In todayâ€™s complex cyber landscape, businesses face a new set of challenges every day to keep up with the competition. Among all sorts of challenges, the primary and most common ones are the ones that occur online because of business reliability on internet. And, one category of these challenges that is putting businesses on edge is Cyberattacks. As the technology advances, these threats to businesses have also advanced. There is an unwanted and sharp rise in the occurrence of cyber-attacks all across the world. And, in terms of its victims, there is no exclusion; it could be an individual, a start-up, a small business, a government institution, a tech-giant, or literally anyone and everyone on the internet.
It is a choice of the individuals and businesses to maintain cybersecurity posture but looking at the grim consequences of cyberattacks, the Federal government is focussing on building Australiaâ€™s defences. And, as a precautionary advisory for its people, it has introduced the Essential Eight Maturity Model to have cybersecurity measures implemented within the organisations. This model consists of strategies that assesses potential risks like loopholes within a business framework and offers preventive measures against them to keep the business operations running smoothly.
What is the ACSCâ€™s Essential Eight?
Essential Eight are the strategies developed and maintained by ACSC to mitigate or prevent cybersecurity incidents within Australia. These strategies can be applied across a broad spectrum of systems, networks and applications. These strategies rank three key areas: prevention, limitation and recovery by analysing their maturity levels.
Here are all the eight mitigation strategies:
- Application Control: Running of only approved and trusted applications on the business network to prevent any exposure to the attackers.
- Patch Applications: Regularly apply updates to all the installed applications to fix all the known vulnerabilities.
- Configure Microsoft Office macro settings: The userâ€™s ability to create macros should be limited as per the requirement.
- User application hardening: User apps can be used to execute malicious malware on corporate systems, thus keep them to a minimum.
- Restrict administrative privileges: Privileges of access should be restricted, managed, and constantly monitored as the more admins you have, the more will be chances for attackers to access business system through these accounts.
- Patch operating systems: Implement the latest security updates to operating systems, servers, and all the devices to fix known vulnerabilities.
- Multi-factor authentication: Ensuring two-level security for all the activities involving accessing emails, systems and third-party applications is the one of the best ways to stop unauthorised access to the business sensitive data.
- Regular backups: Performing daily backups of important data, software and settings for at least a couple of months is important for business to continue to operate in the event of a security incident.
These are the eight strategies that are measured according to the below-mentioned maturity levels of a business:
Maturity Level 0: This maturity level signifies that there are weaknesses in an organisationâ€™s overall cyber security posture.
Maturity Level 1: The focus of this maturity level is all the cyber attackers who are looking to simply leverage commodity tradecraft that is widely available in order to gain access to, and likely control of, systems of a business.
Maturity Level 2: The focus of this maturity level is attackers operating with a modest step-up in capability from the previous maturity level. These attackers are willing to invest more time in targeting a business and, perhaps more importantly, in the effectiveness of their tools.
Maturity Level 3: The focus of this maturity level is attackers who are more adaptive and much less reliant on public tools and techniques. These attackers are able to exploit the opportunities provided by weaknesses in their targetâ€™s cyber security posture, such as the existence of older software or inadequate logging and monitoring.
You can have a detailed look at the Essential Eight here: Essential Eight Maturity Model
Although, these are some really helpful risk mitigation strategies that should be implemented, but still they are not sufficient to completely keep a business protected from cyberattacks. It needs continuous and consistent efforts to be protected from any kind of cyber threats. Businesses need to regularly identify the exposed areas that can be attacked by hackers, potential vulnerabilities and much more to stay ahead of the attackers.
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