6 Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity Fluency

Ted Wagner |  February 2022

At NS2, security is never an afterthought, it’s in everything we do. As security conscious as we all try to be, falling prey to bad actors who want to gain access to your organization’s client database or financial information, among other things, is still a real danger. Thankfully, with due diligence, you can help protect your agency’s systems by improving your cybersecurity fluency with these easy tips.

Top 6 Tips for Improving Cyber Fluency

1. Implement identity and access management tools

There are four interconnected cybersecurity concepts: identification, authorization, authentication, and auditing and management.

a. Identity – For example, in our organization every NS2 employee receives an I number or C number that’s generated by SAP for identification. b. Authorization – Once identity has been established, a person is given authorization to environments necessary to do their job. c. Authentication – When a person has the authorization to environment, they are given the method necessary to authenticate into the environment. This means something as simple as a password (single factor authentication), or it could be a token, which combined with a passcode utilizes two factor authentication. d. Auditing and Management – Finally, the employee receives a username and password, which is their authorization to access specific resources. Behind the scenes, there are systems that track every login so if an intruder attempts to gain access, we can review our logs to determine how far they were able to get. If a person is given too much privilege, they may have the ability to perform a transaction that is beyond the scope of their position. Proper identity and access management can help ensure accurate auditing and better accountability for your organization.

2. Understand a Zero Trust network

At the baseline of a Zero Trust network, no one person or service is trusted until trust is established with authorization and authentication. In the past, people could operate freely within the system’s firewall perimeter. The firewall only succeeded in slowing unauthorized users down. The only way to secure the enterprise is to ensure trusted access to devices, people, applications, and networks. Identity is the new perimeter.

3. Create security controls

These cover confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Without these three controls we can’t do our jobs. Security controls provide a set of guidelines that should be followed for safe and secure computing. They can provide a barometer on how much cyber risk an organization is accepting. Security controls can include anything from a zero trust architecture and multi-factor authentication to RSA key fobs or soft tokens.

4. Follow the steps of the risk management framework

The first step is to determine what type of information–customer data or personal identifying information, such as Social Security numbers—is being processed. This will allow IT to select the proper security controls. The next four steps include implementing security controls, assessing the security controls with risk acceptance, authorizing the information system, and monitoring the security controls. By implementing a strong risk management framework you can help secure your network infrastructure.

5. Get to know ransomware

As I previously mentioned, hackers need valid credentials to get into your system. Two of the most common ways to gain your credentials are social engineering attacks and infrastructure vulnerability. Ransomware typically starts with a phishing email designed to look like a reputable communication from a vendor or your bank with a link that takes you to a webpage embedded with a virus. It runs its code and locks up the data on your computer by encrypting it — unless you pay.

6. Learn how data breaches occur

The first thing an attacker does is simple research. Do their targets use AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure? What kind of operating systems are running their applications? Are they using Linux or Windows?

The key is to identify what tools hackers can use to infiltrate because every system features an element of risk. The next step is to mock an attack through social engineering or perhaps an infrastructure weakness with the VPN. This will help you determine where hackers find the data and how they immediately exfiltrate it to begin using the stolen information.

Enterprise security is always dynamic. As soon as a new solution is developed hackers try to infiltrate the infrastructure, which means agencies can’t be complacent. And one of the best lines of defense lies with you. What can you do? First, use approved tools and, if you have a specific business need, talk to IT about the tools you wish to use. Second, secure your meeting platform to ensure only the people you want to attend are present. Finally, take the precautions I outlined in this article to keep sensitive data secure and in the proper hands. NS2 is committed to securing your data, from intellectual property and trade secrets to software architecture and personal identifying information. Contact us to learn more.
Ted Wagner

Ted Wagner

VP and CISO

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