The Importance of Cyber Security Infrastructure Hygiene

The importance of network security and its early undertaking is something most businesses are aware of. Yet, what is often dismissed is the fact that maintaining a cyber security infrastructure is an ongoing responsibility. But only if defense systems and practices are continually evolving as threats are. Your organisation becomes at risk once a point of complacency is settled on. Relying on an outdated cyber security infrastructure leaves you unable to address concerns before they become crises.


This is particularly paramount, as small and medium sized businesses have some shortcomings which make them ideal targets for cyber-crime. Many haven’t done a risk assessment to identify possible points of attack and take stock of what assets can be exploited. Web domains, PCs, company secrets, login credentials, etc. may go unprotected in comparison to corporate counterparts.


Smaller businesses may not see themselves as ‘worth’ hacking, but targeted attacks are increasing against SMEs. The following are some important cyber hygiene considerations for now and the future.


The importance of updates

Antivirus software, for example, is a common component of a security plan, but unfortunately it automatically outdates itself. Thus contributing to the obsolete softwares that are responsible for the 9.3 per cent malware infections of non-domain computers.


Fortunately, the false sense of security that comes from running expired software is a very straight-forward problem to fix. Some updates can be loaded to a central console and set to sync to the definitions server automatically. If dealing with computers that have applications preventing changes such as public browsing terminals, machines must be unfrozen and updated individually.


Even though it's a time consuming task, do not let this preside over crucial maintenance. You can easily budget for the time and regularly schedule the work. And while it is not enough to use SIEM alone, applications defending the perimeter of your network by scanning for threats that fit its stored list of definitions is still a valid tactic. It’s known that they are good at deflecting many known bots and known threats, but only if software is updated.


Employee buy-in is essential

Network security is not only a matter of an organization’s software, but users also play an important role in keeping the business secure. Email servers can be a floodgate for trouble if not managed properly. Malware is often the first step in a hacker’s plan in getting a foothold into a victim’s network, for example through phishing.


Once an initial error has occurred, the whole system is compromised. To prevent this, it must be ensured that employees are using secure email servers with strong password settings. But most importantly, a culture of encouraging personal responsibility for individual email accounts should be a priority. As well as implementing protocols for evaluating unusual emails and rules against account sharing should be consistently enforced.


Like human hygiene, organizations must maintain regular cyber hygiene for healthy outcomes. But it’s critical they don’t neglect the tools and processes that mitigate cyber risk—the most serious threats to our security.

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