5 Best practices to improve cyber hygiene for your security products

well-being (noun): well-be·​ing ˈwel-ˈbē-iŋ  the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous 

Similar to personal hygiene practices, which maintain good health and well-being, cyber hygiene practices maintain the well-being of your sensitive data and overall security posture. It is a critical aspect of information security that refers to the regular preventative maintenance and upkeep of devices and networks.  

Cyber hygiene involves implementing a set of best practices on a regular basis to ensure the security of an organization’s network and data. These practices may include maintaining current software versions, properly managing licenses and subscriptions, properly configuring and securing devices, and monitoring security logs and alerts. By consistently adhering to these practices, organizations can significantly decrease their risk of experiencing a data breach or other security incident. 

In addition to helping prevent security breaches, good cyber hygiene is crucial for maximizing the ROI on existing security solutions. By properly maintaining and updating these solutions, organizations can ensure that they function at their best and provide maximum protection. In addition, in an era of constrained budgets and limited resources, it helps providing the best possible value for money.

So, what are some best practices for maintaining good cyber hygiene in your security solutions? Here are a few key considerations:  

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76% OF ORGANIZATIONS HAD A MALFUNCTION IN THEIR SECURITY UPDATE PROCESS IN THE LAST 30 DAYS

1. keeping your security solutions up to date

Maintaining the most current operating system updates and applying relevant patches to your security solutions are crucial to ensuring their effectiveness in protecting your organization. Cyber threats are constantly evolving. It its essential to regularly check for and apply updates to ensure that your security solutions function at their best. Failing to do so can leave your organization vulnerable to the latest cyber-attacks and data breaches.  

Maintaining up-to-date licenses for security solutions is essential for ensuring that they can effectively protect an organization. Allowing licenses to expire can lead to severe consequences, including security vulnerabilities and compliance issues. If a security solution is not operational due to expired licenses, it cannot detect and prevent threats. This might leave the organization vulnerable to potential attacks. It is important to regularly check and renew licenses to ensure that all security solutions can provide the necessary protection.  

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18% of organizations have enabled a security technology and are unaware their license has expired

2. managing licenses and subscriptions

Another important aspect of cyber hygiene is managing licenses and subscriptions. Maintaining up-to-date licenses for security solutions is essential for ensuring that they can effectively protect an organization. Allowing licenses to expire can lead to severe consequences, including security vulnerabilities and compliance issues. If a security solution is not operational due to expired licenses, it cannot detect and prevent threats, leaving the organization vulnerable to potential attacks. It is important to regularly check and renew licenses to ensure that all security solutions are fully functional and can provide the necessary protection.    

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28% OF ORGANIZATIONS are unaware that their security product is misconfigured and not properly enforcing security

3. monitoring and reviewing security logs and alerts

Another critical aspect of cyber hygiene is monitoring and reviewing security logs and alerts. Effective cyber hygiene practices involve continuous monitoring and reviewing security logs, sensor telemetry and alerts. This helps identify and address potential issues before they become a problem. It also allows organizations to stay informed about the current configuration of their systems and the threat landscape they face. Additionally, analyzing patterns and trends in security logs and alerts can help organizations identify more significant issues that may require additional attention or intervention. Overall, this proactive approach to monitoring and reviewing security logs and alerts is essential for maintaining good cyber hygiene and effectively protecting against threats.

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15% of organizations have at least one high-severity vulnerability (CVSS 8+) that has been open for the last 3 months

4. Validate security controls

This critical aspect of cyber hygiene involves conducting ongoing assessments and tests to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. It can include activities like periodic security audits and vulnerability assessments correlated with periodic security policies and procedures reviews. This practice focuses specifically on evaluating the effectiveness of security controls and identifying areas for improvement. This proactive approachcan help to prevent potential attacks and breaches, rather than simply reacting to them after they have occurred. 

5. Reviewing security policies and procedures

Maintaining good cyber hygiene involves regularly reviewing security policies and procedures across all security products to ensure that all security technologies are properly configured, enabled on both the profile and policy levels, and not stepping on each other toes. This includes firewalls, intrusion detection systems, WAF and other security controls. It is essential to regularly review these policies and procedures to avoid enablement mismatch, where security technologies are enabled on the profile level but disabled on the policy level (and vice versa) or where security controls are inadvertently blocking other controls’ functionality. This can lead to security gaps that adversaries can exploit. 

Another essential aspect to consider when reviewing and updating policies and procedures is shadowed scopes of threat prevention. A shadowed scope occurs when the threat prevention protection provided by a global policy is not fully applied to a specific system or network segment. This can occur when conflicting or overlapping rules result in the global policy overridden or ignored, effectively safeguarding their systems and data and maintaining a strong security posture by prioritizing cyber hygiene and staying vigilant. To avoid shadowed scopes and enablement mismatches, organizations must carefully manage their security policies and rules and ensure that they are consistent and adequately applied across all systems and networks.  

In conclusion

Organizations must prioritize cyber hygiene to maintain the security and protection of their computer systems and networks. Organizations can reduce the risk of a cyberattack or data breach by regularly updating software, applying patches and fixes, and ensuring that systems are configured correctly. It is important to note that cyber hygiene is not a one-time task but rather an ongoing process. Organizations must continuously review and update their cyber hygiene practices to stay ahead of emerging threats and protect their systems and data.

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