Top 10 Tips for Assessing Proactive Cybersecurity

Top 10 Tips for Assessing Proactive Cybersecurity

Hackers have advanced far beyond the catchy click-bait banners at the top of various websites urging you to finish a song lyric. Even if you think you have a great cybersecurity system in place, it’s no longer a matter of if you will become a target of hackers, but when. 

To maintain a trustworthy reputation with your customers, uphold high security standards and show value for your data, a proactive cybersecurity system is a must. Just as the U.C. Berkeley Information Security Office says, “cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility,” and it is up to you and your developers to create a safe and resilient plan.

What is a cybersecurity risk assessment?

A cybersecurity risk assessment urges an organization to consider their business objectives and identify the key vulnerabilities that would put those goals at risk. The risk assessment will make obvious the gaps of your security system that are not protected or weak compared to other areas. This process can help stakeholders and security resources make better decisions for reducing risk, and where or how to implement changes. 

There are three components of risk assessment to check off:

  • Technology
  • Policy 
  • People

Technology comes first on this list because it will be your greatest defence against an attack, and your greatest tool for recovering if a breach does occur. 

Policy needs to be enacted to help organize teams in the case of an attack. Your risk assessment and cybersecurity policy should outline: 

  • Current programs.
  • Firewalls and storage.
  • Tiered list of personnel access.
  • Updated budget.
  • Risk assessment frequency. 

The third point of this list, people, is also your most vulnerable. Not only should everyone in your organization understand the risks and consequences of a cyberattack, but they should know how to avoid one as well. According to Verizon's 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 85% of breaches surveyed involved a human element, meaning there was some type of error or interaction that needed to take place for the breach to happen. 61% of the breaches involved compromised login credentials. 

Performing risk assessments on a regular schedule supports consistency in data security, as opposed to delays and deprioritization that can lead to increased vulnerability.

10 tips for assessing your cyber security risk

Getting a sense of your cybersecurity practices and implementing proactive methods can help keep your business in compliance with federal and state regulations as well as avoid costly data breach recovery. A proactive security approach to data safety can help your teams back up information in secure cloud storage and recover more quickly after an attack. 

To help you develop a risk assessment plan, here are 10 tips to get started:

1. Schedule automatic device software updates

Keeping your operating systems up to date is crucial for high-performance security. Operating system updates help to address any bugs or security holes, so enabling automatic device software updates can save you time and worry. 

2. Update antivirus and/or antimalware

Protecting against viruses is, of course, key to avoiding a breach. Updating your anti-malware can help your teams identify when suspicious activity occurs. The two work together to detect and protect against malware.

3. Implement network segmentation and segmentation protocols 

Network segmentation separates a network into its own components that work as their own micro-network. This method helps improve security monitoring and localizes technical issues.

4. Secure all incoming and outgoing data flow

Internal and outbound firewall rules can protect information coming in and out of your network against malware, disallowed connections and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. 

5. Use a layered cybersecurity approach

The key to proactively securing your data is creating a layered approach to back up all of your information into several different components. A range of approaches can help prevent adverse effects of only relying on traditional security practices, such as a firewall and antivirus solutions.  

6. Implement real-time data backups 

If you back up your data in several different components, in real time, then repairing your information after an attack by erasing and reinstalling your system will feel less like a worst-case scenario and more of a welcomed reset to the system. The key is using technology, such as IBM Storage, that will automatically back up your data in specified time increments. 

7. Deploy an intrusion detection system

Examining network flows manually can quickly become time consuming and complex. A vendor neutral intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) can be deployed for real-time monitoring 24/7 across any device. IBM’s IDPS security can integrate with any of the major systems, like McAfee or Cisco. 

8. Define access control policies

Define how information can be accessed, who should be granted access and how much information is shared depending on the access level of the person retrieving the data. Deploy certain sign in requirements and tired controls to better manage your data security against everyday human mistakes. 

9. Integrate cybersecurity training and awareness

As mentioned previously, human error is among the most common causes of data breaches. Making cybersecurity training and awareness part of your onboarding process or leading a yearly all-hands training efford can greatly decrease the probability of mistakes in the workplace. 

10. Secure an endpoint security framework for all work computers

Employees are working remotely or in a hybrid environment more than ever before. While the past two years taught lessons on utilizing SaaS products to communicate and collaborate remotely, securing endpoint security across all employee computers will put a final wall up against cyberattacks. Manufacturers and software developers like Microsoft offer endpoint security solutions like Azur to easily deploy a robust security framework. 

Why IBM Storage is your proactive cybersecurity solution 

IBM Storage can help touch on almost all of the points listed above to improve your proactive cybersecurity. Storage optimizes IT infrastructure automatically for a comprehensive and resilient hybrid cloud and enhances AI and data projects by centralizing all of your infrastructure onto one robust system. Using IBM Storage can reduce security complexity through storage solutions that modernize your enterprise all while improving data protection and resiliency. 

Storage can be accessed and implemented across devices and provides accurate security assessments efficiently and in real time — making this solution a no-brainer for implementing a proactive cybersecurity system and streamlining your risk management.

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