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Reducing Exposure and Mitigating Risk

Reducing Exposure and Mitigating Risk

Reducing risk is the fundamental ingredient for healthy cybersecurity strategies and long-term business stability. Today, attack surfaces exist in abundance because of all the technology we use. The integration of internet-capable of devices creates a monolith of potential weak points, where important data can be scraped off by hungry threat actors.

It’s difficult to wrangle all these attack surfaces. What we rely on is used against us, creating the hallmarks of a massive phishing campaign or ransomware attack. The growth of remote working also expanded these problems, as remote networks were (and are) harder to maintain versus traditional environments.

Reducing exposure and risk mitigation are also shifting into a necessity instead of an afterthought. Today, companies and organizations can no longer rely on cybersecurity insurance to handle the fallout from a breach event. Insurance providers for cybersecurity are stepping up their requirements for payouts and applying stringent policies to reduce the cost of ransomware bailouts. That means a company using a cybersecurity insurance provider needs to demonstrate a level of competent preventability before they can expect assistance, and thus, the need to reduce risk.

With the rise of dangerous malware schemes, phishing, and ransomware attacks, it’s of critical importance to develop risk mitigation strategies and reduce data exposure overall.

Developing Better Mitigation Strategies

A large portion of mitigation involves readiness and strategy. We’ve talked before about the importance of BDR plans, but that’s only one piece of a larger puzzle. Finding the best mitigation strategy for your business is like combining the right ingredients for the perfect dinner dish. Use the right spices for the best result – it’s the same idea with mitigation.

You can start with risk assessment. Using penetration tests and similar analytical methods, the idea is to get an idea of where your business stands. What infrastructure do you possess for IT? Do you have multiple internal networks, and are they segmented? Does your business rely on remote work and remote employees? These questions create a map so all relevant parties and minds have a clear picture of what they have, need, and what to secure.

This creates “readiness,” your organization’s overall ability to proactively respond to cybersecurity events. The better prepared you are, the better you can reduce overall network and business exposure.

Limiting Permissions and Access

Mitigating exposure requires changing access permissions. Shifting who can access what on a business network – local or otherwise – keeps specific data from polluting other silos and access points.

That falls back to network segmentation. In other words, ensuring only specific staff  have access to data, information, and apps relevant to their work. If you have a department for accounting, then that financial data should remain in an accounting segment of the business network. Think of it this way: you have data for customer service and customer accounts – these should remain in their segment of a network based on permissions. The reason for this is exposure reduction. If a threat actor gains access to your network and there’s no segmentation, they can siphon and steal all data with their access permissions.

When cases occur where data access is required, setting up zero-trust policies is also helpful for risk mitigation. Verifying users before they can access data limits the “movement” of attackers in case of a breach scenario.

Analysis

Even with proactive measures for risk reduction, cybersecurity events do occur. Given the scope of data and the apps we use, an attack is inevitable. However, it does immediately translate to “disaster.” Proactive defense and data mitigation significantly reduce the damage a potential breach can cause.

That said, a post-attack environment should conduct thorough analysis and testing. Investigations reveal the crucial details that led to a breach scenario, allowing you to shore up defenses to create better prevention methods. This is especially helpful with dangerous attacks such as ransomware, as said malware relies on exposed data/credentials to achieve success.

Using Third-Party Help

When resources are limited and you lack the time and manpower to conduct investigations, getting third-party assistance is another solution. An MSP can provide all the tools required for risk mitigation, training, and even assisting with network segmentation.

You should consider third-party assistance if you’re unable to resolve breach events, prevent routine attacks, and lack the budget to invest in cybersecurity training.

For more information, you can contact Bytagig today.

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