With the rise of cyber-attacks targeting organizations and industries, it has become vital that every organization protects itself in the cyberspace. The protection should defend against attacks targeting networks, applications, systems, and information. The following steps are vital in helping organizations protect themselves in the cyberspace.
It is best practice for organizations to establish a good governance structure and assess the risks to their assets to determine their risk appetite. This practice can be achieved by defining and communicating the risk management strategy across the organization while actively involving the board and senior management. Further, an information risk management policy should be formulated and implemented to support the risk management strategy.
Organizations should develop policies and processes to establish secure baseline builds for the organization’s systems inventory. Thus, the application of security patches and secure configuration of Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs) systems is ensured. Otherwise, the organization’s systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks that may compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems.
The organizational network should be protected against internal and external attacks that emanate from an unsecured network such as the internet, which may expose the organizational information and ICTs to its adversaries. Therefore, organizations should develop policies and risk management measures to protect the organization’s systems and information and apply appropriate security controls against the identified risks.
Managing User Privileges
Organizations should control users’ access privileges to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), the information it maintains, and the services it offers. ICT systems users should only be granted the rights required to accomplish their work, known as the ‘Least Privilege’ principle. Failure to handle user access rights appropriately may increase the amount of intentional and unintentional attacks.
User Education and Awareness
Using an organization’s Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) by its employees introduces many risks. Therefore, each employee should be aware of their security obligations and the need to conform to the company’s policies. This awareness is achievable by systematically delivering regular security training and awareness programs that aim to enhance security competence and knowledge levels throughout the organization and foster a security-conscious culture.
As the number of cyber-attacks increases, it is evident that it is no longer a question of if or when an organization will be breached since it is likely that the incident has already occurred. The question, therefore, is how to identify the incident and is the organization ready to handle it. As such, the establishment of effective incident management procedures and policies aid in minimizing financial impact, increasing confidence for stakeholders and customers, provide for business continuity and enhance resilience.
Exchange of information carries some level of risk that may expose an organization to malware. This risk can significantly compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems in the organization. Therefore, it is vital to implement security controls to manage the risks associated with all company operations to minimize these risks.
Monitoring of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) activities is a critical capability required to meet security, legal, and regulatory obligations. This capability supports detection and response to threats while providing a basis to learn how to enhance the security of the business. Further, monitoring aids a company in determining the correct use of the systems in line with the organizational policies.
Removable Media Controls
Lack of regulations or management of removable media may degrade the company’s image, introduce malware, lead to information theft and financial loss. It is thus advisable to carry out risk-benefit analysis on the use of removable media and implement suitable and proportional security safeguards in line with the organization’s risks and risk appetite.
Home and Mobile Networking
Mobile working has significant commercial benefits, but it exposes the organization too difficult to control dangers. The corporate security perimeter should be extended to the users working from home. To properly manage risks, the company should develop risk-based policies and procedures that incorporate all sorts of mobile and flexible working. Organizations should also prepare for a rise in the frequency of security incidents and have a strategy in place to deal with the loss or breach of personal and commercially sensitive information, as well as any legal, regulatory, or reputational consequences.