9 cyber security best practices for the private sector

by Riversafe

The private sector is a prime target for cyber threats. This is not only because they have so much to lose – their reputation, customers and finances – but also due to the lack of focus on cyber security in these organisations.

Cyber security breaches can put private sector businesses under extreme risk – so companies need to start taking notice. We’ve outlined how private sector businesses can address these threats and boost their defences.

What measures can businesses take to strengthen their cybersecurity?

There are many simple measures a business can take to strengthen their cybersecurity. You’ve probably encountered most of them using your own personal accounts and devices. And while some password or authentication requirements may seem a bit superfluous, they can actually make a huge difference.

Any individual can take these steps and they’re a quick way to add to your digital defences:

  • Regularly change passwords
  • Use different passwords for all accounts
  • Get rid of old, unused accounts
  • Update your software
  • Use two-factor authentication
  • Stay alert for scams
  • Use a password manager tool

But as a business, you’ll likely encounter more sophisticated and more frequent cyber-attacks than an individual. Combatting these threats definitely starts with the suggestions above – but more advanced techniques are required to truly defend your systems. That’s why it’s important to make cybersecurity a priority.

Here are 9 factors that any business should include in their cyber security strategy:

1. Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber security awareness is your first line of defence. Understanding the difference between spam materials and legitimate ones can save you from being infiltrated. Awareness of online fraud and how to detect it should be implemented throughout your security policy and staff.

2. Training

Your employees will be a point of attack for fraudsters, so make sure they know your security procedures and how to follow them. This follows on from awareness but requires a more in-depth process. Training programmes should include both cyber security awareness and specific education on the company’s online security policies, software, and best practices.

3. Security Tools

Having the right security tools is essential. Your reactive legacy solutions likely won’t cut it in today’s cyber landscape. Introduce modern and proactive tools such as next gen SIEM, UBA and SOAR. Using machine learning and threat intelligence, UBA and SIEM will analyse and detect attack patterns or anomalies to identify sophisticated attacks. SOAR then enables automated responses to security incidents, for more efficient risk mitigation.

4. Data Management

Disorganised or unstructured data management can easily lead to security weaknesses. Data silos can occur through lack of team communication, isolated data lakes, or poor data understanding. These disconnected areas in your system provide hackers with an open backdoor. Introducing a robust data management solution can help plug these gaps.

RELATED: Why data silos impact your cyber security

5. Security and Risk Assessments

Implementing a security strategy isn’t a one-off software upload. It requires consistent and thorough maintenance to keep performing the way it should. Performing regular risk assessments and security evaluations will ensure you’re taking a proactive approach against cyber threats.

RELATED: Risk management is cyber security assessments

6. Regular Updates

Similarly, you should always ensure your software and cyber strategies are up to date. Your operating system and firewall updates will include protection from the most recent threats.

7. Revaluate your Digital Strategies

Technology and the digital landscape are always changing. And your OS, networks and tools need to be constantly reviewed to keep up. For example, as companies start to migrate to the cloud, your security solutions and procedures need to be tailored to consider this network change.

8. Comprehensive Strategies

Attacks can happen from all areas of your digital platform. Hackers can infiltrate through emails, application passwords, web browsers, mobile devices and much more. That’s why you need a multitude of security solutions; including firewalls, encryption, two-factor authentication, anti-virus, cloud security, threat intelligence, and DevOps to name a few.

Cyber security also works best when it’s integrated with your overall business strategy and other processes. If it isn’t considered a high-level priority, or is only introduced for the IT team, you’re much more likely to create vulnerabilities.

RELATED: SIEM alone can’t stop insider threats

9. Consult an Advisor

Every business is different, so consulting an advisor can help you understand exactly what measures you need to implement. A cyber security expert will be able to tailor your strategy to your needs and ensure no areas are neglected or left vulnerable.

What is the NIST framework?

The NIST cybersecurity framework is a policy, or guide, to creating better defences against cyber-attacks. It aims to standardise cyber security procedures to make cybersecurity for businesses easier, more integrated and more effective.

The main considerations of a NIST framework are the following:

  • Identification
  • Protection
  • Detection
  • Response
  • Recovery

Using these elements, a business can create a comprehensive cyber security strategy to combat cyber criminals and security attacks.

Are there any other solutions to cyber threats?

There isn’t one single solution or strategy that is correct. And the way a business decides to deal with cyber security threats may vary. What is essential is that you align your strategy to how your business functions as whole, your company objectives, your team procedures, and the common threats your business faces.

To ensure you get the right solution, it can be useful to perform a company audit and/or hire a professional to create a custom strategy.

What cyber security challenges are private sector businesses facing?

The biggest threat to the private sector is not taking cyber security seriously. Private sector businesses are undertaking an increasing amount of cyber security attacks. Cyber criminals are also getting more prepared and skilled in their approach. Yet in the face of rising cyber threats, businesses aren’t reinforcing their cyber defences.

There are many reasons for this, including the perception of low cost-benefit, no in-team expertise, time costs, and negative publicity of security weaknesses. Essentially, businesses would rather absorb the cost of a cyber-attack than defend against it.

How can we overcome these problems?

Cyber security is often viewed as complex, costly or futile. But there are many important business strategies which naturally integrate cyber security considerations. There are not only a seamless way to implement effective cyber security policies into your business, but also ensure you see greater value from your cyber strategies.

Is DevOps used in cyber security?

DevSecOps is the practice of integrating cyber security into your standard DevOps procedures. This encourages collaboration between IT and development teams, and security teams. What this does is ensure your cyber security tools are introduced early on in the software lifecycle, improving its protection now and down the line.

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By getting these teams to communicate, cyber security becomes a primary consideration rather than an afterthought. It’s a proactive approach to cyber security which puts defence at the forefront of development.

Our experts are available for a chat or a consultation about your cyber security, just get in touch.


By Riversafe

Experts in DevOps, Cyber Security and Data Operations