A quick glance at the headlines can reveal the latest cyberattacks and data breaches. New security threats are emerging daily and organizations need to take proactive actions to improve their overall security posture.
Leadership needs to consider taking the following actions to better secure their organizations.
Have Weekly Cybersecurity Discussions
Cybercriminals are collaborating, attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and phishing campaigns are targeting everyone from chief executive officers (CEOs), board of directors, and other executive leaders. Many companies are unaware of the cyber threats that their organization faces, resulting in being caught off guard when a security incident occurs.
CEOs, Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), Vice Presidents (VPs), Directors, and Senior Managers should have regular communication about cybersecurity to provide awareness of cyber-related risks, threats, and potential organizational impact. Conversations should also be held with information technology and security leadership within the organization.
Ensure the Organization has Comprehensive Plans in Place
Ensure the organization has comprehensive plans in place.
- Ensure the organization has a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP) and that the plan is tested periodically.
- Ensure the organization has a comprehensive business continuity plan (BCP) and that this plan is tested periodically.
- Ensure the organization has a cybersecurity incident response plan (IRP) and that this plan is tested periodically. Ensure the IRP includes policies and procedures for handling ransomware attacks.
- Integrate the cybersecurity incident response plan with the disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Share the Organization’s Plans with the Appropriate People
Ensure the CEO, CIO, CISO, general counsel, legal, and other business leaders are aware of the plans. Cyber liability insurance may not cover all of the damages caused by data breaches. Quick response actions may limit the amount of damage sustained or prevent additional damage from occurring.
Routinely Test the Organization’s Plans
Make sure that you routinely test the organizational plans that have been created. After testing the plans, have conversations about ways you can improve the plans. Questioning the current plans may bring awareness and help with improvements.
- How comprehensive are the plans and procedures?
- How often are the plans and procedures tested?
- Is there a plan to identify risks? Is there a plan to respond to identified risks?
Implement a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Program
Implement a comprehensive cybersecurity program that covers all areas of the organization. Make sure to include industry standards and best practices in the cybersecurity program. Employ multiple layers of security including antivirus software, firewalls, encryption, and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Require strong password policies that consider password history, minimum password age, maximum password age, minimum password length, and password complexity requirements.
- Does the organization have a comprehensive cybersecurity program? If not, create one.
- Does the cybersecurity program leverage industry standards and best practices? If not, add them.
- Does the cybersecurity program use a risk-based approach to apply the standards and best practices? If not, consider shifting your approach.
Implement a Vulnerability Management Program
Implement a vulnerability management program to proactively identify and remediate known vulnerabilities before they are exploited. Consider weekly and/or monthly vulnerability scans to proactively identify vulnerabilities. A vulnerability management program may help you determine the vulnerabilities that have higher risk to the organization. This type of program could help direct your focus and remediation efforts. Having a dedicated vulnerability management team could greatly help improve the vulnerability management program.
Implement a Patch Management Program
Implement a patch management program to mitigate known security vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. Consider patching all systems at least twice a month. Also, consider testing patches before applying everywhere throughout the organization. Having a dedicated patch management team could greatly help improve the patch management program.
Require Penetration Testing from a Third-Party
Verify that routine penetration testing is being performed to identify potential security vulnerabilities. Annual penetration tests are not enough. Monthly or quarterly penetration tests, along with weekly or monthly vulnerability scanning can be much more effective at improving your overall security posture.
Free Consultation with Central InfoSec
Central InfoSec specializes in a variety of professional security services to help you test, measure, and improve your overall security posture. Security services offered include red teaming, penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, web application testing, managed phishing, and other tailored security services to help you reduce risk to your organization.