The cyber threat environment in recent years has continued to evolve and advance. Just in 2021 alone, there were more zero-day exploits than ever before. Additionally, the emergence of more advanced artificial intelligence has made the environment much more challenging for companies looking to protect their networks. Cybersecurity hygiene, then, has become increasingly important for companies.
“Cybersecurity hygiene is cybersecurity 101,” says Cristina Alati, a Cybersecurity Engineer at Blue Technologies, Inc. “It’s central to cybersecurity best practices that users and organizations employ to maintain system health and improve their online security. Cybersecurity incidents are inevitable. The real questions are when will they happen and is the organization is prepared?”
Smart Business spoke with Alati about cybersecurity hygiene — what it means and how companies can achieve it as they work to protect their business against increasingly sophisticated and frequent cyber threats.
What types of companies face cybersecurity threats?
Every company, whether small or large, faces serious cybersecurity threats. Given how the threat environment continues to grow, hackers continue to find new ways to gain access to companies’ networks and steal or compromise valuable data. Even companies that feel as if they have a great cybersecurity posture could have an incident because they’re vulnerable in just one place and it was discovered by bad actors. It’s an ever-evolving field.
How can organizations protect themselves?
Organizations need to have good cybersecurity hygiene to mitigate their risks of a cybersecurity breach. At a base level, that includes antivirus, multifactor authentication and email spam filters, as well as other tools. But more than deploying a few tools to combat cyberthreats, companies’ best chance of bolstering their defenses is by making sure cybersecurity is not only a priority, but a requirement. Organizations should ask their IT departments to follow the Information Sharing and Analysis Center outline that details specific cybersecurity best practices for their industries. Those companies that don’t have an in-house IT team can take steps to better protect themselves by working with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) and asking them for a cybersecurity roadmap that outlines the steps needed to mitigate cybersecurity threats in their environment.
What should companies discuss with their MSP to ensure good cybersecurity hygiene?
Being proactive becomes the most crucial aspect of securing the cybersecurity environment. Companies should speak with their managed service provider or cybersecurity team every quarter. As threats evolve and environments change, so must cybersecurity best practices. It’s important to discuss the compliance and regulatory boards that the organization must adhere to, and how their MSP plans to maintain the highest level of security.
MSPs bring a partnership to companies that don’t have an in-house IT staff. Organizations can outsource their cybersecurity responsibilities to specialists who have broad knowledge of the threat environment from their work with companies across industries. It’s also a way to bolster the capabilities of a limited IT team, allowing them to focus on more mission-critical initiatives while still having the confidence that the company has good cybersecurity hygiene.
What should companies look for from an MSP?
Companies looking for an MSP should review references from past clients that the MSP has helped to achieve cybersecurity compliance. Also, look to see how long they’ve been in the cybersecurity business — the more experience, the better. Work with an MSP that puts cybersecurity first, rather than offering it as an add-on service that might put the initiative on the back burner.
Cybersecurity is a group effort. As threats continue evolving, it’s very important that key members of an organization have conversations with their MSPs on a regular cadence so that they can be in the know. ●
INSIGHTS Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies, Inc.