If you’ve read the news lately, you’re probably aware of the extreme jump in cyber attacks over the past few years. Whether it’s a ransomware attack taking down an entire oil pipeline, a security breach and a major credit reporting agency, or a large-scale theft of personal information, cyber attacks are growing more prevalent and sophisticated every day. Organizations must take up arms against these threats to safeguard their businesses, clients, and data.
Managing infrastructure security is a big part of this. Companies can stay ahead of the curve and keep their businesses safe using a security operations center, software tools, best practices, and a team of IT specialists. Here are some best practices for maintaining infrastructure security and using these tools effectively.
Conducting Regular Risk Assessments
Risk assessments and audits can seem like a prolonged and tedious process. But they’re an essential part of cybersecurity. They help you be proactive and take preemptive measures against vulnerabilities. Regular risk assessments allow you to easily identify vulnerabilities and prioritize your risks based on your findings. It can also help you develop appropriate security controls to protect critical infrastructure. A thorough assessment should include identifying the current state of your infrastructure, finding vulnerabilities within the environment, prioritizing risks based on potential impact (on business operations or customer data privacy), and determining appropriate security controls for risk mitigation/management. Organizations should also use penetration testing, or a type of ethical hacking, to determine if there’s a problem with their infrastructure. And in these scenarios, somebody in house or a paid third party will attempt to breach the system. The penetration test results can help companies proactively fix problems before they become an issue. Vulnerability testing is also an important way to protect infrastructure. Companies can stay safer in an increasingly dangerous cyber security environment by regularly monitoring and conducting risk assessments.
Password Policies and Utilizing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Passwords and strong password policies are critical to protecting digital information from unauthorized access. Passwords are one of the most common ways to protect information, but they’re not super effective. First off, passwords can be weak and easy to crack. Most people are too lazy or incapable of creating strong passwords. That can also pose a problem. Passwords are easily stolen during hacks as well. Making stronger passwords that include a mix of different numbers and characters can help, and so can changing them frequently. But there are other ways to protect access. These include biometric controls such as fingerprints, multi-factor authentication that adds an additional security layer to every log-in, and password managers to help keep track of everything in a single place. Using better password practices and implementing multi-factor authentication can help prevent cyber attacks while protecting sensitive information. This is increasingly critical every day and should be a top priority for any organization.
Implementing Strong Access Controls
Another helpful and easy-to-use way of protecting infrastructure is to limit access to resources. This comes down to using IAM—identity and access management—controls to help limit who can access what on a network, app, system, or database. Authentication, authorization/user roles, and tracking access are all part of this process. IAM also uses some of the methods we’ve already discussed here, such as passwords and multi-factor authentication, to help improve overall security. But they also help reinforce security through regular updates to access permission, limiting certain users from accessing certain systems, and helping organizations meet regulatory requirements. A combination of IAM and infrastructure security software can help prevent employees and endpoints from becoming infrastructure security threats. Simply put, with most companies moving into remote work and assets or devices being on different networks, data can become more vulnerable than usual. So, restricting access and using software to help monitor access points is vital to perfecting cybersecurity infrastructure and safeguarding your sensitive data.
Keeping Software and Systems Up-to-Date
Keeping software and systems up-to-date is an important part of managing infrastructure security. Software patches are released regularly to fix security vulnerabilities, so there’s really no excuse not to keep your software and systems current. Due to the revolving door nature and consistent evolution of cyber threats, software developers are always trying to address risk as much as possible. Adding software can have security flaws that make it easier for hackers to exploit a system. Failure to update software can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and other negative consequences that can impact the business, its customers, and its reputation. Keeping all your software up to date, including operating systems and customer point of sale systems, is critical for keeping your infrastructure safe and protecting everything that matters to your organization.
Using Network Segmentation
A pragmatic and helpful method of reinforcing infrastructure security is using network segmentation. In network segmentation, networks are divided into subnets with each having their own security control and policy procedures. This effectively protects critical systems from non-currency systems and limits the amount of sensitive information/ resources that move between them. Because of that, you can improve performance, optimize traffic between computers, and increase data privacy by preventing others from seeing what’s happening on your network. Network segmentation allows for better control over your network and its assets. It also improves network reliability and security with much more control over your organization’s most essential assets.