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Your 2021 Resolution: Take These Five Cybersecurity Steps Right Now

In case you missed it, 2020 gave us one final reminder of the importance of a solid cybersecurity plan for your network infrastructure and critical data. A Russian hack that befell numerous government and corporate entities by exploiting third-party software was just the latest threat to our cyber-interests (you can read more about the hack here).

Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic creating hundreds of home-based remote “offices” and exposing our data to public networks, you already should have been taking steps to implement a best practices posture around cybersecurity. If you are still wrapping your arms around the data protection considerations of the “new normal,” here are five things you can do right now to start 2021 with a proactive approach to cybersecurity:

  1. Know Your Hardware and Software Assets: Comprehensive cybersecurity coverage begins with an understanding of your digitally-connected assets — all devices and software run by your organization and its people. Take special care to secure business devices while disconnecting unauthorized personal assets from your network. Also, be sure to monitor access to your network and keep a log of all authentication errors and other unusual behavior.
  2. Go Beyond Default Configurations: Your organization is unique — so, too, should be your cybersecurity program. Depending upon the number of mobile devices, laptops and workstations that are connected to your network, you will want to make sure you are using a custom-designed security configuration that accounts for all of these potential access points. Be sure to change old protocols, uninstall any pre-installed bloatware, and close any open ports.
  3. Eyes On, 24/7: Make sure you maintain (or contract for) a 24×7 cybersecurity monitoring program to manage vulnerabilities, monitor and detect threats, and respond to malicious and risky activity — in real time. Make sure you communicate the steps that associates should take to report, and escalate, issues that could ultimately impact your network’s security.
  4. Protect Your Administrative Credentials: Top-level system access should be treated with Fort Knox-like sensitivity and security. Admin credentials can be extremely valuable to hackers looking to create havoc within your network. Eliminate any duplicate or simple credentials; consider multi-factor authorization; and enforce policies regarding the relative strength of passwords.
  5. Get a Security Consultation: If you don’t have a solid strategy around the first four steps, it’s likely time to consult with a cybersecurity expert who can help you analyze your current level of protection and recommend a best-practices approach. At CTI, we are committed to helping our customers succeed, and would be pleased to offer you a cybersecurity consultation to get the ball rolling.