Cybersecurity affects the everyday lives of most IT practitioners and IT leaders worldwide, with more than 50 percent of them citing “Improving IT Security” as a top priority in 2021 as per our 2020 IT Operations Survey Results Report.
Today, cyberattacks hit businesses on a daily basis, forcing IT professionals to constantly deal with more sophisticated threats. To keep their infrastructures safe from varied attacks, IT teams must implement more than a single security measure.
Here are a few steps your organization should take to improve its cybersecurity posture.
Fundamental IT Security Measures
Some basic measures IT teams can undertake to keep their IT environments secure are:
Automated Software Patching
While three-fourths of IT Practitioners worldwide regularly scan their servers and workstations for operating system patches, only 58 percent apply critical operating system patches within 30 days of release. Moreover, only about 45 percent have automated patch management. Patching ensures that IT systems are up to date and protected from cyberattacks that exploit known software vulnerabilities.
Automated patching, though not utilized by enough organizations, is of critical importance. It takes the drudgery out of the software patching process, automates scans for patches and makes sure your systems are up to date with the latest security patches. It handles patch management complexity and eliminates points of failure by ensuring that you don’t miss a critical patch or overlook machines that need patching. Automation helps ensure that critical security patches are applied in a timely manner as well. It’s time IT teams embrace the benefits of automated patch management and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities in their systems.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
If you are an IT professional, you know how important it is to backup your critical systems so that data can be recovered in the event of a system failure due to a natural disaster, bad update, malicious cyberattack or other issues.
As noted in our Technical Priorities for Today’s IT Practitioners – 2020 IT Operations Survey Report, almost all the IT Practitioners surveyed (90 percent) back up their physical and virtual servers. In addition, most of the IT Practitioner respondents (about 80 percent) stated that they have a formal business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan approved by management in place, which is good news.
IT teams must have a proper BCDR plan in place to ensure that they can recover enough data and system functionality that will allow their business to continue operating.
Another area that IT professionals should be looking at is SaaS application data backup. SaaS apps have recently become the new attack vector for cybercriminals. A recent report revealed that 59 percent of ransomware attacks where the data was encrypted involved “data in the public cloud, including cloud-based services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.” But only 33 percent of IT practitioners worldwide backup their sensitive SaaS data. IT professionals must come to terms with the importance of backing up SaaS data.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a login verification process that adds a second layer of authentication to users that access your IT systems. It requires users to provide a password (something they know) and a mobile app or token (something they have). This token is ever-changing and is an easy method of keeping hackers from infiltrating systems through the use of stolen or hacked user credentials.
Dark Web Monitoring
Most IT professionals are aware of the Dark Web – the online home to many illegal activities, including the buying and selling of personal data and login credentials. Highly sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII), are being sold on the Dark Web. Your information could be on the Dark Web right now. That’s why it’s important to monitor the Dark Web to be aware of stolen credentials so you are in a position to take measures to protect against cyberattacks.
This brings us to the more advanced measures organizations can take to up their security game.
Advanced IT Security Measures
Email Phishing Protection
Email phishing is one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to steal confidential information. It involves the use of emails that look legitimate but are actually sent by hackers to make unaware users click on malicious links or download malicious applications that then gives the hackers access into their systems.
In 2020 alone, phishing attacks have risen by 667 percent since the pandemic began.
IT teams can implement tools, such as Graphus, that automates phishing defense and uses patented AI algorithms to detect and quarantine suspicious emails.
In addition, it’s important to train your employees in security awareness so that they become the first line of defense against phishing and other types of cyberattacks.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
EDR specifically involves the detection of malware and other threats to your endpoints as well as finding ways to respond to these threats. EDR solutions are next-generation endpoint security solutions that analyze endpoint data for suspicious behavior and block malicious attacks. These are tied to endpoints rather than the network as a whole.
TechTarget defines SIEM as an approach to security management that combines SIM (security information management) and SEM (security event management) functions into one security management system. It enables organizations to collect network logs and analyze them for security events. SIEM solutions provide real-time alerts on applications and network hardware, which allows IT teams to take action to minimize the impact of a security event.
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR)
A SOAR solution uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to consolidate security data from various sources such as firewalls, SIEM solutions, intrusion detection systems, user behavior analysis, etc., and enables IT teams to execute automated responses in case of a security incident.
SOAR platforms are highly advanced and are known to detect anomalous network activities, isolate the affected components and repair damages, all in near real time.
The past several years have seen a wave of new cybersecurity technologies emerging. These include hardware authentication, user behavior analytics (big data analytics), deep learning technologies and more.
But how do you decide which cybersecurity measures and solutions are relevant to your business needs? Conduct a security assessment of your organization. Know your cybersecurity limitations, challenges and stumbling blocks.
You can do this by using our IT Security Assessment Tool. You can also download our checklist 10 Tips to Improve IT Security that gives you a detailed list of things to do to build a robust cybersecurity strategy for your business.