the impact of unplanned downtime. Response time is critical in the event of an outage or cyber event. Ensure you can recover your entire network environment as well as single-file recovery. Backups should be stored in a secure environment disconnected from your network to eliminate ransomware lockup or compromised data. Use an encrypted internet connection to transfer data to and from a secure data center.
About The Author
Mike Penn joined Magna5 as Senior Content Developer. His role is to bring to life stories that inspire or inject clarity in how managed services and emerging trends can be applied to help organizations operate better and more efficiently.