Evaluate & Fix Vulnerabilities in Your Tech Systems with These Tips

The first-ever “ cyberattack” happened around 1834 in France, as two thieves stole financial market information by “hacking” the French telegraph system. Technically speaking, many of us wouldn’t consider this a cyberattack in the common and present sense of the word, yet the principle stays the same even nowadays. Cyberattacks (or attempts to access and steal delicate information for personal gains and purposes) have become more sophisticated as the digital age is on the rise. The two thieves from the story probably used primitive tools at their disposal, while hackers now have much more elegant ways of stealing information which can harm companies in several ways. So, companies are paying a lot of money to private and individual contractors to take care of their security and avoid any possible breaches. 

Those contractors can cost you a lot of money and there is still a chance of attacks happening. In the text below, we’ll discuss some tips and ideas you should have in mind when it comes to the evaluation of your tech system and the finding of possible weak points and vulnerabilities. 

Patch management 

We’ll have to get a bit technical and explain what patch management is. In short, it means keeping your security system constantly up to date with new software and security updates to mitigate known vulnerabilities. You’ll have to establish a robust patch management process that ensures the timely development of patches (in a literal sense of the word, patches in cybersecurity like patches in real life have the purpose of “patching up” any vulnerabilities in your security system that occur over time due to constant updates of new technology), across all systems and applications. Nowadays, there are automated patch management tools that streamline this process and help things work smoothly. 

Regular Vulnerability Assessments 

Regular assessments are the milestone of every proper business in life. Going to your doctor for regular health assessments, talking to your team leaders and managers about work efficiency and statistics, and even dragging your car to the mechanic for a yearly check-up is a form of regular assessment. 

The principle applies to your software security system, and these assessments ( like with everything else) have the sole purpose of detecting not only existing vulnerabilities but potential as well. You’ll have to opt for a more comprehensive approach when it comes to these assessments, and one way to do so is by applying CVSS vulnerability scoring into the whole evaluation process as it gives you quite a clear understanding of all weaknesses. CVSS stands for Common Vulnerability Scoring System and is a framework developed by bright minds with the sole purpose of presenting all the vulnerabilities your hardware, software, and firmware have. 

Without going too much into detail, as the conversation would require a rather serious tone, it uses three metrics to establish possible weaknesses in your cybersecurity. Those are basic, temporal, and environmental metrics, and each of these addresses a certain aspect of your security system that might be in danger. For example, environmental metrics ( as the name suggests) focus on the possible weaknesses that can occur due to the changing environment.

So, scanning your system and network and applying new frameworks to your current system can help you reduce the chances of a cyberattack instantly. 

Secure Configuration Management 

Make sure to configure your system regularly based on proper industry practices. It requires minimal effort and it takes minimal time to do so. Follow proper security guidelines and just disable unnecessary services, servers, ports, and protocols to minimize the attached surface for cyber hackers. Also, make sure to implement strong authorization mechanisms (similar to those you have on your phone) access protocols, and encryption proctors to protect sensitive information you don’t want anyone finding. 

Employee Training and Awareness 

No matter how hard you sometimes try there is always the flawed human you have to take into account. Humans make mistakes, that’s something we should always be aware of. So spreading awareness about security measures to your employees should be a MUST when it comes to creating a proper defense wall against any possible cyber attacks. Invest some money into proper cyber security training programs and make attendance obligatory for all employees who might be in touch with sensitive information at work daily. 

These protocols should be obligatory and you can even make it a clause in your contract with your employees. Those tactics can include simple practices such as: not using the work computer for private messaging, movies, or other business. Also, you can have secure PIN codes that change every 2 minutes while accessing the VPN. You can opt for personalized authorization mechanisms (like the fingerprint of the employee) so no one else can access their computer when left unattended. Keep in mind that human error is still one of the leading causes of security breaches. 

Network Segmentation and Access Control 

You can implement network segmentation to isolate critical assets and all sensitive data from potential cyber-attacks and breaches. Segmenting your network into different zones makes it harder for hackers to conduct an all-out attack on your security system. It’s similar to having a wall with several checkpoints; an army couldn’t breach the whole wall but rather a part of it and by the time the attack stops, you have more than enough time to rest and rebuild your defenses. 

Continuous Monitoring and Incident Responses 

Establish robust monitoring systems that allow you to have a proper overview of any possible branches in your security system. Those monitoring mechanisms are IDS (or intrusive detection systems, which are quite convenient to stop any Trojan horses from accessing your system from within), IPS (intrusion prevention system), and SIEM which stands for security information and event management. Besides the monitoring mechanism, develop a proper response mechanism that allows you to attack timely. 

Third-Party Risk Management 

As a company, you’ll have a lot of third-party risk factors you need to consider. You’re working with several vendors, suppliers, and different service providers. Sensitive information is being passed around at any given moment and you’ll have to make sure all this information is secure and all these third parties are safe. Just conduct due diligence before engaging with any third party, whether it’s your supplier or a vendor. Make it clear to all third parties that there are protocols to be respected and certain compliance requirements. 

If you follow all these steps carefully and apply all the advice, the chances of a cyber attack will be brought to a minimum. Cyber attacks are part of the digital reality we live in and a common occurrence we have to count on at any given moment. So it’s in our best interest to do everything WE can to prevent it. 


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