The Support Desk


Cyber Smart Week:

Strengthening Your Team's Defense with Essential Cyber Hygiene

As technology continues to advance, so does the need for heightened awareness. As well as proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Cybersecurity can seem like an insurmountable task for everyday people. But it’s not only a job for the IT team. Everyone can play a part in keeping their organization’s data safe. Not to mention their own data.

The last week of October is CERT’s Cyber Smart Week. It serves as a timely reminder that there are many ways to safeguard data. Following the basics can make a big difference in how secure your network remains.

What Is Cyber Smart Week?

Building New Zealand’s cyber resilience is critical to the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and with Kiwis losing almost $2 million a month to cyber criminals, it’s only becoming more important.  CERT NZ run a national awareness campaign every year, called Cyber Smart week. The theme for the campaign changes each time, but it’s always focused on good practices to help individuals become smarter about cyber security.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defense

Central to Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the promotion of essential cyber hygiene practices. We follow good hygiene to maintain physical health. For example, we brush our teeth every day.

Cybersecurity also requires ongoing good hygiene practices to secure the online environment. These practices form the foundation of a strong cybersecurity defense. They help both individuals and organizations.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a vital layer of security to all logins. In most cases, a hacker can’t breach an account protected by MFA. This is the case even if the cyber crook has the password.

According to Microsoft, MFA can block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks. With that strong track record, everyone really should be using it. And using it on every login they have.

Strong Passwords & a Password Manager

Passwords remain a critical aspect of securing online accounts. Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage your team members to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.

Companies can help by setting strong password enforcement rules. This requires a strong password before it’s accepted in a system. For example, you may set up a policy that requires a password to have:

    • At least 12 characters

    • At least 1 upper case letter

    • At least 1 lower case letter

    • At least 1 number

    • At least 1 symbol

Updating Software

Outdated software creates vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Regularly update operating systems, applications, and firmware. This ensures the latest security patches are in place.

Automating updates is a good way to ensure they’re done promptly. Companies can use endpoint device managers to handle updates across all employee devices. Managers like Intune simplify the process and enhance endpoint security.

Recognising and Reporting Phishing

Phishing attacks are a common vector for cyber threats. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender’s email address. As well as never provide sensitive information unless certain of the recipient’s authenticity.

It’s also important to educate employees about phishing beyond email. Phishing via text messages has been increasing significantly. Some criminals phish via direct messages on social media platforms.

Another important aspect of phishing awareness is to report phishing. If it’s reported, then other employees know to avoid that phishing trap. The organisation’s IT team also needs to know so they can take action to mitigate the threat. Be sure to let employees know how they can report a phishing email when they suspect one.

We Can Help You Put the Best Cyber Hygiene Practices in Place

CERT offers a valuable opportunity to refocus on the significance of cybersecurity. As well as prioritising essential cyber hygiene practices. Building a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team is important. It can be the difference between vulnerability and resilience. 

Need some help ensuring a more secure and resilient future? Our team of experts can get you going on the basics. Once those are in place, your organization will be more productive and much more secure.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.

Want to know more…

Click below to download our “12 Ways to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks” document.
 
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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.