Resolve for Better IT Security in 2018

December 28, 2017
Backup, Compliance, Data Protection, Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, IT Security, IT Services, Manufacturing, Retail

Resolve for Better IT Security in 2018

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, but don’t expect cyber-thieves to resolve to discontinue their malicious ways. If anything, they are likely to employ even more nefarious methods of stealing data and disrupting your IT systems this coming year. That’s why it’s so important for your organization to continue upping its IT security.

Here are a few suggestions for enhancing your IT security efforts for 2018:

1. Protect Against KRACK Attacks

Wi-Fi vulnerability is a growing concern, particularly now with KRACK — short for Key Reinstallation AttaCK. When a Wi-Fi client device attempts to connect to a protected Wi-Fi network, a hacker can intercept the authentication process, enabling it to eavesdrop on all data sent and received over the network. It also lets hackers use HTTP content injection to sneak malicious code into the websites or infect devices with ransomware or viruses.

To protect against this Wi-Fi security issue:

  • Make sure you have up-to-date operating software or firmware and anti-virus programs on all devices
  • Encourage employees and other stakeholders to only visit sites with HTTPS connections when on public Wi-Fi networks, even if they are password-protected   
  • Require employees and other stakeholders to use a VPN (from a trusted provider) to connect to the internet when off-site
  • Use only encrypted communication protocols between servers and clients. 

2. Tap Next-generation IAM Tools

With more organizations leveraging the cloud, BYOD, new customer engagement models and other trends and technologies, their business processes are traversing a wide range of user populations, devices, and hosting models. As a result, their security boundaries are eroding.

Cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) tools, particularly those that handle identity governance administration (IGA), can help. They enhance security by helping to ensure, in the words used in the Gartner IT Glossary, that the “right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.” These tools also can enhance organizational agility by applying up-to-date access controls and monitoring ongoing compliance, and speeding up employee onboarding.

Look for flexible hybrid deployment models that can accommodate both cloud and on-premises delivery, and that can easily be integrated with SIEM, DLP and similar security products. The best among them can govern data access at granular levels for both structured and unstructured data types as well. If they employ robust identity analytics, all the better. 

3. Make Backup a Priority

We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again. One of the most important way to keep data safe is by backing it up regularly. Backup creates data copies at regular intervals that are saved to a hard drive, tape, disk or virtual tape library and stored offsite. If you lost your original data, you could retrieve copies of it. This is particularly useful if your data had become corrupted at some point. You simply “roll back” to a copy of the data before it was corrupted.

Backup is also a cost-effectives means of meeting certain compliance requirements and for granular recovery, such as recovering a single user’s emails from three years ago. It serves as a “safety net” of sorts for your data, and has a distinct place in your BC/DR plan.

You can opt for a third-party vendor to handle your backups. For maximum efficiency and security, companies that offer cloud-based backups many be preferable. Some allow you to backup data from any physical or virtual infrastructure, or Windows workstation, to their cloud service. You can then access your data any time, from anywhere. Some also offer backups as a managed service, handling everything from remediation of backup failures to system/file restores to source.

4. Stay Up to Date

Installing the latest patches and upgrades for software and firmware on servers, endpoints and other devices isn’t sexy or exciting, and often seems like a never-ending endeavor. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best ways to help keep hackers away. Just patching the vulnerabilities that are more than a year old would protect against many of today’s common attacks. 

Make patch management a top priority, and install patches at least within a week or two of their availability. Make sure to discontinue use of any end-of-life, unsupported or even bootleg software. You should also regularly inventory IT assets to make sure no one is still using retired or unauthorized assets.  

5. Get Your Logs in Order

Security and audit logs provide vital information for root cause analysis when security incidents take place. Replicating and isolating log data also eliminates the risk of attackers deleting log data to hide security breaches.  With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect in May 2018, logging everything will be more important than ever.

Make sure to develop a well-defined log strategy. Specify logging methods and tools, data hosting locations, and what information you want. Consider the format of your logs to make it easier to identify and extract insights from your logs.

Automatically collect and forward logs to a centralized location, separate from the production environment. That way, those who need the information can access it without affecting the production environment.  

Just the Beginning

The IT security tips are just a few of the many that your organization should be keeping top-of-mind in 2018. The fact is your IT systems can never be too secure.

For more information on protecting your data and IT systems, take advantage of the free resources below from US Signal. Or talk to a US Signal expert.  Call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected]

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