In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, the threat of cyber-attacks is becoming increasingly prevalent. As a result, it’s essential for businesses to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cyber security. One way to do this is through the implementation of the Essential Eight risk mitigation strategies. These strategies have been developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre and are designed to provide a strong baseline of protection against cyber threats.
But just how important are these strategies, and how do they work to protect your systems, network, and data? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why the Essential Eight risk mitigation strategies are so important and how they can help your organisation stay secure in the face of evolving cyber threats.
What is the Essential Eight?
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) developed the Essential Eight as a series of risk mitigation strategies organisations should implement in order to cover their cyber security posture. The eight strategies are aimed at three objectives: prevent attacks, limit impact, and data availability.
The eight mitigation strategies are:
When implementing the Essential Eight, organisations can track their cyber security compliance through the framework’s Maturity Model, which is comprised of four levels:
The maturity levels assess the tool, technique, and procedure capabilities your organisation has implemented, and their effectiveness at reducing risks.
Application control allows you to set policies and rules for application access, so you can control who can access certain apps and files. This helps prevent unauthorised access and ensures that users only have access to the data and programs they need to do their jobs. By limiting access to applications and systems, you will reduce the risk of insider threats, where employees misuse their access to steal or leak sensitive information.
Applications are prone to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorised access to data. These vulnerabilities can be caused by errors in the application’s code or outdated software. Patching applications involves updating them with the latest security patches that address any known vulnerabilities. This helps to eliminate security loopholes that cybercriminals could exploit to gain access to sensitive data.
Configure Microsoft 365 macro settings
Macros are small programs that automate tasks in Microsoft Office applications, but they can also be used by malicious actors to install malware on your system. Configuring your macro settings will limit the risk of this happening and protect your files from being compromised.
User application hardening
User application hardening is the process of securing your apps by adding additional layers of security. It involves using various tools and techniques to identify vulnerabilities in the code, and then patching them to prevent exploitation. Doing this will significantly reduce the risk of cyber-attacks, and protect your sensitive data.
Restrict admin privileges
Admin privileges refer to the level of access granted to users, allowing them to make changes to system settings or install software. When admin privileges are granted to unauthorised users or third-party vendors, they can potentially introduce malicious software or exploit vulnerabilities in the system. This can lead to data breaches or data leaks.
Only individuals who require access to sensitive information should be granted admin privileges. By limiting access to the bare minimum, you can reduce the number of potential attack vectors and make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your network.
Patch operating systems
Operating systems are complex pieces of software that need to be constantly being updated to fix vulnerabilities and improve performance. These vulnerabilities are weaknesses in the software that can be exploited by malicious actors to gain unauthorised access to your system. They can be caused by coding errors, design flaws, or configuration issues.
Patching your operating system is a critical step in protecting your data and preventing cyber-attacks. By installing updates on a regular basis, you can ensure that your system is protected against the latest threats and vulnerabilities.
Multi-factor authentication is a security identification method which requires users to input two or more pieces of identification to access an account, system, or device. This could be a password, authenticator app, one-time code sent to another device, security token, or biometric data like a fingerprint.
MFA makes it much more difficult for cybercriminals to impersonate legitimate users and gain access to sensitive information, even if they have managed to obtain a user’s password.
Daily data backups
Backing up your data is critical for ensuring that your business can recover quickly in the event of an incident. There are several ways to backup your data, including cloud-based solutions, external hard drives, and network-attached storage devices. Choose a backup solution that fits your needs and budget while providing robust security features.
Talk to the experts about implementing the Essential Eight risk mitigation strategies
With the threat of cyber-attacks on the rise, it’s crucial that businesses take necessary steps to protect themselves against these threats. Implementing the Essential Eight techniques will help prevent the spread of malicious software, and protect your business.
The cyber security specialists at Platform 24 are highly experienced implementing and managing the Essential Eight for organisations of all industries. They will audit your entire business, and fully deploy and manage your security environment to align your cyber security posture with the Essential Eight. Talk to them today and find out more.