What is cyber hygiene?
Cyber hygiene refers to fundamental cybersecurity best practices that an organization’s security practitioners and users can undertake. As you have personal hygiene practices to maintain your own health, cyber hygiene best practices help protect the health of your organization’s network and assets.
Why is cyber hygiene important?
The DHS requires agencies to ensure that critical vulnerabilities identified in cyber hygiene reports are remediated. Based on recent international activities announced by DHS, we should expect retaliation from a known adversarial nation state. This is an immediate risk to the networks of all public and private organizations in the United States. And most network breaches are caused by exploiting oversights in basic cyber hygiene. Your organization needs to be able to assess its current cybersecurity posture and accurately evaluate your cyber hygiene. You need to know what’s on your network, how it’s all connected and the associated risk.
What can my organization do to follow cybersecurity hygiene best practices?
Whether you are a hands-on-keyboard technician or an executive responsible for securing your organization, here are key cybersecurity hygiene practices to take:
- Pick a cybersecurity framework from organizations like NIST or CIS to help you build your cybersecurity program or enhance your existing one.
- Continuously educate your users about cyber hygiene best practices such as creating strong passwords, avoiding phishing attacks, and securing the personal devices they connect to your network.
- Have an inventory of what network equipment, devices and software are within your network. Establish a robust patch management process, taking network risk into account rather than just chasing down high, medium and low findings from your security tools.
- Understand what partner networks are connected to your network. Continuously ensure that compensating security controls and network segmentation are in place in case a partner network is compromised.
- Have an up-to-date call list of people who can respond to events detected in your network. This is invaluable for geographically dispersed organizations spread across different time zones.
- Limit the number of users with administrator access to your network.
- Have an incident response plan in place, then practice it or follow it regularly. After each practice or incident, conduct reviews to improve your future responses, further harden your network and educate your workforce.
- Finally, measure the effectiveness of your network’s ability to maintain digital resilience with metrics that don’t just track the busyness of your cyber teams, but the effectiveness of what they are doing.
Agencies that have built network infrastructure over decades may not be doing enough to manage basic cyber-hygiene practices and stay ahead of modern threats, cautions a new report.
When out-of-date configuration rules lurk on networks, attackers essentially have a back door to walk into government systems. However, modern network modeling platforms, capable of integrating into existing infrastructure, can help agency IT departments identify and manage cyber risks and accelerate essential cyber hygiene practices.
Network modeling tools give agency leaders a way to simulate upgrades and evaluate the impact of planned changes to their networks, as well as review past connections and rules. This can be helpful when trying to accurately understand the costs associated with cyber risk, explains the report, produced by FedScoop and CyberScoop and underwritten by RedSeal.
Download the report, Minimizing Cyber Risk with Smarter Cyber-Hygiene Practices.
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Ten Cybersecurity Fundamentals to Reduce Your Risk of Attack
Organizations need to be able to assess their current security posture and accurately evaluate their cyber hygiene. They need to know what is on their networks, how it is all connected and the risk associated with each asset.
Whether you are hands-on-keyboard technician or an executive responsible for securing your organization, here are ten cybersecurity fundamentals you can implement.
How Defense Contractors Should Prepare for a Cyber Proxy War With Iran
A plan of action should include some key fundamentals, including identifying critical data and where it is housed; knowing what assets – physical and virtual – are on your network; hardening your network devices, making sure they are securely configured; reviewing endpoint data sources to make sure you have full coverage of all endpoints on your network; and ensure that your vulnerability scanner is scanning every subnet.
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Eighteen months have passed since that day on June 27, 2017, when an IT administrator, working for the world’s largest shipping conglomerate, watched helplessly as one computer monitor screen after another in Maersk’s Copenhagen headquarters went black.
The question as we head into 2020 is, what lessons can we take away from that incident — and in particular, what should leaders operating federal agencies be doing differently today as a result?
Security Orchestration and Automation Response Solutions (SOAR) and RedSeal
Over the past few years, Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tools have emerged as multi-faceted and ever-present components in a Security Operations Center (SOC). The problem we see with deploying security automation is the quality of the information put into it. How do you deploy a SOAR tool if you don’t know for sure if the data being used is accurate? Is good enough good enough?
RedSeal data can better refine how a SOAR solution makes its decisions to take or not take actions.