In a piece of recent news, the US National Security Agency (NSA) warned Microsoft Windows users to make sure they are using updated systems to guard against cyber-attacks. Considering that cyber-attacks are now everywhere and are impacting every sector, NSA’s worry may hold significance. This is especially true for older systems.
According to Fortinet Q1, 2019 Quarterly Threat Landscape Report cyber-attacks have moved away from being indiscriminate ransomware attacks to more targeted attacks. Attacks included a diverse range of target companies across chemical manufacturing to metallurgy to engineering.
Cybersecurity or information technology security is the use of certain practices and technologies to safeguard data, devices and networks from unauthorized usage. In this internet age, everything is digitized and online which means it is vulnerable which is why cybersecurity is an absolute necessity. Be it at an individual, corporate or government level, implementing practices to protect data against cyber-attacks has become mandatory.
When it comes to larger organizations, the importance of cybersecurity is even more significant. The government and corporations collect immense amounts of data which is all sensitive. This data is sent across networks through various devices and can, at any point, be hacked. There can be serious repercussions, including loss of money or database or market share. To prevent this, cybersecurity measures are usually set in place. There is no single process or program that can protect data from all kinds of attacks which is why a series of steps need to be taken.
The backbone of Cybersecurity
People, technology and processes form the backbone of cybersecurity. While the people at an organization need to stay updated with newer on updates on software, technology helps enterprises in a big way in fighting cyber-attacks. The two groups when work in a coordinated manner form the process.
There should be a process for everything from predicting vulnerabilities to dealing with cyber-attacks to recovering from them. A documented process should be put in place that specifies what steps need to be taken and when to take them. These processes need to constantly evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats.
Challenges Against Cybersecurity
The major challenge for efficient cybersecurity is, in fact, the ever-changing landscape of cybercrime. The variety and style of attacks keep changing and it is not possible for corporations or governments to keep up with them. Organizations need to have an adaptive and pro-active approach to cybersecurity which mainly refers to continuous monitoring. According to the guidelines by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a data-focused approach with real-time assessments should be incorporated to combat the growing weed that is cybercrime.
So what are the best cybersecurity practices to follow for enterprises?
Here are some answers:
1. Biometric security
It is very important to verify a person’s identity before granting access to any kind of facility or data. There are multiple ways to do so including palm biometrics, facial recognition, gait analysis, behavioral biometrics, voice recognition, among others. These methods are a lot more secure than passwords, pins or SMS verification.
2. Data encryption
Encryption is extremely necessary for this day and it doesn't matter how big or small a business is. It means converting the data into code which can make it useless for people outside the workplace. To access the data, employees should have the proper credentials and automated logouts should be put in place. This will automatically log out the user from the client in case of inactivity.
3. Backup data
It might be an obvious step but is a necessary one. Having a complete and recent backup of data can help against ransomware and other types of cyber-attacks. The backup should be encrypted and stored in secure locations. It should be frequently updated and the responsibility to take backups should be divided among multiple employees.
4. Setting access restrictions
An employee at a certain level or role should have limited access to data or functionality of a software, allowing access to only the parts that specifically pertain to their job. Only the administrators should have complete access to the tool or the network.
5. Monitoring privileged users
When access restrictions are implemented, it becomes easier to monitor the employees that have complete access to the functionality of a software or network. The administrators should be in a limited number and employee user activity monitoring should help keep track on their activities. The organization should also make sure that the accounts with high-level access are immediately deleted as soon as the employee ends his contract with the company or is terminated.
6. Employee awareness
All employees should be aware of the need for cybersecurity, which should be part of the training sessions or regular meetings. The staff should know what steps to take in case of a cyber-attack to minimize its impact. In certain situations, a lot of damage can be averted if the first responder takes the correct steps.
7. IoT security
IoT devices have gained popularity and established themselves in today’s industries. They are present in people’s homes, offices, schools, hospitals and several other locations. In a modern workplace, a lot of equipment is on a network which means skilled attackers can gain access through them as well. End-to-end encryption is one way of safeguarding data in this situation. These IoT devices should require proper authentication for access and a scalable security framework should be implemented.
There are a lot of necessary steps that enterprises need to take to ensure that their data is safe. While some companies hire third-party cybersecurity contractors, others rely on their own systems. Whatever the method, being vigilant is extremely important and necessary. Companies and businesses should keep cybersecurity at the highest priority and in today’s digital era, many of them are indeed following these steps to fortify their networks and data.