Tips for Cyber Hygiene to Keep Your Digital Privacy

  • By Greg Brown
  • Dec 05, 2022

what is cyber hygiene

Progressive organizations and tech-savvy individuals must proactively develop fundamental rules protecting their digital infrastructure. Cybersecurity is necessary for any digital foundation, including hardware, software, devices, networks, and IT infrastructure.

Organizations of all sizes have fallen victim to devastating cyber attacks, with some attacks bringing the company to its knees. Cyber threats are everywhere and do not stop with large complex organizations. How an enterprise prepares for these threats is now part of the new normal.

Cyber-hygiene is a set of routine best practices every organization or individual must take to ensure operational resilience and build a solid digital foundation. Any gap in coverage, from endpoint to endpoint, and the inevitable malicious code attacks within minutes, bring devastating results. Every involved person in the organization must take it upon themselves to find and mitigate digital health problems.

What Constitutes a Good Cyber-Hygiene Routine?

The onus of cyber-hygiene is not on a single department or technician; instead, the responsibility must be shared across the organization. A company’s security posture is in constant flux, responding to the ever-changing cyber threat to its networks and data.

tips for cyber hygiene

  • According to the World Economic Forum and its Global Risks Report of 2022, ninety-five percent of all cyber security issues can be traced back to human error. It is essential for executive management and company ownership to carefully control who manages security settings and any relevant information within the organization. 

To ensure the company has adequate cyber hygiene awareness, a single individual or small group must centrally manage all IT inventory. No matter how small or large the organization, there should be documentation of the software employed by which user on which device. Every piece of deployed hardware should be tracked, along with its availability. 

Notification structures should be put in place across the enterprise, alerting the powers that be of any risky hardware or software detected on the network. 

  • A scalable cyber-security framework must be installed and working correctly. The framework should be based on existing network standards, guidelines, and best practices to ensure compatibility with other organizations and vendors. Each organization should customize the framework based on its unique threats and vulnerabilities. There are three main components to a secure framework:
  1. The Core is the basis of the framework; it guides and manages cyber security risk.
  2. Framework Tiers provide context on how organizations view cyber-security risks.
  3. Profiles are an organization’s alignment and risk appetite.
  • Cybercriminals look for outdated software to gain entry into operating systems and networks. A survey by IBM and the Ponemon Institute found that 42% of respondents stated that the cause of a data breach was the lack of a proper patch. The survey also found that patches were available but never applied. To combat this problem, there should be an automatic screen throughout the network that looks for outdated software and missing patches. With up-to-date knowledge, IT admins can install updates in the background with minimal interruption. 

Establishing an effective cyber-hygiene protocol means starting from the ground floor and controlling every aspect of the company’s life. The first objective is to know what you have, meaning a thorough inventory must be completed. Each device and all software applications must be documented and brought up to date. Critical systems must be identified, and extra steps must be taken to secure the object before it is used for unlawful entry. 

Smaller companies can use a basic spreadsheet application to list all critical systems. Larger organizations will find the process complex and should find a way to automate the process.

  • User permissions are an effective means of controlling access to the network. End devices have grown in sophistication; however, the problem is they are controlled by humans and the errors that come with them. Another startling survey in 2022 by the World Economic Forum found that 95% of all cyber security threats and attacks can be traced back to human interaction errors. Knowing which persons have access to security settings and their control is vital. Assigning user permissions can be time-consuming, but it is necessary to control the network. 
  • Strong password management is one of the most basic and effective means of controlling entry into a company’s network. Several surveys have been conducted and found that most people use the same password for every device and application without the help of a password manager. Users’ response to the dilemma, they find it challenging to remember multiple passwords. A reputable password manager must be employed, and the results should be stored in an encrypted database, with only a few people having access. 
  • Multi-factor authentication is an added step organizations of all sizes must rely on. A single password to critical systems is too easy for a hacker. Different verification methods, such as answering personal questions or codes sent to cell phones, need to be used. MFA is an easy way to add an extra level of security to the organization. 

Cybersecurity solutions are now plentiful for most attack vectors. However, brilliant predators are constantly devising new ways to crack open the enterprise network, regardless of size. Data backups must be performed regularly by automating the backup process. Circumvent human error with network automation as much as possible.

Final Word

Cyber hygiene starts with a well-planned framework for success. When choosing the right solution for your company, look for solid answers that have performed well in the past. Always watch for new and technologically advanced breakthroughs to implement on the network. 

Use automated remediation tactics to find problems and solutions with policy violations, cloud infrastructure, and network issues. Be aware of zero-day threats that can take advantage of network vulnerabilities. Develop strategies to take care of these and all other known cyber attacks.

No matter the company’s size, it is essential to always be on the lookout for malicious code and the means to secure your system. In today’s modern world, no single approach works on every type of malicious code. Everyone in the organization must be aware of potential cyber problems and do their part to secure the network.

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