Mitigating risk through cyber hygiene
As the landscape of cyber threats continues to expand and evolve, more organizations are seeking to improve security through effective cyber hygiene. Many successful attacks today are the result of lapses in security best practices – perhaps a port is left open, an administrator’s privileges aren’t updated, or a patch isn’t implemented in a timely way. These lapses in security hygiene present opportunities for attackers who are constantly looking for any crack in an organization’s defenses.
Cyber hygiene is essentially a set of practices and tasks an organization can execute to keep systems, data, and users safe and well-protected. By regularly checking, adjusting, and updating patches, security controls, configurations, and inventories, strong security hygiene reduces the attack surface and minimizes the likelihood of a data breach.
As the world’s leading Security Ratings platform, BitSight provides a suite of solutions that enable organizations to continuously monitor their own cyber hygiene as well as the security posture of third-party vendors, helping to mitigate risk in the supply chain.
What are the keys to good cyber hygiene?
Effective cyber hygiene begins with an understanding of best practices for improving security and reducing risk, such as those identified in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. By mapping existing security practices to the NIST framework, security teams can evaluate their current level of cyber hygiene and take steps to improve it.
These cyber security policy examples highlight suggestions for effective security hygiene:
- Inventorying assets to understand what hardware and software is running on a network or is connected to it.
- Configuring security settings appropriately and consistently to protect systems and data.
- Managing user authentication effectively to ensure only authorized individuals have administrative privileges and access to sensitive information.
- Regularly updating all applications, software, operating systems, and hardware with patches and updates soon after they become available.
- Monitoring and analyzing audit logs to detect, identify, and recover quickly from attacks.
- Monitoring and updating defenses that protect data, applications, and hardware.
- Establishing a security awareness training program for employees and vendors.
- Building an incident response and management program.
- Deploying network security and monitoring.
- Managing cyber risks associated with third-party suppliers, as early as the procurement phase.
- Performing cyber threat and vulnerability monitoring and remediation.
To improve cyber hygiene, organizations must continuously monitor their efforts on each of these tasks and alert security teams to lapses in best practices. That’s where BitSight Security Ratings can provide invaluable assistance.
Monitoring cyber hygiene with BitSight
BitSight transforms how companies manage information security risk through objective, verifiable, and actionable Security Ratings. Founded in 2011, BitSight pioneered the cybersecurity ratings industry with an outside-in approach that provides an objective and verifiable measurement of an organization’s security performance.
In contrast to cyber security assessment tools that examine a company’s policies or conduct periodic scans, BitSight issues ratings that are based on evidence of compromised systems, security diligence, user behavior, and data breaches. This evidence-based measure of performance is a more effective way of evaluating security posture and has been proven to correlate to breach.
When used for monitoring cyber hygiene, BitSight Security Ratings allow security teams to easily see how well their programs are aligned to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. BitSight can monitor cyber hygiene both for an organization and for the hundreds or thousands of vendors in its supply chain.