Strategies to Protect Your Data from Cyber Threats and Mitigate the Risk

December 11, 2020

Multinational businesses seem to put more effort into securing their data while hackers are targeting small businesses as their softer side.

The fact by USA TODAY cited that, “Almost two-thirds of all cyberattacks are now directed at a small business, people.” However, it is vital to manage the cyber risks for all companies before their systems get compromised. Companies that don’t patch their software across their entire enterprise are a victim of hacker’s fun games. However, mitigation strategies have always help to reduce the mission impact. So, what are the necessary steps to mitigate cybersecurity risk in the future? Below are some steps following the cybersecurity framework five functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover

Privileged Access Management System and Secure the Account

Identify, Protect

It is very necessary to assign privileges based on their level. The principle of least privilege (PoLP), allows to access only the information and resources that are necessary for its legitimate purpose. Therefore, using a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution will help to manage credentials as well as give priority to access control. Access control will help to secure data from threat actors. Another solution is to create modules/plans to securely update or reset credentials in timely manner.

Up-To-Date Software and Patch it Immediately and Promptly 

Identify, Protect

N-day exploits have become very serious like a zero-day attack. Vendors admit the fault in the software and start repairing it publicly. But before the system is updated, attackers get a chance to target those systems. Therefore, vendors should have trustworthy and protected links to sign and deliver new updates. Hence, it is very necessary to update the security system and vulnerability assessment test before adding new features to the system. A rapid and thorough patch can help to eliminate threat actors to disrupt the patch cycle.

Be Wary of Network Intrusions

Detect, Respond, Recovery

It’s always good to stay ahead of everything and be proactive rather than planning recovery actions after the compromised action. A passive mechanism of monitoring the network is jeopardizing the company’s security and data. So, carefully monitor, analyze, and take actions to detect and remove unauthorized activity being performed within the digital network. A company should always be ready to remove threat actors and perform active operations to hunt down anomalous behaviors. Performing penetration testing and drills along with proper well-documented incident response help to address any breaches. These mitigation strategies will ensure organizations to detect real-time threat detection.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Identify, Protect

This is one of the strong tools to mitigate cyber risks. Organizations must not only depend on single-factor authentication which is a poor choice and is very susceptible to forgery, credentials hacks, and many other illegal uses. Physical token-based authentications are very necessary to enhance the security of passwords and pins. Multi-Factor Authentication Service (MFA Service) requires two or more steps to verify a user’s identity. This provides an additional layer of security to their accounts.

Use Applications- Firewall and Antivirus to Segregate Networks 

Detect, Protect

We all know how much it is important to have a strong firewall and antivirus. These applications examine and monitor the incoming and outgoing network traffics according to the predefined set of rules. Hence, enterprises must segregate their critical networks and deploy appropriate applications to block malicious, unauthorized, and improper traffic. To add up, a company must be aware of encryption and obfuscation techniques that often trick applications and fail to defend the entire system.

Plan Ahead for System Recovery

Identify, Respond, Recover

There should always be a back-up plan. The company should follow the recovery strategy to restore destroyed data through proper documentation. An advance plan should be implemented to protect critical and sensitive data. Proper configurations and logs should be restored to enable continuity of operations after a destroyed system. Backups must be encrypted and stored offsite. These backups should be constantly tested, scanned, and updated. It is also very essential to update the plans according to the changing network environment. Exercising a recovery and restore plan is very useful and important mitigation for ransomware and other threats as well as natural calamities.

There are several other ways to mitigate cyber threats and we should always be prepared in the event of an attack. Below are more useful resources:

About the author

Priya Thapa

A dedicated and driven security professional, an expert in Cybersecurity as well as an experienced Software Developer. Inspired by Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of Theoretical Computer Science, I am very fascinated by cryptography and deciphering secret codes. That's my main inspiration to choose my career path in cybersecurity. Besides this, I have an interest in exploring and learning about the universe, traveling, sketching, solving puzzles, games, and cooking as well.