4 min read  | Cyber safety

Understanding what cyber hygiene is and its importance for your cybersecurity

The key to maintaining network security and mitigating cyber threats lies in committing to the cyber hygiene of your organisation. This, of course, is true for any company because of how intertwined and how dependent our operations are on a certain level of cybersecurity. 

Today, a great deal of companies have identified the importance of being cyber aware and maintaining cyber hygiene. They understand that ongoing practices, which contribute to cyber hygiene, are what will safeguard their teams against cyber threats and threat actors that can cripple entire businesses and economies. 

In this post, we discuss a few key facts about cyber hygiene that may add value to your security strategies and operations. 

Cyber hygiene challenges may be more common than you think

Within your organisation, there may be multiple attack vectors that can be neutralised or mitigated with robust cyber hygiene. From your hardware and software to SaaS applications, many elements in your cybersecurity framework require regular and ongoing maintenance.

As each of these elements become more vulnerable over time with the inclusion of new vulnerabilities in the CVE, it’s important to identify common issues that impact your cyber health, which include:

  • Data loss
  • Misplaced data
  • Security breaches
  • Outdated software
  • Old security software
  • A lack of vendor risk management

Focus on risks to critical products and services

In our books, the first step to achieving optimum cyber hygiene is to focus on the risks you experience across your critical products and services. 

In this context, you can practise good cyber hygiene by identifying, prioritising, and responding to the risks and vulnerabilities that threaten your products and services.

It’s also important to recognise that these decisions, which can have a measurable impact on your business, should be considered through a defined risk analysis framework. Your teams need to be confident about the framework in place and rely on it to achieve the outcomes you’re after. 

Maintaining cyber hygiene is everyone’s job

Cybersecurity is no longer the sole duty of the IT department in your organisation. While there are certain tasks they’re trained for, maintaining cyber hygiene requires the input of every individual in an organisation. It really is an organisational effort and challenge.

This can prove to be a difficult task because of the threat landscape, which is in constant flux. 

This is not only because of the security vulnerabilities across your hardware, software, and protocols but also due to the threat actors that are becoming increasingly adept at social engineering tactics.

This is why every individual in your organisation needs to understand basic cyber hygiene practices and their role in protecting and maintaining organisation-wide security. One strategy you need to commit to, in this process, is frequent cybersecurity awareness training for your staff.

Cyber hygiene best practices are cybersecurity best practices

Here’s a little secret: there’s very little difference between cyber hygiene best practices and cybersecurity best practices. 

Apart from what we’ve already discussed, you can also implement the following principles to manage the most common and pervasive cybersecurity risks.

  • Establish an incident response plan
  • Establish network security and monitoring
  • Maintain access control based on privilege and maintain user access accounts
  • Manage technology changes and use standardised configurations
  • Implement controls to protect and recover data
  • Prevent and monitor malware exposures
  • Manage third-party cyber risks and external dependencies
  • Perform cyber threat and vulnerability monitoring and remediation
  • Automate your company’s security practices to reduce the impact of human error

Implement flexible cyber hygiene principles for maximum cyber health

Cyber hygiene is a business concern rather than just an IT problem. 

The principles you decide to implement across your organisation will not be the same at each stage of your growth. This is why your cyber hygiene principles must be flexible enough to meet the evolving cyber health needs of your organisation.

For support and guidance on how you can implement flexible guidelines for better cyber hygiene, get in touch with our team at Triskele Labs. Discover how you can strengthen your organisation’s cybersecurity posture while pursuing other business objectives and opportunities.