With threat actors becoming more creative, social engineering attacks evolve as well, making it increasingly difficult to protect your organization. Our last cybersecurity blog on cyber hygiene explores the importance of implementing cyber hygiene policies and continuous user education.
Here are five steps to help put your organization in the best possible position to defend against cyber threats that lurk online.
1. Learn how to detect a potential social engineering attack
Whether in the form of phishing, ransomware, or pretexting — among others — social engineering attacks are dangerous and often hard to pinpoint. The ability to detect them as soon as possible is vital to protecting your organization against such cyber threats.
Every single member of your organization should learn how to detect a potential social engineering attack. All it takes is one employee to click on the wrong link or send personal information to the wrong person, for a large-scale data breach to occur.
Here’s a list of data and communication exchanges that you should think twice about before offering or engaging in:
- Requests for user or shared credentials
- Requests for contractual or financial information
- Requests for personal information
- Unusual or suspicious links and files
- Unusual or suspicious phone calls
2. Educate users on devices
User education on devices is a straightforward, yet vital step in protecting them. It ensures that every member of your organization is aware of the best practices around protecting your organization data. While this begins at onboarding, educating your employees on how to secure their devices is an ongoing process.
Whether it be for a 5-minute washroom break or a 10-minute chat with your co-worker, locking your devices before you leave your workstation is an essential starting point since your password acts as the first line of defense.
Refraining from using third-party applications that haven’t been approved by your IT department is also a key factor, as it ensures that you’re not using any vulnerable programs that could be exploited. You should also limit any unnecessary use of personal devices for work. Instead, use the devices made available by your organization to help reduce the risk of a cyber attack.
3. Implement multi-factor authentication and password management
Password management policies and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are essential when it comes to securing your devices. While a password’s role is straight forward, consistently rotating a strong and randomized password is just as crucial.
It’s important to change all default passwords on your devices, as this is a vulnerability often exploited by threat actors. And of course, never share your passwords — with anyone.
MFA is also key to securing your systems, as it forces the user to confirm their credentials through a secure, secondary application every time a device is used.
4. Keep up with software and hardware best practices
Software and hardware physical security best practices help to ensure that you’re doing all you can to secure your organization, whether it be choosing systems with built-in defense functions or regularly updating your software and hardware.
Choosing systems with built-in layers of defense strengthens your organization’s cybersecurity the minute they’re up and running. With many solutions containing built-in security functions like data encryption and endpoint protection, these obstacles make it harder for threat actors to penetrate your systems.
When it comes to software updates, many overlook the important role that they play in helping to secure your organization. Prioritize updating the software and firmware on all your devices, as this allows them to function at their optimal level. Product updates often provide critical fixes for newfound vulnerabilities.
5. Choose the right technology
Finding a technology provider that offers the solutions you need, all while operating with transparency, is not easy. While it may take time to decide which vendor is the right fit for your organization, it’s an important step towards shaping your ideal security solution.
Most vendors offer their customers hardening guides — guides that provide tips on how to keep your system secure — so ask the right questions to ensure you receive your vendors’ relevant data and privacy protection policies.
Choosing the right technology is central to a strong cybersecurity strategy, as operating with transparency and maintaining clear communication around vulnerabilities allows your organization to create an optimal cybersecurity strategy.
Maintaining your cybersecurity is an ongoing process
With the constant flow of people throughout your organization, especially in the form of new and departing employees, educating each member of your organization on cybersecurity best practices is an endless process.
While it begins at onboarding, both new and existing employees require constant reminders and updates on the steps that they must take, every day, to protect your organization against an evolving number of cyber threats.
To keep up with best practices, check out our cybersecurity video series.
About the AuthorMore content by Mathieu Chevalier