Cyber hygiene is a regular practice that helps organizations secure the security infrastructure against unauthorized access. Consistency and discipline in these practices will ensure robust protection and minimizes vulnerabilities.
Regular cyber hygiene is essential for device maintenance and data security. Maintenance is critical for computers and software to perform efficiently. Data files will likely become fragmented while programs become outdated, maximizing the vulnerabilities. Therefore, these routines are essential to spot and prevent future issues. Here are a few best practices to enhance cyber security and establish a sound security infrastructure.
Practice Using Strong Passwords and Control User Permissions
Users utilize simple, identical, and easy passwords for accounts. Cybercriminals can quickly enter the network if simple passwords protect the account. At the same time, the attack becomes more intense when the same passwords are used for all the accounts. To ensure solid protection, passwords must contain a combination of alphanumeric, uppercase, and special characters for each account. Simultaneously, users must ensure the password is at least 8 to 10 characters long. A password manager can be utilized if a user needs help remembering the passwords.
As per a recent report by World Economic Forum, “The Global Risks Report 2022“, 95% of cybersecurity issues occur due to human error. Therefore, assigning user permission prevents threats since employees are given default roles per their job roles. This allows businesses
to manage the viewer and editor working with the data across the organization.
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Deploy Multifactor Authentication (MFA) and Secure Network Firewall
MFA utilizes multiple tokens to verify the identity when an account needs to be accessed. MFA constrains unauthorized logins if the passwords are stolen. Cybercriminals plan targeted attacks to steal data or disrupt the network. A secure network firewall provides a primary line of defense against these threats. It houses security policies and obstructs connection to questionable IP addresses on ports. Furthermore, businesses need a network server to secure the databases against upcoming breaches.
Utilize Anti-Malware Programs and Keep the Operating Systems Updated
One of the poor cyber hygiene practices is using the device without a virus and malware protection program. Malware infections lead to data loss, hardware damage, and identity theft. As per a recent report by Thales, “2022 Thales Data Threat Report“, 56% identified malware as the common cause of accelerating attacks. Most devices are now pre-installed with anti-malware programs that regularly scan the devices for rogue applications and data. Rapid detection and prevention of malware allow businesses to stop the threat inflicting the network and save costs.
Furthermore, software and operating systems will likely contain vulnerabilities allowing hackers to exploit. These attacks can be avoided by regularly updating the software and operating system with a security fix. Cybersecurity teams in the organization must release patches when such vulnerabilities are discovered. While the users install many applications, businesses need to set up a software auto-update to minimize the risks of potential threats.
Employ a VPN, Regularly Backup the Data, and Employ a Cyber-Security Framework
Employees often utilize unprotected public Wi-Fi connections to exchange files and data. Cyber-attackers often target public Wi-Fi networks to steal valuable information. Therefore, it is necessary to install VPNs on the devices. It protects privacy and safeguards data and files, encrypting data transmission. It also conceals the IP address of attackers.
Saving copies of the files on an offline drive or the cloud allows businesses to recover the saved data in case the device is compromised and ensures minimal data loss.
Furthermore, businesses must implement and review a more powerful system like the NIST framework to ensure robust security.
NIST provides superior and unbiased protection. It enables long-term cybersecurity and risk management, bridging the gap between technical and business-side stakeholders. Additionally, it offers flexibility and adaptability of the security framework.
Be Aware of Phishing Mails and Conduct Regular Checks on the Current Security Posture
Cybercriminals have become sophisticated in tricking users into sharing confidential information. They utilize social engineering attacks like phishing emails to steal crucial data. These emails appear like an average email that seems to have been received through a close acquaintance, making them hard to detect. Hence, one critical practice in cyber security hygiene is carefully accessing emails. Users must stop clicking the attachments or links unless the source is confirmed. Businesses need to train their employees about the current phishing tactics. Additionally, an email scanner can come in handy, which verifies links and files sent in the email.
Furthermore, the cybersecurity landscape rapidly changes and necessitates a robust response to threats and vulnerabilities. Hence, businesses must stop relying on traditional hygiene practices to fight new attacks. Conducting a thorough security audit is essential to understand how the businesses’ security posture is exposed to external threats. These insights allow businesses to establish an adequate cyber defense plan. Companies need to hire appropriate security auditors to assess vulnerabilities and strengthen digital assets.
Also Read: Thousands of websites hijacked through compromised FTP credentials
Analyze the Current Equipment and Programs
Analyzing the current equipment and programs will allow businesses to find and detect vulnerabilities. Unused equipment should be discarded, while old software and applications need to be updated. Only the dedicated software programs and applications should be chosen per businesses’ requirements. Therefore, when multiple software is utilized, one should be retained primarily, while the other should be called in as a backup.
Effective cyber hygiene practices protect the business data and client information and keep the devices running well while safeguarding against ransomware and malware. It also locates mismanaged assets and tracks unauthorized software on a system. At the same time, businesses need a dedicated cybersecurity expert who can handle cyber threats and ensure good hygiene practices. Additional steps like documenting the organization’s hardware components, software programs, and cloud-based applications give a baseline for the businesses for IT environment analysis.
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