How Is Your (Cyber) Hygiene?

Published:Aug 16, 2022
Reading Time:5 Minutes
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If you marry a dentist, do you pretend to floss every day for the rest of your life? Interesting question. But that is not the one we are addressing today. Because who are we kidding? We've all googled ways to fool a dentist a day before sitting on that dreaded chair. To keep it real, the only hygiene we focus on right now is the Cyber kind.

What is Cyber Hygiene?

Cyber Hygiene is a group of practices and precautions that enterprises and individuals must follow consistently to ensure the good health and security of their devices, user accounts, networks, and, most importantly, their data. Good Cyber Hygiene is crucial to secure sensitive data and prevent data thefts and cyber-attacks.

Why Cyber Hygiene?

There is no alternative to having an actionable plan and following it through to maintain your cyber assets and data protection. Global disruptions such as the pandemic or war have provided cyber-attackers further opportunities to step up their criminal activities. With most enterprises’ workforce working remotely, the classic “Employees wash your hands before returning to work” approach to Cyber Hygiene works no more. Good Cyber Hygiene is instrumental in providing a secure remote work environment to protect the enterprise’s cyber assets.

Attackers most commonly do not attack machines. They do not try to break locks and push on windows. They attack people. They ring the doorbell hoping that you will open the door. And thus, the onus of Cyber Hygiene is not just on IT security personnel but on every individual who deals with the enterprise’s data. A recent article published by the HIPPA Journal highlights that most Americans are confident about their cybersecurity knowledge, yet bad Cyber Hygiene and poor password practices are commonplace. A survey by OnePoll on behalf of AT&T found that 70% of the respondents felt they were knowledgeable about cybersecurity, yet the average person still lands on a suspicious online site or social media account 6.5 times a day.

Some of the key benefits of Cyber Hygiene are:

  • It establishes mechanisms to track assets, data generating endpoints, and cyber networks to facilitate enterprises to understand their data and user footprint.
  • Improves the overall security posture and outlook of the organization.
  • Discourages cyber attackers by raising the opportunity cost for attackers.
  • Enables meeting the regulatory compliance requisites.

What are some of the good Cyber Hygiene practices?

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB):
CASB is software that resides between an enterprise and a cloud service provider that acts as a tool for enforcing the enterprise's security policies through risk identification and regulation compliance whenever its cloud-residing data is accessed.

Asset Management and Tracking:
You can only secure something that you know exists. One of the significant challenges in establishing cyber hygiene policies is estimating the magnitude of enterprises’ IT environments and infrastructure. Management of the inventory, be it the cyber assets, user accounts, data endpoints such as IoT devices, or sensors is crucial to good Cyber Hygiene.

Vulnerability and Web Application Scanning:
Tools that scan web applications to look for security vulnerabilities need to be in use regularly. Regular patching of critical software used by the organization is also important.

Data Security:
One of the most crucial aspects of Cyber Hygiene is having a mechanism to protect data at rest, in transit, or while in use. While cryptography can be extremely useful for protecting data, securely managing the cryptographic keys is equally essential. I promised to keep oral hygiene out of the discussion, but I cannot help comparing an excellent password to a toothbrush. You must choose a good one, not share it with others and change it often. And while it is highly tempting to store such passwords and other secrets in a notepad or a post-it note, it is imperative to resist that urge and invest in a good secret management solution.

How can Fortanix help with Cyber Hygiene?

Fortanix is a pioneer in data security and can be a crucial partner in your enterprise Cyber Hygiene security roadmap. We have successfully empowered several customers to secure their cloud adoption, bring trust in connected endpoint devices, and establish data privacy-related regulatory compliance. We can also secure legacy datastores which are historically known to be the “tried and tested” targets for cyberattacks. With confidential computing, the Fortanix suite of products offers concrete data and application security even when root credentials and the underlying infrastructures are compromised.

Fortanix helps with securing not just the crown jewel but the whole crown and much more. Some of the value-adds provided by our exceptional suite of products are:

  • Complete protection of data using encryption at rest, in motion, and in use with user-defined cryptographic policies for compliance, custom quorum policies to protect against insider threats, secure plugins for custom logic, and audit logging.
  • Micro-segmented approach: Fortanix DSM (Data Security Manager) provides the ability to support a micro-segmentation approach where different services can be authenticated independently, and data is compartmentalized in case it is compromised. It offers user-defined accounts and groups to segment access to keys by users and applications.
  • Zero trust security with multi-factor authentication and least privilege approach to access control.
  • Efficient Key and Secret Management: Fortanix delivers complete key lifecycle management with generation, rotation, expiration, and deactivation to ensure secure and reliable key management. We also provide a centralized platform to securely store and manage secrets. Fortanix secret management works across environments: on-premises, natively in the cloud, hybrid and multi-cloud and effortlessly integrates with any DevOps environment with Rest APIs.
  • Confidential computing: Ensuring critical data is not compromised during computation/run-time is also instrumental to a good Cyber Hygiene plan.
  • Fortanix Confidential AI (Artificial Intelligence): Provides a guided approach to running AI and ML with sensitive data confidentially and securely.

Ready to take the first step towards your Cyber Hygiene journey? Request a demo here.

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