A decuplet of best practices to help organizations improve security posture
In the 21st century, security isn’t just a concern; it’s a necessity. Organizations must constantly adapt to evolving cybersecurity minefield. The challenges are endless, from new forms of malware to complex insider threats, from the rise in nation-state bad actors to unconscious insider threats. However, robust security isn’t unattainable, and prevention is always better than playing whack-a-mole to attacks in response.
Below, we’ll explore ten fundamental ways organizations can beef up their security posture for best practices, minimal friction, and compliance. Often required as industry standards, these actions have the added benefit of reducing cyber insurance premiums, minimizing the blast radius of any attack, improving and modernizing processes, benchmarking approved activity, and raising cybersecurity awareness across the wider org.
How to Improve Security Posture
- Regular Security Awareness Training
Cybersecurity is not just a matter of technology; it’s about people. Regular training ensures that employees are aware of the latest threats and know how to respond. From recognizing phishing emails to practicing proper password hygiene, educating staff can turn them from potential security risks into the first line of defense.
- Utilize Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Passwords alone are no longer enough. By using multiple forms of verification, MFA adds that extra layer of security, ensuring that even if a password is compromised, attackers can’t access the system without the second factor, such as a fingerprint or a temporary code sent to a mobile device.
- Regular Patch Management and Software Updates
Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that are a goldmine for attackers and the kiss of death for security. Regular updates and patch management ensure that all known weaknesses are addressed, reducing potential entry points and improving overall security posture.
- Adopt a Zero Trust Architecture
As one of my colleagues once said, “It’s 2023. If you want to trust someone, get a dog.” The concept of “trust, but verify” doesn’t apply in modern cybersecurity. Zero trust means exactly what it sounds like: trust no one. Not even the devices, the application you use, or the users inside the network. In a zero trust model, every access request is strictly verified, regardless of where it originates. This reduces the attack surface, minimizes insider threat risks, protects against the effects of zero-day attacks, and enhances overall security by ensuring that every user and device is authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated. If you haven’t adopted zero trust already, it’s one of the most effective ways to improve security posture.
- Data Encryption
Data should be encrypted both at rest and in transit. If an attacker gains access to the data, encryption ensures that they can’t read or use it without the proper keys, rendering the stolen information useless. With the advent of quantum computing and more sophisticated data decryption, it is becoming more and more important to stay ahead of advances in encoding.
- Network Monitoring and Incident Response
Continuous network monitoring enables organizations to detect and respond to threats in real-time. A well-designed incident response plan ensures that, when a breach does occur, the impact is minimized and recovery is as swift as possible.
- Compliance with Regulations
Regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS (to name but a few) outline specific security measures that organizations must adhere to. Compliance doesn’t just avoid legal penalties; it also ensures that best practices are followed.
- Implement Lateral Movement Protection
Once an attacker gains access to a network, they often move laterally to find valuable data or further exploit the system. Lateral movement protection helps monitor and control internal network movements, detect suspicious activities, and stop them in their tracks. By isolating applications and segmenting networks, organizations can minimize the potential damage from an attacker moving freely within the system.
- Cloud Security Protocols
As businesses increasingly rely on cloud services, ensuring the security of data in the cloud is paramount. Organizations can protect their data across various cloud platforms using robust encryption, access controls, and monitoring. In 2023, default cloud security is not enough.
- Regular Security Assessments and Audits
Finally, organizations must regularly assess their security measures. Regular audits uncover vulnerabilities and ensure that security controls are functioning as intended. It’s an essential step toward maintaining an adaptive security posture, especially in today’s fluid and ever-changing risk environment.
A Stack to Improve Security Posture
Improving an organization’s security posture is a ‘multifaceted’ task. It involves a mix of technology, policy, training, and continuous assessment. It involves a stack for a multi-layered approach to best practices. However, organizations can build a resilient defense against evolving cyber threats by adopting fundamental ten practices.
Security isn’t static; it’s an ongoing process that demands vigilance, adaptability, and a commitment to best practices. In the battle against cyber threats, preparation and prevention are the keys to success.