The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency’s Shields Up Program
In view of current events, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has noted the increased likelihood of a cybersecurity breach. Their recommendations, listed below, speak mainly to the basics of cybersecurity: foundational practices and technology that protect every enterprise, in both the public and private sector. Below are the key elements (full details are here Shields Up | CISA):
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): If your company has not implemented MFA, now is a good time to start. If implementation is in progress but not complete, accelerating it is advisable.
- Disable Unneeded Ports: This is an old chestnut, but still viable.
- Increase Resiliency:
- Cyber Hygiene Services: If budgets are tight, you can use CISA's free cyber hygiene services Cyber Hygiene Services | CISA, including vulnerability scanning.
- CISA Cloud Controls: CISA has published an extensive set of cloud security controls, available here: Strengthening Security Configurations to Defend Against Attackers Targeting Cloud Services | CISA.
- Update Software SolarWinds notwithstanding, patched software is better than unpatched.
- Intrusion Detection: Ask the hard questions – are your staff able to detect intrusions quickly and accurately?
- Virus Protection and Signatures: The oldest and most venerable practice, but still necessary.
- Preparation for Intrusion:
- Conduct a tabletop exercise and include senior management.
- Designate a response team, and make sure they are available.
- Test backup and recovery systems.
- Test failover systems: CISA doesn’t specifically recommend this, but you’ll want to make sure failover systems really do work properly.
For Senior Management: CISA recommends the following to optimize your company’s cybersecurity posture:
- Empower CISOs: Make sure CISOs have the authority and staff to respond effectively to any intrusion.
- Lower Reporting Thresholds: Encourage all staff to be on the lookout for suspicious events, and to report them even if they are unsure if the event is truly a threat.
- Ensure Business Continuity: As outlined above, make sure failover systems are functioning, staff know how to respond and make sure data backups systems are in good working order.
- Plan for the Worst: It never hurts to anticipate the worst-case scenario and to plan accordingly.
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