Cybersecurity Risk

6 Ways to Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks

The shift from desk-bound work culture to a remote one has drastically changed how we work and keep our businesses secure. As more organizations embrace digital transformation, a hybrid workforce and cloud adoption, IT teams are challenged with navigating the increasingly complex security landscape.

Businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021, making cyber perils the top concern for companies globally this year. To stay ahead of these threats, organizations must take steps to mitigate their cybersecurity risk by implementing the latest security measures and best practices. Here are six ways to mitigate cybersecurity risks in your organization.

1. Risk Assessment

The first step to mitigating cybersecurity risk is to complete a cybersecurity risk assessment. Risk assessments seek to answer various information about your technologies, operations, assets and people. This will help you identify vulnerabilities, gaps, and loopholes in your current security architecture and help you understand the measures you need to take to protect your business-critical assets. For example:

  1. What are your organization’s most important IT assets?
  2. Is your staff prepared for a cyberattack?
  3. What could a hacker do, and are you prepared?
  4. Can all threat sources be identified?
  5. What is the level of the potential impact of each identified threat?
  6. What are the internal and external vulnerabilities?
  7. What is the impact of those vulnerabilities being exploited?
  8. What is the likelihood of exploitation?
  9. Who is accountable for addressing vulnerabilities?
  10. What level of risk are you comfortable with?
  11. How will you recover from a hack?

2. Secure Access Control

As the number of organizations that embrace a hybrid workforce increases, so do the inherent risks of BYOD policies, unmanaged devices, and unsecured networks. To keep applications secure and your employees productive, you must take a Zero Trust Network Access approach to security. Traditional network-centric solutions such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls cannot scale or provide sufficient security to hybrid workforces, leaving data and employee productivity at risk. ZTNA transforms the concept of a security perimeter from static enterprise data centers to a more dynamic, policy-based, cloud-delivered edge to support the access requirements of the distributed workforce.

For example, with Citrix Secure Private Access, you can enable adaptive, context-aware access to private applications from any location and device. Access to applications is denied by default unless explicitly allowed. Its Adaptive Authentication continually determines what type of authentication mechanism is to be used—biometrics, SMS codes, one-time passwords, and so on—and what level of authorization a user should have to applications based on location, device posture, and user risk profile. This determination is not only made at the time of login but is continually evaluated throughout the end-user session to deliver a zero-trust approach to security.

3. Unified Endpoint Security

Globally, 52% of workers work from home at least once every week. While remote working enables employee flexibility, it also presents significant security challenges, particularly around endpoint vulnerability. IT departments must now protect a larger attack surface from data breaches, malware, and other cybersecurity risks. According to IDC, 70% of successful breaches originated on the endpoint. Because these threats go after endpoints rather than the network itself, a centralized security platform is often not enough to protect organizations. The best solution is a comprehensive endpoint security approach that includes threat detection, device management, data leak protection, and user behaviour analytics.

4. Patch Management

Another way to mitigate cybersecurity risk is patch management. When software patches are released, hackers start salivating. They now have the opportunity to take advantage of underlying vulnerabilities. According to Poneman Institute, 57% of data breaches are poor patch management. Therefore, a formal and proactive patch management strategy is critical. Patch management ensures you upgrade, optimize, or secure existing software, computers, servers, and technology systems before hackers can exploit them to mitigate cybersecurity risk, maintain compliance and ensure business continuity. Investing in architecture with centralized delivery of apps and desktops accelerates software updates promptly. For example, with Citrix, patching efforts address operating-system-level updates and commonly used software within the environment. For services within Citrix Cloud, Citrix does software life cycle management, auto software upgrades, config backup, and config replication across multiple nodes. Citrix is also compatible with many patch management solutions designed to address critical updates.

5. Data Encryption and Back-Ups

A data breach or ransomware attack is still possible despite all security efforts. If this happens, companies need the ability to restore data quickly. A global survey of nearly 600 IT administrators found that while 57 percent of surveyed respondents had a backup solution in place, 75 percent of those were still unable to restore all of their lost data, with more than one-in-five unable to recover any data at all. A solution that performs regular verified, air-gapped backups and enables encryption for sensitive data and critical applications, whether on-prem or in the cloud, is essential for business continuity. For example, with Citrix Desktop as a Service, data is centralized, kept off endpoints, and easily backed up and encrypted. This allows for quick testing and recovery. Citrix is also compatible with many solutions used for disaster recovery.

6. Security Awareness Training

Technology alone doesn’t provide your organization with foolproof protection from cyber-attacks and data breaches. Security Awareness Training helps educate and empower your team to avoid and detect common cyber threats consistently. It also cultivates a robust security-aware mindset and culture that prioritizes protecting sensitive information. Once this mindset becomes second nature, security leaders can feel confident that their team can quickly adapt to the ever-changing, complex world of cyber threats.

As more organizations embrace digital transformation, a hybrid workforce and cloud adoption, IT teams are challenged with navigating the increasingly complex security landscape. Comprehensive risk management and mitigation programs play a vital role in helping the organization stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and resolving threats and vulnerabilities before they snowball into more significant issues. With the appropriate defence strategies in place, organizations can mitigate cybersecurity risk, improve their risk posture and keep data breaches at bay.

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