11 best practices for managing organizational proactive cybersecurity threats during these high-intensity times
As global conflicts have been unfolding overseas, organizations in the United States need to be on high alert for the cybersecurity threats that have been recently surging. It’s important to take a proactive approach by preparing as if your network systems, devices, applications, or data were to be compromised today or tomorrow.
With that being said, here are 11 best practices you can deploy to protect your business against the influx of cyber aggression.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Starting at number one, keep your identity management system thorough by turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all applications. Enforce all employees to do the same through your access management software or by communication campaigns. This security layer will be extremely valuable in the event anyone’s credentials are compromised.
- Ensure Endpoint Protection is Up and Running
Next on the list, make sure that all controls designed to protect endpoint devices and your users are installed AND fully updated. This includes antivirus software and application control tools with whitelisting and blacklisting functionality. Additionally, utilize URL filtering as a way to keep your employees off of potentially harmful websites.
- Review Incident Response Plans
Evaluate your current incident response plans and go over the standard procedures in the event a cyber attack is successful. Make sure that all personnel understand their specific roles during this process and that any kinds of automated system response tools are up and running.
To prepare for the absolutely worst-case scenarios, also review disaster recovery and business continuity plans to ensure the financial impacts of a breach are mitigated. Lastly, collaborate with all high-ranking leaders at your business to establish a uniform approach to your crisis management strategy.
- Activate Geo-Location Blocking
There is a very high likelihood that a cyber attack attempt on your business will come from Russia or parts of Eastern Europe. Therefore, now is a good time to use geo-blocking technology as a way to reduce risk by limiting system access based on the physical location of the IP address.
- Continuously Monitor System Access Logs
This best practice for Proactive Cybersecurity starts by understanding what is “normal” then seeking out any anomalies you find. 24/7 monitoring of your network system, endpoints, and applications will let you promptly respond to potential threats. If you use an endpoint detection and response (EDR) software for continuous monitoring, make sure it’s up-to-date on it’s capabilities.
For those that use a managed detection and response (MDR) service, be sure to stay in communication with the service provider about ways to improve your system visibility. Any and all data you collect from access logs will be useful to the machine learning tools used and improve your security during and after these attack waves.
- Patch Current Software and Applications
Since a majority of all software updates are security-related and focus on fixing vulnerabilities in the application’s system, make sure you have procedures in place to keep all business applications patched and up-to-date. It’s highly recommended to utilize the automatic update features that are available for most software tools.
- Run a Vulnerability Analysis
Just as software providers find vulnerabilities in their applications, you should run network vulnerability scans to find any potential gaps in your security that could be taken advantage of by a cyber criminal. While these types of evaluations are critical for current susceptibilities, you may also find weaknesses you’ll want to address after the cyberwarfare has calmed down a little bit.
- Keep Password Management Policies Up-to-Date
Because many cyber attacks are rooted at acquiring system or application credentials, make sure your organizational password management policies are robust AND being enforced. There needs to be a focus on password design and password storage security. It’s also wise to avoid using unproven password management tools or auto-storing passwords on a device despite the convenience it offers.
- Conduct Additional Awareness Training
In accordance with some of the Proactive Cybersecurity practices we recommend, keep fresh knowledge in the heads of your employees by educating them on things like password management practices, how to use antivirus, their individual incident-response roles, and the basics of configuring and using MFA. There also needs to be awareness training specifically on the rising threats we are seeing from the global conflicts.
For instance, phishing scams were and are currently commonly used to deliver malware and ransomware. Therefore, re-teach your employees how to detect a potential phishing scam and discuss the importance of steering clear of clicking malicious links and disclosing credentials to a spoofed web page.
- Deploy Network Security Resources
Upholding your business’ network security is essential due to the lateral damage that can be done once a threat actor has access. For reinforced security, verify that your firewall is up and configured properly to deal with unauthorized traffic. Make sure your access management control system has strict and well-defined rules as to what users and devices can enter your network.
Additionally, ensure there is proper network segmentation by grouping data and technology assets by job functionality. This makes it extremely challenging for criminals to bypass internal boundaries while keeping potential incidents well-isolated to certain “segments.” Lastly, make sure remote employees are only using trusted Wi-Fi sources when accessing company data, applications, and network systems.
- Make Sure Data is Backed Up
Last but certainly not least on this list, check to confirm your data is or is going to be backed up at an external source. For cloud-based systems, it likely is doing this automatically by the service provider or host. If you incorporate any type of on-premise environment, have the data secure and ready to access on another drive at the site.
Stay Ahead of the Curve with Ascension Global Technology
Although this highly-chaotic situation may seem overwhelming, implementing these Proactive Cybersecurity best practices can improve your current security posture and let you rest a little easier. Contact our experts today for guidance on your security-enhancement initiatives and be sure to check in on our blog for more up-to-date content on how to protect your business in these trying times.