6 Key Components Of Any Effective Cybersecurity Strategy
Cybersecurity may not be the sexiest topic, but it is one that will have a direct impact on you if things go wrong. An effective cybersecurity strategy generally consists of six components and today; we’re going to cover those items to implement them in your own home or organisation.
Remember, cybersecurity strategies are never ‘set and forget’ types, and so these components will need to be looked at and refreshed periodically. So let’s get into it!
1. Threat protection
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2. Control your physical devices
If you’re an organisation and you have computers and devices that reside outside of the office, then you may be at risk of data breaches. When you do not have physical control over your computers and devices, the employees who use those systems can download potential malware that may infiltrate your computer’s operating system and access sensitive personal, device, or organisational data. For example, if an employee works remotely using a company computer and has now got a virus on the computer, that virus may be able to get into staff emails and other assets that are private and highly sensitive.
You can mitigate this threat by educating your employees on what they can and cannot use their work devices for, as well as also invest in IT resources like a knowledgeable IT representative who’s tasked with running virus software and checking devices from time to time either physically or through TeamViewer or other similar programs.
3. Regular password changes
Regularly changing your password is a simple yet highly effective thing you can do to keep your personal information safe from cybercriminals. Ideally, you’ll want to be doing this each fortnight or as often as possible. In fact, many tech-savvy organisations already prompt their staff to change passwords regularly. If your organisation doesn’t remind you or have digital prompts, however, you can set up a few reminders for yourself in your calendar to remember to do so independently.
It’s also worth noting that despite everyone knowing what makes a good password, people still choose overly simplistic ones. You want to be utilising numbers, case-sensitive letters, and symbols wherever possible. You should also ensure that your passwords don’t contain any personal information, such as birthdays, pet’s names, or old addresses. Passwords that contain personal info are substantially easier to guess for hackers who have done their due diligence and collected plenty of personal info from you.
4. Secure networks
Whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you are potentially at risk. This is why you should only be connecting to trusted Wi-Fi networks. This means they have to be password-protected networks and accessed in environments you can trust. The free Wi-Fi network at the airport and other public spaces are not that secure, as they are catering to a large volume of people who need to connect and cannot have the same security rigour.
5. Communicate the right processes
Establishing a cybersecurity policy is an easy way to educate your team on the right processes that they should follow when accessing information online. This means that when any new employees start, they can look at your organisation’s cybersecurity policy alongside their additional induction resources and take steps to implement your organisational strategy from the get-go. Introducing protocols to new employees is especially important if these new faces have come from a workplace that did not have a strong cybersecurity focus.
Be sure to review your organisation’s cybersecurity policy regularly, however, so that you are always incorporating new trends and threats. You should also have your IT department and all managers review the policy, as they will understand how their departments use devices and can provide their own valuable input.
6. Set targets
Set some tangible targets around your security measures wherever possible. This will keep you on track to achieving organisational security goals, alongside keeping people accountable with regards to how effectively they can follow your protocols and uphold the strength of your organisation’s cybersecurity measures.
These targets could be as simple as ensuring that every employee complies with password changes without prompting, that there’s consistently no malware detected on any company devices, and any other metrics that could be specific to your workplace or industry.
The goal of these targets is to share the responsibility of cyber security and make it a focus for all. If your workplace works with sensitive data, you might even like to tie these targets into professional KPIs!
Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving discipline, and we need to adapt to the threats out there as they are coming in thick and fast. You also do not want to assume that your employees or fellow coworkers are above board and understand all the moving parts that make up your cybersecurity processes, as many might have no idea what sort of threats are out there and others could be quite intermediate at identifying possible threats. A good rule of thumb is to assume that no one knows anything about cybersecurity to encourage all the individuals that make up your organisation to continuously engage with all six of the components outlined above, and be open to learning new things.