The Importance of Regular IT Security Hygiene

What is IT Security Hygiene?

In today’s world, the need to practice good cyber hygiene should be as basic as the need to brush your teeth on a daily basis. With more and more people working from the comforts of their home, the tendency to be more lax with protecting data that we handle is stronger but this should never be the case. Hackers are now more determined than ever to collect personal and sensitive data and turn it into ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish personal data or block access to it unless a ransom has been paid. Some simple ransomware may lock the system, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. What happens is that data is encrypted, making them inaccessible, and the hacker will demand a ransom payment to decrypt them.

The best way to avoid ransomware is by making sure you practice regular IT security hygiene. This refers to the steps taken by someone to maintain the health of their computers and devices to improve online security so that corruption of data and theft may be prevented. 

When you practice regular IT security hygiene, you can ward off common threats as well as the natural degradation of devices and systems. Think of your system as your body. It needs maintenance and taking care of to make sure that unwanted viruses will not be able to attack and to make sure that everything is working properly. 

Why is IT Security Hygiene Important? 

IT security hygiene is your basic protection from unwanted cyber attacks. The frequency of cyber attacks on institutions have drastically increased. This has raised concerns about security at every level of an organization so the need to tighten security measures have become more in demand. 

Organizations and businesses now need to be better prepared to respond, adapt, combat, and recover from any potential or unprecedented cyber attack. Having a regular IT security hygiene is the first step to avoid these because organizations will have processes in place to address these hackers and protect the data they are handling. 

A regular IT security hygiene means being proactive and vigilant in protecting data against cyber threats. This means organizations should have systems that protect data, systems that maintain devices, and systems that organize security in hardware, software, IT infrastructure, continuous network monitoring, and employee awareness training. Everything that connects to the web should be included. 

In short, having regular IT security hygiene is like having a burglar alarm in your home. It’s the first step to warding off attacks and it notifies you if an attack is happening by setting off the alarm which gives you a chance to stop the threat from actually happening. 

How to Practice Regular IT Security Hygiene 

Since a lot of companies rely almost exclusively on cyber functions to carry out day-to-day tasks, it is important for management and employees to understand how to work smarter and safer when dealing with cyber entities. Awareness is the key and ignorance can be very detrimental and costly not just for the organization but for the person involved. 

When you have the right processes in place, regular IT security hygiene can greatly benefit an organization. Three ways to do it are: 

  1. Always know what’s connected to your network as well as what’s running on your network. This can help prevent trojan horses from getting into your system. 
  2. Put key security settings to protect your systems and control those who administrative privileges 
  3. Regularly update all applications, software, and operating systems to make sure that all patches are working correctly. 

Another way to practice regular IT security hygiene is by watching out for cyber mess which stems from data breaches. Four ways to go about it are: 

  1. Always authenticate new and old data, make sure that everyone who has access is authorized, and that at the end of the day, there is proper accounting of everything that happened. 
  2. Make sure that access controls across all data levels and function levels are constantly in place. 
  3. Have a business continuity plan in case of a mishap or breach so that business won’t be disrupted regardless of what is happening. This includes security patches and remediation processes. 
  4. Lastly, make sure that all employees go through the proper security training and have security awareness, know the organization policies and have basic social engineering awareness.

For added information, you can also read How to Utilize IT Vendor Hygiene


How to Avoid Ransomware? 

The lack of regular IT security hygiene is the largest and most persistent threat inside most organizations. As organizations grow, the risk also grows because networks continue to grow and expand without regular IT security hygiene. Take the case of the JBS meat ransomware where they paid $11M USD.

The risk continues to grow as organizations continue to grow their networks and expand their attack surfaces without a holistic security architecture or management system in place. One of the best ways to avoid having your data hijacked and turned into ransomware is by having Network Penetration and Phishing Testing as well as an Annual Risk Assessment to make sure that your organization’s security holds up to compliance and real world cyber attacks. 

Connor, the Compliance Partner You Can Count On

At Connor, we’ll partner with your organization to develop a detailed strategic IT roadmap in the form of a network penetration test that will satisfy the most stringent compliance requirements.

With safe and secure methods our team will ethically penetrate your external and internal networks combined with an email phishing campaign.The results will help you improve your security awareness from what you need to update immediately and into the future.

Partner with us and start your IT security hygiene now. If you would like to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your compliance programs, please contact us at +1 (415) 578 5002 to explore the benefits of a contract compliance program for your organization or schedule an appointment here.