Cyber attacks come in a variety of forms, each intended to exploit specific weaknesses in your organisation. As such, there’s no single way to stay secure.
There are countless things you can try, from following simple tips to making widespread changes, but discussing them all would probably leave you with more questions than answers. Instead, we’ve highlighted three things you must do to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack.
Identify key assets
Organisations probably don’t have the resources to protect their entire business. When that’s the case, senior staff should conduct a risk assessment to determine which risks to prioritise, and what data, assets and services warrant the most protection.
You might find that there are simple things you can do to reduce certain risks. For example, if you can keep at-risk data in as few locations as possible, you will only need to secure select parts of your organisation.
Stay informed about threats
The threat landscape is constantly evolving, with cyber criminals always looking for new exploits and studying one another’s tactics. As soon as a particular exploit proves successful, crooks the world over will adopt and refine it.
The majority of successful attacks come in the immediate aftermath of the popularisation of a particular attack method. That’s because its success is predicated on the fact that many organisations are vulnerable to it. Once the trend becomes common knowledge, organisations learn how it works and address it.
You can greatly minimise your chances of coming under attack by staying informed about growing trends. There are many ISACs (Information Sharing and Analysis Centres) that you can use to gather real-time threat intelligence.
Ensure your technologies are up to date
When it comes to addressing new attack methods, processes and policies are relatively resilient and will perhaps only need to be tweaked. You are much more likely to need to update your software and web applications.
Most of the time this is straightforward. Software providers are as eager as cyber criminals to find vulnerabilities, and regularly release patches for weaknesses they’ve discovered. Software users will receive a notification telling them to download a patch, enabling them to stay secure with a click of a button.
However, it’s not always that simple. Organisations run countless technologies that all need to be patched, and it only takes one failed update for them to be exposed to a cyber attack. As such, organisations should take the added precaution of creating policies and procedures dedicated to patch management.
If you don’t know what that entails, we recommend certifying to Cyber Essentials, a scheme that sets out a baseline of cyber security. It includes five key controls – including patch management – that can prevent most cyber attacks.
Organisations that certify to the Cyber Essentials scheme will be able to demonstrate their security to clients, insurers, investors and other interested parties. They’ll also save money, because insurance agencies look favourably on organisations with Cyber Essentials certification.
Those who want to experience these benefits should consider certifying to the Cyber Essentials scheme with IT Governance. We are the leading CREST-accredited certification body and have awarded hundreds of certifications since the scheme began.