Stay Cyber Aware: 5 Ultimate Cyber Security Strategies

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Netwrix supports the collaboration initiative of the US government and the IT industry and publishes 5 ultimate cyber security strategies that IT managers should keep in consideration to ensure their companies’ safety.  Implementation of these security practices gives you control over the IT infrastructure and allows you to respond to cyber security incidents faster.

1. Employing Security Analytics

All too often, organizations get serious about regular security analytics only after they experience a data breach. But there’s no reason to wait.

According to Gartner, rapid advances in analytics and machine learning are quickly changing the security landscape. Security managers who are struggling to detect malicious events should invest in security analytics to enable better threat detection and higher security staff productivity. Real-time security analytics applications can conduct comprehensive root cause analysis and identify overexposed data, excessive access rights or unusual spikes in activity, which leads to faster detection rates and minimize the time of insider threat detection.

When making decision about security analytical software, the most crucial feature is the amount of data that can be analyzed. Not all of platforms can work with unstructured data. Another important aspect of security analytics is file access monitoring. By identifying users who have access to files and folders you protect your data against exploitation and exfiltration.

2. Enabling Insider Threat Detection

In the wake of growing cyber threats detecting and thwarting data breaches caused by malicious insider activity can feel like a daunting challenge. Internal attacks always have significant impact on business, in both cost of data loss and disrupted operations. Third party contractors also need special attention, since they can potentially gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and exploit most valuable resources without even being noticed.

To effectively guard against cyber threats from malicious insiders, organizations need to be aware of insider activity threat indicators and utilize the right combination of information security technologies that enable timely detection and investigation.

3. Mitigating the Threat of Ransomware

Ransomware is a hot topic among IT pros, and one of the most sophisticated cyber threats affecting businesses today. A key element for building an effective defense against ransomware is compete visibility of everything that is happening in the IT environment. You need to keep track of unauthorized software installations, control program additions/removals, detect excessive permissions and any anomalous user activity. The ability to enforce tight control over user activity across on premises and cloud IT environments will ensure better data management decisions and help faster identify threat patterns.

Core steps to effective risk of ransomware encryption mitigations include user permissions control, group policy changes monitoring, detection of anomalous user activity, quick data recovery process using backup tools.

4. Deploying User Behavior Analytics

According to Gartner, user behavior analytics (UBA), or user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) is a specialized type of security analytics that focuses on behavior of systems and people using them. It enables IT pros to distinguish normal user behavior from abnormal activities that pose threat to data security (e.g. compromised systems and the use of covert channel communications).

To combat the challenges of spotting suspicious user activity, make sure that you collect data from all sources of data on user behavior, including logs, data warehouses, network flow data, etc. The more data you have, the better. You should do regular review of effective permissions and analyze UBA reports on anomalous activity. Once you detect a deviation from normal user behavior or whenever you need to ensure no privilege abuse occurs, take the next critical step: review and investigate suspicious activity deeply to make your incident response more effective.

5. Having Visibility into the IT environment

But what does it actually mean to have visibility? It’s impossible to claim that IT environment is secure unless all that is happening with sensitive data and critical system is monitored. Visibility into what is going on across the entire IT infrastructure is a key component of any cyber security strategy.

According to the Netwrix 2016 IT Risks Report, 78% of organizations believe that visibility into IT changes improves IT security and data access governance. Deep visibility into every level of the IT infrastructure gives you control and provides the context you need to quickly respond to cyber security incidents. By being able to quickly correlate user activities with changes to data and security configurations, you can detect misbehavior in a timely fashion and minimize the damage from security incidents.

VP of Product Management at Netwrix. Ilia is responsible for the Netwrix product vision and strategy. He is a recognized expert in information security and an official member of Forbes Technology Council. Ilia has over 15 years of experience in the IT management software market. In the Netwrix blog, Ilia focuses on cybersecurity trends, strategies and risk assessment.