cybersecurity hygiene

Cybersecurity Hygiene Explained in Less Than 500 Words

Cybercrime is projected to cost businesses up to $6 trillion by 2021. Thus, every organization needs to practice cybersecurity hygiene. It is a comprehensive process and does not end with just purchasing new software or hardware. Moreover, cybersecurity hygiene is a practice that maintains the basic health and security of hardware and software. 

The bottom line is it aims to keep sensitive data free from unauthorized access or modification. If you neglect personal hygiene, you might catch a cold. Likewise, your organization might fall victim to a virus and data breach if you neglect cybersecurity hygiene. 

Who Is Responsible for Cybersecurity Hygiene?

The entire organization must practice cybersecurity hygiene, not just the IT department. For instance, your IT team may implement strict password rules. However, it is still up to end-users to create those strong passwords and keep them safe. 

We cannot understate the importance of cyber hygiene as the threat landscape constantly changes. Cyberattacks continue to grow both in number and complexity. Hackers will not stop targeting multiple security vulnerabilities. That is even in the IT protocols your company implements. 

Social engineering like phishing attacks remains popular. Many employees still fall victim to such attacks. It is impossible for your IT/security team to independently mitigate all these threats. Thus, it is everyone’s responsibility to practice cyber hygiene. 

Identify Your Company’s Information Assets 

This is the first step in securing your company’s systems. Of course, you cannot protect the company’s systems if you are not even aware of them. Begin by identifying and documenting your IT infrastructure. Your list must include all software, hardware, and applications. Determine which assets would compromise the company’s operations if they are attacked. 

Furthermore, consider performing risk assessments and controls review. Penetration testing will also uncover vulnerabilities and help you improve your security efforts. Moreover, such efforts will help you achieve compliance with information security regulations. 

Best Practices 

Use of Strong Passwords 

Every user must have strong and unique passwords. Passwords must contain a combination of numbers, lowercase and capital letters, and symbols. Moreover, consider using firmware passwords. That is to prevent unauthorized resets or reboots on your equipment. 

Enable MFA 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) puts an additional level of protection in your accounts. MFA will require the user to submit additional credentials to gain access. The most common form of MFA is one-time passwords being sent to your phone or email. You may also add extra layers of security by using biometrics to minimize the chances of breaches. 

Install Antivirus Software

A reputable antivirus program can detect and erase any malware on your systems. Depending on your preferences, it can also automatically perform automatic scans to ensure that your devices are safe at all times. 

Regularly Update Your Applications

Program developers regularly release updates to “patch” any new threats. Thus, it is important that you install such updates the moment they are released. Enable the auto-update feature to save time. You must also delete any software that you no longer use to reduce possible attacks. 

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