What you need before the next vulnerability hits
Cyberattacks tend to come from two angles: criminals take advantage of employees with privileged access or of security weaknesses in your hardware/software infrastructure. These broad categories encompass attack vectors such as phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, misconfigurations, and vulnerability exploits.
To prevent bad actors exploiting vulnerabilities, you must take action to reduce or eliminate security risks.
Take stock of your software and get notifications for security issues
Understand which tools your software uses: First, understand which software tools your system uses to improve software security. By not actively maintaining software, you could have persistent vulnerabilities making your company a target for cybercriminals.
Software tools and vendors can have vulnerabilities that essentially become your company’s vulnerabilities. Understand what software you must protect and what routes a bad actor might use to acquire sensitive data.
Always stay updated: Keeping up to date with patches and notifications of security breaches is critical to keeping secure. Software teams must prioritize incoming security patches to close security holes as soon as possible.
Are your employees vulnerable?
The security risk of your employees: Any employee with access to data poses a security risk. When employees fall prey to phishing schemes or click on links and download malware, malicious actors can gain access to data. You must take action to reduce the risk each employee poses.
Actions to take include adding security measures to networks used by employees and monitoring those networks for malicious activity. Reduce each employee’s access to only what they require and nothing more. Educate employees on the dangers of using default passwords, password reuse, and how to identify suspicious emails.
Stay vigilant and aware: Be aware that both employees at your company and vendor companies can be a security risk. CircleCI, a continuous integration SaaS provider, recently discovered a security breach stemming from malware on one of their employee’s computers. This incident compromised software for those companies using their service, and they had to act quickly to eliminate the risk from that third-party breach.
Prioritize vulnerabilities and close holes
Prioritize vulnerabilities: Now that you are aware of security issues on your system, you must take steps to close them. Start by looking at and addressing the highest-risk security issues that expose sensitive data to cybercriminals, but eventually you should close all security holes. This is a never-ending process because software needs to be regularly updated to reduce security risks.
Set up protocols: Fixes can be applied to any attack vector cybercriminals use. To reduce risk from employees, you must educate employees to recognize potential attacks and enforce specific requirements with password maintenance and network privacy settings. Reducing risks from your software and infrastructure means determining which libraries are not appropriately maintained and which infrastructure settings may be outdated – and changing them. Some SaaS services will also help run vulnerability assessments to help you find where your next vulnerability lies.
Plan for attacks
Always be prepared: Cybercriminals will exploit vulnerabilities quickly, and companies should react quickly. One way to reduce cyberattack losses is to add monitoring and alerting to your IT environment.
Use proper tooling/software: SaaS companies can help monitor for unusual activity that may end up to be a security breach. Options typically include machine learning protocols that will monitor your system and detect when anomalies are present so your team can react. Fast notifications can allow fast action.
Cybersecurity maintenance is critical in a world where threats are more rampant than ever. To adequately address cybersecurity in your company, you must know where your vulnerabilities lie.
Software, cloud infrastructure, and human error can facilitate data breaches. Find where the most severe vulnerabilities lie and remedy them first, then prioritize and work towards fixing those vulnerabilities that are deemed less critical.
Plan for security breaches by putting a system in place that can detect security breaches as they arise and help assess your system for security vulnerabilities.