As advanced threats continue to transform and scale, it’s easy to gravitate toward the latest tool or “shiny item” in the news. An estimated 80% of threats and vulnerabilities are older than twelve months, highlighting the challenge of legacy products and infrastructure. Use good cyber hygiene to prevent or mitigate security issues with IT practices that maintain IT health and resiliency.
This article outlines the challenges of adopting cyber hygiene, security, the benefits of implementing these critical practices, and how MSPs can recommend practical steps for cyber hygiene.
What is Cyber Hygiene?
How to brush your teeth, cyber hygiene is part routine and part repetition. Protection routines enforce procedures and user behavior that keep sensitive customer data secure. In the face of rapid change, the fundamentals of cybersecurity never go out of style.
Cyber hygiene hurdles abound
It can be challenging to balance fighting new and emerging cyber threats while maintaining legacy systems and IT processes. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face the same threats as larger companies, but with far fewer resources.
“Over the past 18 months, Netsurion’s EventTracker Security Operations Center (SOC) has detected attackers conducting reconnaissance for unpatched systems, unnecessary ports and protocols, and security holes to exploit,” said Shavonn Mealing, channel vice president. at Netsurion. “The complexity of the attack surface has also grown, requiring protection across servers, data centers and cloud computing assets.”
The continuing shortage of IT and cybersecurity experts means that small security breaches are compounded by far-reaching consequences.
Minimize risk and complexity with cyber hygiene
Poor IT practices increase exposure and cost. IT complexity can build over time, resulting in a lack of process understanding and system manageability.
Improve the efficiency of security operations with a balance of technology and cyber hygiene routines. For example, implementing good user password practices reduces authentication risks. MSSPs are well equipped to advise SMBs on solutions and best practices, such as automation and repeatable results.
Good Habits Protect Data and Users
There are several crucial steps in developing best practices and operational routine for cyber hygiene. Here are eight steps to keep in mind:
- Implement device hardening– Regularly patch vulnerabilities, disable unnecessary features, and disable unused ports and protocols.
- Add multi-factor authentication (MFA): Limit access to your network and resources with MFA. While virtually all vendors now offer MFA, many organizations are reluctant to go the extra step to implement them.
- Educate users about the risks of phishing: Continually encourage users to be diligent and think before they click.
- Use configuration best practices: Configuration errors cause 52% of data incidents by Verizon. Minimize configuration drift over time by improving resiliency and security.
- Segment Networks: Divide your network into multiple segments that avoid a single point of failure and make it difficult for cybercriminals to move laterally into customer networks.
- Enable device logging: In some cases, device and app logging is turned off by default. A security information and event management (SIEM) solution correlates logs to identify potential threats to network security and suspicious user activity for troubleshooting.
- Remove unused hardware and software– Consolidate your technology vendors to optimize security, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
- Follow-up 24/7/365: You cannot manage and protect what you cannot see. Comprehensive visibility and monitoring provides 24/7 protection against internal and external threats.
Implementing strong cybersecurity procedures is vital to defending against modern threats. Cyber hygiene helps maintain a strong security posture and minimize vulnerabilities.
Improve surveillance of people
Embrace the fundamental security that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agenda (CISA) calls “being cyber smart” to make it easier to manage the inevitable attacks and third-party software breaches. Remember that people are often the weakest link in protecting organizations to be more proactive and overcome blind spots. According to a Stanford University study, human error causes 88% of all incidents and data breaches. Netsurion’s Mealing notes, “Repeating processes and reinforcing training are just a few ways to help enforce cyber hygiene with your employees and customers.”
How MSSPs can help
It’s easy for businesses and service providers to get distracted by the latest buzzword or spot product. Help your customers be proactive and aware of the basics of cyber hygiene. As a trusted advisor, stay focused on baseline cybersecurity actions that remove the most significant risk at the lowest cost. Overcoming advanced threats requires more mature technology, skilled people, and comprehensive incident response than in years past. Netsurion’s Managed Threat Protection offering provides an integrated approach beyond stand-alone solutions. Learn more about the benefits of co-managed security at Netsurion.
blog courtesy of Netsurionwhich develops the Managed Threat Protection Platform for MSSP and MSP partners. Read more Netsurion guest blogs here. regularly contributed guest blogging are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.