Cyber Security Tips for the New Year
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  • Cyber Security Tips for the New Year

    December 30, 2021

    With cyber criminals showing no signs of slowing down in their efforts to breach the networks of all kinds of businesses, 2022 is bound to be another eventful and challenging year from the security perspective. As you formulate your game plan to protect your IT environment from rapidly evolving threats during the upcoming year, here are some cybersecurity awareness tips that will help your business strengthen your best practices and security stance for 2022.

    1. Establish cyber security policies and educate staff.
    Educate staff on security policies and best practices. This provides clear expectations for their use on your network. Your users are the best network baseline you have. When you empower them, they will raise the alarm when something seems different.

    2. Perform network and physical security audits and have a course of action plan ready.
    Reviewing your network and physical security policies is a must in today’s world; as technology changes, so will your policies. Perform network vulnerability scans consistently to provide a clear picture of your network's security posture. Installing network security monitoring software provides you with real-time network behavior, helping you identify threats on your network.

    3. Upgrade software with the latest security patch.
    Setting automatic updates is not all that bad, and in fact, it is highly recommended. Keeping your software up to date lowers your risk against software vulnerabilities. The fewer vulnerabilities you have, the fewer exploits, viruses, and malware attacks can be performed on your network.

    4. Protect network devices against viruses, spyware and malware code.
    Installing all network devices with antivirus and anti-malware protection is a must. This, coupled with network monitoring software, will ensure the virus protection software is running, up to date, and not disabled. Have your network administrators do random manual checks from time to time.

    5. Physically secure equipment and unused device ports.
    Ensure device hardware and data aren't compromised by protecting physical equipment. Network routers, switches, and server room access should be under lock and key. Review tamper stickers and secure access locations often to ensure no unauthorized access has occurred.

    6. Encrypt network data.
    Data-at-rest encryption provides an extra layer of security. Automatically encrypting data saved on any storage medium makes it harder for hackers to use the stolen data.

    7. Use strong authentication methods.
    Implement two-factor authentication features to approve access to your network. Using authentication tokens or mobile apps coupled with passwords provides some of the strongest authentication methods available for your users.

    8. Secure external network access.
    Ensure your network has a secure VPN connection for traveling and for any employees who may work from home. Mandating strong authentication, such as one-time password tokens or certificate-based smart cards will significantly increase the security of the approved connection to your network.

    9. Define strong security policies for administrator accounts.
    Implementing strong authentication for admin accounts will ensure login credentials are not easily compromised. Review all admin accounts monthly to remove or disable unused accounts; this also applies to user accounts.

    10. Mobile devices, tablets, USB sticks, and other devices:
    These devices typically increase the risk of attacks. Having employees connect their personal devices to your network increases the chance of compromise and infections. Ensure the company has clear policies to address this issue and clearly state if they can or cannot connect personal devices to your network.

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