In 2012, the UK government launched its ‘10 steps to Cybersecurity’; a list of steps that provide practical guidance for any organisation to improve the security of their networks and data.
To compensate for this increase in cyber threats, the 10 steps to Cybersecurity has been updated as of 2022 to provide the best Cybersecurity courses of action for organisations. In this article, learn about each step and its importance to overall organisational processes.
In this article
- Cybersecurity in a nutshell
- What are the 10 steps to Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity in a nutshell
It is the protection of internet-connected systems from cyber threats and is also instrumental in preventing attacks that aim to disable or disrupt a system's or device's operations. With the increasing number of users, devices and programs in modern organisations, the need for Cybersecurity grows. As more sensitive data continues to flood the online space, cyber-attacks and attack techniques are also becoming prominent.
Therefore, a strong Cybersecurity strategy can provide a good security posture against malicious attacks. Read our blog on Cybersecurity and information security if you want to learn more about how Cybersecurity works with Info-Sec. The 10 steps to Cybersecurity provides a roadmap to help guard against these attacks and prevent financial and reputational damage.
What are the 10 steps to Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity plays a crucial role in any organisation that is reliant on digital technology. If you are looking for guidance on how to achieve effective Cybersecurity, the following 10 steps are where you can start.
Risk management in the Cybersecurity sector helps to guarantee that your organisation's technology, systems, and information are safeguarded in the most suitable manner, and that resources are focused on the things that matter most to your organisation. An effective strategy to risk management is woven into the fabric of your organisation and works together with the methods you use to control other types of organisational threats.
To implement a successful strategy, you must think about the wider context in which you want to manage cyber risk, and understand where you need to apply cyber risk management. Then, you may choose a cyber security risk management approach that is right for your organisation and communicate it effectively to your stakeholders.
Engagement and training
People should be at the core of any Cybersecurity policy. Good security takes into account how people really operate and does not stand in the way of people doing their tasks. People may be one of your most effective resources in preventing problems (or identifying when one has occurred) if they are appropriately engaged and there is a strong Cybersecurity culture that encourages them to speak out. Awareness or training may be used to help your employees learn the skills and information they need to perform safely. As well as protecting your firm, this shows that you care about your employees and their contributions.
It is important to encourage senior leaders to lead by example and build effective communication with all staff members. Running security awareness campaigns and tailoring Cybersecurity training to address your specific needs is a good strategy.
Asset management is the process of acquiring and retaining the necessary information about your assets. In the long run, systems tend to expand naturally, and it can be difficult to keep up with all of the resources in your environment.
Unpatched services, exposed cloud storage accounts, and misclassified documents are all examples of environments where incidents might arise because the environment is not understood thoroughly. Having a thorough understanding of all of these assets is essential to assessing and addressing the associated risks. To prevent operating insecure legacy systems, you need to know when your current systems will no longer be maintained.
Integrating asset management is the solution to these problems. After understanding your critical services and functions, identify the associated data and technology dependencies so you can prioritise them. Remember to continuously improve your knowledge and only keep the data you need.
Architecture and configuration
We live in an ever-changing world of technology and Cybersecurity. Organisations must ensure that solid Cybersecurity is built into their systems and services from the beginning, as well as being able to keep up with new threats and hazards by maintaining and updating their systems.
Firstly, understand the type of system you are building and its purpose. Build the system in a way that it is easy to maintain but also difficult to compromise or disrupt. In the event of a disruption, make it easy to detect and investigate compromises.
Hackers are able to obtain access to systems and networks by taking advantage of publicly reported flaws. As soon as a vulnerability is discovered, attackers will try to exploit it, often indiscriminately. Installing security upgrades as soon as possible is critical to safeguarding your organisation's systems (and crucial for any systems that might be exploited through the internet).
Vulnerabilities can be tougher to solve than others, and knowing which ones are the most critical and should be addressed first is part of a strong vulnerability management approach.
The three main things you need to do are keep your systems updated, develop a vulnerability management process and manage legacy equipment.
Identity and access management
System and service access must be safeguarded. It is just as crucial to figure out who or what requires access and under what circumstances. Establishing and proving user, device, or system identification must be done with high confidence to allow access control choices to be made. Attackers will have a difficult time posing as genuine users with an effective identity and access management strategy, while legitimate users will find it as straightforward as feasible to get the resources they require.
When developing appropriate identity and access management policies and processes, there are some things that need to be considered. Multi-factor authentication for all user accounts, MFA and other mitigations for privileged accounts and security monitoring to detect potential malicious behaviour are a few of them.
Protecting data is making sure it can not be altered or removed by someone else without permission. This includes ensuring that data is safeguarded when it is in transit, at rest, and at the conclusion of its useful life (that is, effectively sanitising or destroying storage media after use). Since you may not have complete control over the data, you should think about the safeguards you can put in place and the guarantees you may require from third parties in various situations. Other relevant security precautions should include keeping up-to-date, segregated and offline backups of any sensitive data, since ransomware assaults are becoming increasingly targeted and specific.
Logging and monitoring
If you want a clear picture of how your systems are being utilised, you need to keep a log of all activity. For example, when you have a security issue or concern, good logging practices will allow you to review what happened and how it affected your organisation. Organisations can notice occurrences that could be considered security incidents and take appropriate action in order to minimise the effect by actively monitoring logging information for signals of known attacks or odd system behaviour. This is what is meant by security monitoring.
Your logs can be used to generate insights and incident report plans, which can be highly beneficial in the future. Make use of this threat intelligence to get the most out of Cybersecurity.
As a result of incidents, organisations might lose money, time, and goodwill. Good incident management, however, can help minimise the damage when they do occur. It is possible to reduce the financial and operational effectiveness of an incident by detecting and responding immediately to the occurrence of it. Reputational damage can be minimised if the situation is handled well in the media spotlight. Finally, you will be better prepared for any future situations if you put what you have learned into practice following an incident.
To be ready for any incidents, you need to prepare and practice your response plans and incorporate the lessons learned from these incidents into organisational improvements.
Supply chain security
The vast majority of organisations rely on suppliers to supply products, systems and services. Having your suppliers targeted in a cyberattack might have the same impact on your organisation as having a cyberattack on your own organisation. It may be difficult to secure vast and complicated supply chains since vulnerabilities can be introduced or exploited at any step along the way.
Understanding your supply chain, which includes both commodity suppliers like cloud service providers and those with whom you have custom contracts, is the first step. Increasing the safety of your supply chain may be accomplished by having control and promoting ongoing improvement.
The overall goal of the 10 steps are to help organisations manage their Cybersecurity risks by breaking down the task of protecting the organisation into 10 components. Doing this reduces the likelihood of cyber attacks occurring, and minimises the impact to your organisation when incidents occur.
By mitigating risks, you put your organisation in a better position to respond, recover and keep existing customers happy, which is far more cost-effective than attracting new ones. However, this does not mean your growth will be stagnant. Cybersecurity is an attractive incentive for new customers to join, therefore it will only help you grow further.
If you want to learn more about Cybersecurity and how your organisation can benefit from them, read our comprehensive blog on Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials plus Certification.
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