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The Coalfire Blog

Cyber Security Awareness - Are you Doing All You Can to Stay Safe?

October 26, 2011, Rick Dakin, CEO, Co-founder and Chief Security Strategist

Rick Dakin

Every company has vulnerabilities and must learn to protect themselves from fast-moving cyber threats.  Below are a few tips to keep in mind as you examine your network security:

1) Know what and where your IT-related risks are.  Every company should conduct and IT Risk assessment, at least on an annual basis. A good IT risk assessment will help you focus and prioritize all your subsequent efforts and investments – and will probably save you money, too.

2) Get compliant and then manage compliance. Almost every business accountable to some form of information security standard or requirement – legal (such as HIPAA or state data privacy) or contractual (such as PCI).  Know who in your organization is responsible for compliance and develop a process to keep compliance records up-to-date.

3) Conduct Penetration Tests. Simply stated, you don’t know if security systems are working until you have an ‘ethical hack’ or ‘social engineering’ test.  Hire an independent auditor to run penetration tests to find the vulnerabilities in your system.

4) Have an Incident Response Plan, and practice it. Data breaches are almost inevitable these days, and you will save time, money and hopefully, your hard-earned reputation if you know what to do when something bad happens.

5) Segment your network and lock down machines used for sensitive transactions. For example, use a stand-alone machine—not the CFO’s laptop – for e-banking and payroll transactions.

6) Encrypt sensitive data and change passwords frequently, and make sure there is a high level of complexity when choosing passwords.

7) Educate your employees. Your team – not your systems are inadvertently  the most common causes of security leaks. This is especially true as more workers become more mobile companies are allowing personal devices, such as iPads, into the workplace.

The threat is real. Put together a plan today to lower your risk.


- Rick Dakin, CEO, Co-founder and Chief Security Strategist

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