Best Items for a Cybersecurity Checklist

Cybersecurity Checklist

Best Items for a Cybersecurity Checklist- Because cybersecurity investments can be a complicated process, a cybersecurity checklist is essential. An organisation must first identify vulnerable assets, assess their risk, and commit necessary finances to improve their security. Companies should at the very least include the following in any cybersecurity programme:

  • Procedures for detecting and evaluating cyber-threats and risks
  • Protect your assets against cyber-attacks.
  • Detect instances of compromised IT assets and systems.
  • Prepare a response in the event of a data leak or a security violation.
  • Plan and carry out a recovery strategy for assets that are unavailable, stolen, or lost.

Creating a comprehensive programme entails addressing all IT assets and information systems. It might be difficult to build a comprehensive cybersecurity programme for firms with a large number of software, hardware, or network products. A cybersecurity checklist is required for this. Items that must be protected are included on a cybersecurity checklist. It establishes and publishes a set of cybersecurity rules, procedures, and controls. The parts that follow go over crucial items to include in a cybersecurity checklist.

Overarching best security practises

When accessing or handling sensitive data and important information systems, all companies should identify the appropriate security measures. The following three components are required to keep a useful cybersecurity checklist up to date.

Documented Policies

Employees’ security standards and obligations when working with company systems or networks are spelled out in written policies. Employees, third parties, and managed service providers must adhere to the policies’ minimum but mandatory security measures. Acceptable usage, internet access, email and communication, remote access, BYOD, encryption and privacy, and disaster recovery are all policies that should be included in a cybersecurity checklist.

Policy on Acceptable Use

An acceptable usage policy should be included in any cybersecurity checklist. Acceptable usage refers to a set of guidelines that govern how an organization’s IT assets or data are used. The policy is critical because it bans system users from engaging in activities that could jeopardise an organization’s cybersecurity. All new users, including employees, third parties, and contractors, must acknowledge that they have read and comprehended the guidelines. This is before being granted access to the company’s computer networks and systems. Users agree to utilise information systems in accordance with the organization’s minimum security requirements by acknowledging that they understand the policy. As a result, a company may be assured that user actions will not pose any security issues or dangers.

Internet usage policies

The internet has become an integral part of most people’s daily lives. People utilise the internet for a variety of purposes, including research, cloud services, and communication via email or social media platforms. However, for a variety of reasons, the internet can also be an organization’s demise. Cyber criminals, for example, utilise the internet to spread malware. They can embed malware on a website, causing any user who accesses there to download and install the malware. Such attacks, as well as others, are common on the internet. As a result, a policy governing internet usage within a business should be included in a cybersecurity checklist. The internet access policy lays out the rules for how users can use the internet and interact with it. An internet access policy, for example, could prevent users from viewing certain websites or limit the amount of time they can spend on social media platforms. This may make it easier to implement reinforced and strengthened cybersecurity strategies.

Policy on e-mails and other forms of communication

Emails are used to communicate both internally and externally. As a result, every employee in a company must have an email account. An attacker’s favoured method of phishing malware delivery is via email. Hackers send out emails in batches to several recipients in the hopes that one of them would click on the malware-laden links or attachments. A company’s email usage policy can help it avoid phishing attempts, thereby boosting the security of its data and systems. Employees may be required to not open emails from unknown senders under such a policy. It may also be necessary to screen all incoming emails for dangerous attachments or URLs that contain hidden malware. Employees should also be prohibited from transmitting work-related information via personal emails, according to an email and communications policy. These policies are critical for protecting corporate security and should be included in any cybersecurity checklist.

Policy on remote access

Cloud computing is becoming more popular among enterprises. This aims to improve employee productivity by improving data gathering and processing procedures. A remote access policy should be included in a cybersecurity checklist because cloud services are becoming increasingly integrated in regular business operations. Users should consider remote access policies when using cloud accounts since they fulfil the essential security requirements. Users can access data and other services via the cloud from any place and device. This means they can work from home or outside the office. When accessing sensitive information, a remote access policy ensures that secure standards are followed. Employees may be required to utilise a VPN when accessing a public and insecure internet network, for example.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a policy that encourages employees to bring their own devices to work.

In recent years, the Internet of Things has grown in popularity, resulting in an increase in the use of internet-connected gadgets. Most employees now prefer to complete their allocated tasks using personal devices such as smartwatches, laptops, cellphones, and tablets. This increases the risk since the more the number of devices in use, the greater the number of access points a hacker has to pick from. Despite this, individuals may be unable to detect flaws in their own devices. When susceptible devices connect to a corporate network or access data, their integrity, confidentiality, and availability are jeopardised. A BYOD policy allows a company to control the use of personal devices in the workplace, reducing risks to the firm’s overall security. Employees must only connect to the business network using devices provided by the organisation, according to a BYOD policy.

To ensure that it covers all developing technologies, a BYOD policy should be revised on a regular basis. Incorporating a BYOD policy into a cybersecurity checklist makes it easier to use personal devices securely, shielding a company from a variety of threats.

Privacy and encryption

Cyber attackers have been known to get through even the most protected networks and systems. As a result, organisations cannot be certain that their data and secret information are completely protected. As a result, in all procedures where users interact with corporate data, an encryption and privacy policy should be a must. Users should be required to encrypt all data, whether it is at rest or in transit, under the encryption and privacy policy. If cyber enemies manage to overcome the implemented cyber defences, encrypting data adds another layer of security to the encrypted information. Furthermore, the chosen encryption technique should be included in the policy to ensure that all users are using the same degree of standard encryption techniques. Because encryption is the simplest way for ensuring data integrity, confidentiality, and availability, it should be included in all cybersecurity programmes and checklists.

Recovering from a disaster policy

As previously stated, implementing the most robust security solutions does not ensure that a company is completely secure. Businesses should have adequate disaster recovery procedures in place in the event of a cyber-attack. A disaster recovery policy outlines the steps that various users should follow to recover from an attack. A company’s efforts to contain an attack can be aided by developing strong disaster recovery strategies. A corporation can also assign duties to its personnel to enable a quick recovery of important data, networks, or computer systems by maintaining and regularly updating a disaster recovery policy. The policy also addresses communication channels to guarantee that all concerned individuals can communicate effectively during the catastrophe recovery process. As a result, all cybersecurity checklists should include a disaster recovery policy.

Up-to-date and modern software

Incorporating the use of new software applications into a company’s cybersecurity checklist should be a top priority. Obtaining up-to-date software is critical to improving an organization’s security. This is due to the fact that modern software programmes are designed to withstand current threats and attacks. Using legacy operating or software systems poses a number of security risks. It’s possible that they have unpatched vulnerabilities, or that their vendors have stopped providing security updates and patches. Using modern software does not always imply that it is completely safe. Vulnerabilities appear on a regular basis, and failing to resolve them might give hackers with a platform to exploit the flaws. As a result, a patch management programme should be included in every cybersecurity checklist. Vendors of software and devices offer security fixes to address vulnerabilities when they arise. Applying security patches on a regular basis can help safeguard a company from cyber-attacks.

Ongoing training for employees

More than 90% of cyber incidents are the result of erroneous user actions or cybersecurity illiteracy. An employee leaving a computer unlocked, for example, can result in severe data breaches. As a result, all firms’ cybersecurity programmes must involve regular training and awareness efforts. Employees learn how to use organisational systems, data, and networks safely through training and awareness. It also assures that they are capable of recognising, controlling, and reporting security concerns to the appropriate persons.

Employee training programmes should cover how to secure workstations, emails, cloud accounts, and other forms of information systems in this regard. Employees should also be able to comprehend how to recognise phishing emails and what steps they should take once they have been recognised via a training programme. Marking the sender’s email address as spam, reporting the attempted phishing attacks to IT, and informing other employees are all examples of such steps. When establishing an awareness and training programme, there are a number of other factors to consider. To suit a company’s security demands, these should be covered.

Security measures for users

Measures unique to network and system users should be included in a practical cybersecurity checklist. When a user utilises the IT assets at his disposal, the standards ensure that the organisation is secured. A cybersecurity checklist should include the following components. This is to ensure that user behaviour has no bearing on corporate security.

When it comes to passwords, there are a few rules to follow

Best password management habits are referred to as password etiquette. At all levels, passwords are frequently the most used defences, and users must ensure that they follow best password practises. Users should always generate strong passwords as part of their password security requirements. Combining diverse characters, such as numbers, alphabetical letters, and special symbols, is one of the rules to consider. This is done to reduce the chances of cyber criminals guessing the passwords.

A company should also require users to generate long passwords. Passwords of 6-10 characters can be sufficient in terms of security. It is also critical for users to change and update their passwords on a regular basis. A rogue college could gain access to credentials saved on its servers and use them for identity theft or other harmful purposes. Users should consider utilising passphrases to achieve a high level of password difficulty. These are a series of words that must be entered in order to gain access to a system. A cybersecurity checklist should cover these and other password requirements.

Auditing accounts that have been disabled

For a variety of reasons, work accounts such as email and cloud accounts can be disabled. Employees may be reassigned to new positions and responsibilities, or an employee may leave an organisation for a variety of reasons. A system administrator can detect accounts that are no longer in use by auditing disabled accounts. Because hostile actors may access disabled accounts with all permissions and privileges, they pose a security concern. As a result, they can impersonate legitimate users to obtain access to systems and data. All obsolete accounts are audited to verify that those that are no longer in use are closed and removed. Auditing disabled or obsolete accounts as part of a cybersecurity checklist allows a corporation to eliminate all loopholes that could allow enemies to gain unauthorised access to secured systems and data.

Avoiding the use of shared passwords and accounts

Any cybersecurity programme or checklist should make it a priority to prevent users from sharing passwords or work accounts. Allowing users to share work accounts and passwords can lead to serious security issues. When a shared account is involved, it can be difficult to track down the individual who is responsible for a security incident. Allowing employees to share accounts and passwords, on the other hand, fosters insider threats and attacks. Employees who engage in malevolent behaviour can refute accusations by claiming that they are not the only ones who have access to the account in question. As a result, incorporating the prevention of shared passwords and accounts as a checkpoint on a cybersecurity checklist may ensure that all accounts are audited. As a result, insider threats can be reduced, resulting in improved cybersecurity.

Utilization of secure websites

When connected to an organization’s network, secure websites should be a must-have item on a cybersecurity checklist. Employees should be required to exchange organisational information and sensitive data such as passwords exclusively through secure websites. A secure site uses a https connection, which means the data is encrypted. Encrypted connections enable for the secure transport of data and information, which is critical for maintaining its integrity and secrecy. A cybersecurity checklist that includes the use of safe and encrypted websites can help a corporation prevent people from accessing unsecure websites. This avoids cyber incidents that occur as a result of information being compromised via weak websites. Because these sites use a http connection, they lack the requisite encryption techniques.

Email safety

Email communication is used for almost all communication procedures. Emails, on the other hand, posed the greatest threat because most cyber criminals prefer to send malware and viruses via email. As a result, email security must be included in any organization’s cybersecurity checklist. The following are some of the things to think about when it comes to email security.

Filtering devices

Phishing assaults and malware delivery are most commonly carried out via email correspondence. Phishing attacks are when cyber criminals send messages to a large number of people that are tailored to their specific interests. This is done to persuade people to open a link or attachment that contains malware. Businesses must implement technologies to filter all incoming messages to guarantee that malware applications are detected before a user downloads them. As a result, they can detect embedded malware and prevent it from gaining access to the company’s computer systems or networks.

Policy on email

A cybersecurity checklist should involve developing and periodically updating an email policy. Email security is normally the responsibility of the email service provider, therefore emails can still be hacked without an organization’s knowledge. The types of information that users are permitted or banned from sharing via email are documented in an email policy. An email policy, for example, can ban users from providing passwords, personal information, or financial information over email.

Website safety

Websites are used by businesses to sell their products and services. They also use emails to communicate with customers, such as responding to questions or receiving comments. Some businesses may use their websites to obtain personal information from their customers. As a result, website security should be included in any cybersecurity checklist. To achieve optimal website security, there are two essential points to consider.

SSL certification

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certification is required for businesses. An SSL-certified site is safe and secure, with end-to-end encryption between the client and the server. A user who is SSL certified can send sensitive information without danger of it being intercepted and altered before it reaches its intended recipient. Furthermore, an SSL-certified website not only allows visitors to access it and securely request or transfer data, but it also improves a company’s reputation. Customers prefer to submit information through safe sites, and an SSL certificate increases their trust in you. As a result, SSL certification must be included in any cybersecurity checklist.

Reliable web hosting service

Only a secure web hosting company should be used by an organisation. The capacity to segregate hosting accounts, procedures for routinely backing up the website, and the ability to retain server logs are all important features to include in a cybersecurity checklist.

Network safety

It is critical for any organisation to ensure network security. Cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for exploitable network flaws to gain unauthorised access. To achieve optimum website security, a cybersecurity checklist should include the following components.

Strong firewalls

Strong firewalls should be used to secure a network. Using multiple firewalls together can improve network security. The establishment of filtering rules in compliance with an organization’s security requirements is made easier when employing a firewall to protect networks. The rules are for filtering out incoming malicious connections that could compromise the network’s security.

Password security

Only users with the appropriate rights can connect to the network if password security is maintained. As a result, a company’s Wi-Fi routers should include password protection to ensure that only employees have access to internal networks. A firm should give guests with their own Wi-Fi network to reduce the danger of a rogue user accessing the corporate network.

Network segmentation

Splitting a network into small yet manageable portions is known as network segmentation. Network segmentation improves the network’s security and performance. If a hacker gains access to a portion of a network, a segmented network can prevent the attacker from gaining access to other systems not linked to the same network. In contrast, an adversary can migrate laterally through an unsegmented network, obtaining access to all connected systems.

Computer lock screens that are automatically activated

Computers should have the ability to automatically lock their screens. They should be set to lock automatically after a period of inactivity, such as three minutes. This is to prevent unauthorised users from gaining access to the computer and, by extension, the network.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.