2022 showed us there has been an increase in the number and severity of cyber-attacks.
These attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and are causing more damage to individuals, organisations, and governments. They are also becoming more targeted, with attackers focusing on specific industries. This has led to an increase in the need for better cybersecurity measures and practices to protect against these threats.
For Australian business, medium sized enterprises had the highest economic loss per report. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported an average monetary loss of $88,407 per organisation.
“Between July & December 2021, there were 464 notified data breaches in Australia. 55% of these were criminal breaches.”
– anspired COO, Leon Black.
Whilst there is no guaranteed solution in preventing a cyber security occurrence, there are certain strategies your organisation can implement to significantly reduce its risk and protect its sensitive data.
So, what is the Essential 8?
The Essential Eight is a comprehensive set of strategies that address common vulnerabilities that are exploited by cyber criminals and are considered essential for protecting an organisation’s network and data. These strategies are:
This technique is designed to block the execution of malicious software and unapproved or unknown applications, which can be a significant source of security threats.
Application control can be implemented on a wide range of devices, including servers, desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, and it is a crucial step in protecting against unknown and malicious software.
Patching refers to the process of updating software to fix known vulnerabilities or bugs. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to a system or steal sensitive information. It is important to keep all software up to date, including not only the operating system but also applications such as web browsers, email clients, and office suites.
Configure Microsoft Office macro settings
Macros are small programs that can automate repetitive tasks in Microsoft Office applications. However, they can also be used by attackers to deliver malware or perform malicious actions on a victim’s computer.
In Microsoft Office, macro settings can be configured through the Trust Centre, allowing you to control settings such as disabling macros, setting a security level, and creating a list of trusted sources.
User application hardening
This can be achieved by removing unnecessary features and functions, disabling insecure options, and implementing security controls such as input validation and error handling.
Hardening can be applied to a wide range of applications including web browsers, email clients, office applications, and even mobile applications.
For example, in email clients, disabling the preview pane and configuring spam filters can help to prevent phishing attacks.
Restrict Administrative Privileges
The strategy involves limiting the number of users who have administrative access to a system and ensuring that only authorised users with a valid business need have access to sensitive data. This can be achieved by implementing the principle of least privilege, which ensures that users are only given the minimum level of access required to perform their job duties.
Implementing this strategy can help reduce the risk of a cyber-attack by limiting the potential damage that can be caused by a compromised account, and by making it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive data and systems.
Patch operating systems
This refers to the process of updating the software of the operating system to fix known vulnerabilities or bugs.
Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorised access to a system or steal sensitive information. It is important to keep the operating system up to date to ensure that the latest security patches and updates are installed.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security technique that requires the use of multiple forms of authentication to gain access to a system or application. This technique is designed to provide an additional layer of security to traditional username and password-based authentication. MFA is an effective way to improve the security of systems and applications by requiring multiple forms of authentication, and it is considered a best practice in cybersecurity.
Regular backups are a strategy to protect data by creating a copy of it, in case of data loss, deletion, corruption or a cyber-attack. It is important to establish a regular schedule for creating backups, such as daily or weekly, to ensure that the most recent version of the data is saved and available.
Regular backups are an essential part of a comprehensive data protection strategy, and they can help organizations to quickly recover from cyber-attacks and minimize the impact of data breaches.
How can you better understand if your business is implementing these strategies?
The Essential 8 Maturity Model has been designed to provide organisations with a clear understanding of their current level of maturity, identify areas for improvement, develop a plan to achieve a higher level of maturity and better protect their systems and data from cyber threats.
Level 1 – Ad Hoc:
The organisation has some awareness of the Essential 8 strategies, but they are not implemented consistently or effectively.
Level 2 – Basic:
The organisation has implemented some of the Essential 8 strategies, but they are not fully integrated into their security practices.
Level 3 – Intermediate:
The organisation has implemented most of the Essential 8 strategies and has integrated them into their security practices, but there are still areas for improvement.
Level 4 – Advanced:
The organisation has fully implemented all the Essential 8 strategies and has integrated them into their security practices. They continuously monitor, review, and improve their security posture.
How can anspired help?
anspired can provide you with expertise, resources, and technology to implement the Essential 8 strategies and provide ongoing security management and monitoring.
Overall, the Essential Eight is a comprehensive set of strategies that address common vulnerabilities that are exploited by cyber criminals and can be implemented quickly and easily without requiring significant resources. These strategies when followed can help organisations to better protect their systems and data from cyber threats.
Are you ready for your business to become better protected?
Phone us today on 1300 267 747.