Cyber hygiene can be the difference between a detrimental data breach and business as usual for your company. At Morefield, we have decades of experience in the cybersecurity sector, and we understand the changing landscape for businesses like yours. Explore the practices you can follow to secure your operation’s digital environments and protect your private information from cybercriminals.
Understanding Cyber Hygiene
Cyber hygiene, sometimes called cybersecurity hygiene, refers to the set of principles and protocols an organization or person uses to secure their digital landscape, including:
These practices are often part of a larger ongoing routine dedicated to maintaining a healthy system and keeping private information safe from unauthorized personnel and cyberattacks.
Importance of Cyber Hygiene
With a whopping 83% of organizations enduring more than one data breach in 2022, businesses must take the growing threat of a cyberattack very seriously. Without proper cyber hygiene practices, your operation risks jeopardizing sensitive information about your customers, employees, proprietary solutions, intellectual property and company financials.
One data breach can be enough to compromise your business’s reputation, disrupt operations and harm your bottom line.
Goals of Cyber Hygiene Practices
The primary goal of good cyber hygiene is risk management. Taking daily, precautionary measures to keep your business’s sensitive data protected against cybercriminals is essential for combating potential threats, including:
- Identity thieves
In addition to protecting your operations, maintaining proper cyber hygiene is key to staying resilient if an attack occurs.
The Effectiveness of Cyber Hygiene
Improving your business’s security posture with good cyber hygiene practices is incredibly effective for mitigating risks. According to the 2022 Microsoft Defense Report, following basic cyber hygiene practices can prevent 98% of cyberattacks aimed at your business.
Your business can save significant time, money and energy by having your team stick with cybersecurity protocols. Additional benefits include:
- Securing your sensitive data.
- Keeping computer systems running efficiently.
- Combatting unauthorized access to private systems.
Key Principles of Cyber Hygiene
Cyber hygiene consists of many smaller practices intended to maintain healthy data environments that align with a few key principles:
Hardware and Software Maintenance
The hardware and software solutions your business utilizes for its operations are often major targets for cybercriminals. Addressing vulnerabilities in these systems is essential for combating unwanted threats.
Regularly updating hardware and software can help you keep your systems up to date and equipped to handle newer dangers. Your business needs the latest protections and cybersecurity framework, including firewalls, proxy servers and patches, for the most effective risk mitigation.
Many cyber hygiene practices revolve around securing your hardware and software as best as possible because your business relies on these systems and their data.
Employee Awareness and Training
Cybersecurity threats continue to grow and wreak havoc on organizations of all sizes. Experts predict the average annual cost of cybercrime will reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, meaning businesses must find ways to improve their cyber hygiene practices. Increasing employee awareness through comprehensive training programs is one effective method for combating cyber dangers and maintaining a secure data environment.
Your team should understand how to identify, address and mitigate common threats. Remind them of the importance of keeping their login credentials private and inform them of the serious risks of a data breach. Help them see their essential role in maintaining cyber hygiene across your entire business.
Risk Management in Cybersecurity
The final principle of cyber hygiene is effective and comprehensive risk management solutions. The best way to secure your company’s digital network is to continuously look for new weaknesses that could make it easier for a cybercriminal to access your private data. Regular risk assessments will help you find vulnerabilities on your attack surface, allowing you to patch holes before a hacker can capitalize on them.
Implementing Cyber Hygiene Best Practices
Explore the following best practices to boost your business’s cyber hygiene:
- Employee awareness and participation: Every team member should know how to identify common threats, like phishing emails or social engineering attacks. Consider implementing new training programs to refresh their understanding of cybersecurity best practices and new dangers to be aware of.
- Access management: Your business should encourage every employee to use strong, unique passwords and multifactor authentication when logging into your systems. Update access controls and remove outdated credentials from your systems promptly.
- Regular software updates and patching: Keep your operating systems and applications up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity technologies. Patch vulnerabilities as soon as possible to protect your digital landscape.
- Firewall and network security: Always utilize firewalls to actively monitor your network traffic and block unauthorized access to your critical systems. Also, employ and maintain antivirus and anti-malware solutions to protect your digital framework against malware threats.
- Secure data backup: Back up your business’s important data regularly on- and off-site to ensure you have access to it in case a cyberattack leads to data corruption or loss.
- Vendor and third-party risk management: Remember to assess the cybersecurity posture of any vendors or third parties prior to integrating them with your existing systems.
Working with a cybersecurity professional can help make your business’s cyber hygiene management processes simple.
Incorporating Cyber Hygiene in IT Strategy
Every business can benefit from prioritizing cyber hygiene in its overarching information technology (IT) strategy. The following are basic steps for maintaining a secure business environment:
- Conduct risk assessments: Begin by assessing your IT framework to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats. Your business should do this regularly to manage all major risks.
- Create a cybersecurity policy: Establish the goals and objectives of your cybersecurity practices. Outline the responsibilities of your team members and the procedures they should follow.
- Roll out employee training programs: Ensure your workers are up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices so they can make informed decisions throughout their workday. Your team should be familiar with all access controls and system update requirements.
- Utilize advanced threat detection systems: Implementing intrusion detection is key to stopping a hacker in their tracks and minimizing the threat. Your business can benefit from setting up these systems for ongoing cybersecurity monitoring.
- Determine a data backup and disaster recovery plan: Have your team back up important data regularly to decrease the chances of data loss. Also, establish and test your process for recovering data after a system failure or breach.
- Continuously update and improve: Your business can elevate and improve cyber hygiene by constantly refining your cybersecurity practices and IT strategy.
Protect Your Business With Cybersecurity Solutions From Morefield
If your business needs comprehensive cybersecurity solutions, turn to the wide range of services from Morefield. With more than 75 years of industry experience, we understand the crucial measures necessary for protecting sensitive data across your digital landscape.
Our extensive cybersecurity solutions are scalable and will help protect the digital processes that are essential to your business’s success. We will guide you through cyber hygiene best practices to ensure your operations are secure.
Are you ready to get started? Contact Morefield to learn more about our IT, cloud and cybersecurity solutions today.