New Year cybersecurity checklist

It’s a good time to refine your cybersecurity strategies as we welcome the new year. Cyber-attack methods are constantly evolving, with new tactics emerging daily. On top of these threats, new regulations taking effect in 2024 mean it’s an ideal time to get started.

Here are our recommendations for kicking off your annual cybersecurity review.

  1. Understand Your Vulnerabilities

Conducting a vulnerability and penetration test is a good first step in setting up your annual strategy against new threats. Many of the new State and Federal regulations as well as cyber insurance carriers are requiring annual vulnerability testing to help guide cybersecurity strategy and to close security gaps. This process not only exposes potential vulnerabilities but also maps your organization’s users and devices to uncover any hidden vulnerabilities.

  1. Identify New Threats

The threat landscape continues to evolve, with cybercriminals and State-sponsored groups devising more sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities. Conducting an annual review allows you to stay ahead of emerging threats, evaluate potential risks from newly adopted platforms or applications, and enact network segmentation are all ways to ensure a layered cybersecurity strategy can address the latest threats and methods of attack.

  1. Review and Update Policies and Procedures

Cybercriminals don’t stand still, and neither should your cybersecurity policies and procedures. A thorough review enables you to assess the effectiveness of your current policies and incident response plans and make necessary updates. Several new regulations now require formal written policies and procedures with annual reviews, regular employee education, approaches for strengthening password policies, implementing multi-factor authentication, creating a business continuity plan, and testing your plans and procedures.

  1. Data Protection

Safeguarding sensitive customer and client data is paramount for any company. Reviewing data collection processes and how you store, encrypt, and back up data should all be reviewed to ensure your security measures are up to date.

  1. Continuous Monitoring of Threats

Integrating security devices to protect and defend your network helps to protect your organization. How are you allocating IT resources to stay on top of threat alert logs and properly configuring these devices? Proper oversight means 24/7 continuous monitoring, evaluation, and remediation of credible threats. Continuous monitoring requires regular threat intelligence data, a Security Operations Center (SOC) dedicated to analyzing and addressing threats, and a team of certified analysts to configure devices and devise countermeasures.

  1. Remote Work and Endpoints

The move to remote and hybrid work has become the new norm. More remote or hybrid workers means more endpoints to secure (laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.). A review helps you address endpoint security from protecting home networks, adding endpoint detection and response (EDR), to adding modern security access and authentication controls. With an increasing number of attacks aimed at remote endpoints, this is a vital area to address.

  1. Compliance

Regulations from state and Federal agencies are evolving, and compliance requirements and reporting are becoming more stringent with increasing fines. A cybersecurity review is an opportunity to ensure that your practices and reporting align with the latest regulations. Staying compliant is not just good practice it’s now a legal and financial necessity.

  1. Leverage 3rd-party Expertise

A Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) can provide you with the latest expertise and threat intelligence you need to build an effective security plan. With cybersecurity talent difficult to recruit and maintain, accessing a dedicated cybersecurity team frees up critical IT capacity. Being proactive in addressing data and network security is key to making it more difficult for cybercriminals to threaten your organization.

Secure Cyber Defense is more than a Managed Security Services Provider. We are your cybersecurity allies. By partnering with us, you can pursue opportunities in the new year with a secure foundation. Get your year started on the right path by setting up a session with one of our cybersecurity experts.

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