The spread of enterprise technologies across various sectors is raising awareness about online threats. Each year, the number of cybersecurity threats is on an upward trend across the world. Also, the number of cyberattacks is on the rise. The risk of online technologies is forcing many businesses to adopt ways of testing their readiness to fight against cyberthreats. According to PwC, cyber security should be part of the business culture. This post is about 5 ways to check your business’ online security.
1. Review Security Policies
With various attacks from phishing scans to malicious websites and ransomware, businesses must be up to date with the latest types of attacks and scams. It is the only way businesses can make sure employees understand and recognize such attacks. The most common issue is employees using one password across several platforms. A hacker only needs to crack one password to access all their data. The solution is to have a unique and strong password for each account. Although it may be difficult to enforce, one way of approaching this is to encourage each employee to take a sentence they find memorable and then condense it into a series of letters and number that is hard to crack.
It is worth noting that the IT security policy affects everybody in the business. Thus, staff training on cybersecurity is necessary to address external threats and internal best practices to deal with online data privacy and security. The bring your own device (BYOD) policy introduces considerable security challenges and risks to corporate data.
Such a policy allows employees to bring their smartphones, tablets and laptops to the workplace. To help deal with BYOD risks, businesses have to provide appropriate training on device security and encryption of company documents alongside solutions like having an app blacklist.
2. Manage Open Source Software
As a business, managing open source dependencies and components is essential in mitigating online risks. It is one of the ways of staying secure with open source software. Fortunately, over the years, trends in open source security have been focusing on supply chain security, reduction of new vulnerabilities, cultural change around responsibility, dependence on open source maintainers and changes in expectations on remediating vulnerabilities.
One exciting trend is the change toward shared responsibility among developers, operations and security teams. It is a clear indication of the link between awareness of shared responsibility and executing security programs. As businesses grow alongside their DevOps practices, their security measures also grow. High-evolution businesses integrate security into requirements, design, build and testing compared to mid-level businesses that implement security when there is a scheduled audit or production or an issue arises in production.
It is worth noting that despite the explosive growth of open source ecosystems, new vulnerabilities are marginally down. Although it is unclear what is causing the decrease in new vulnerabilities among open source systems, it suggests that improvements in security awareness and practices are bearing fruits.
The best way businesses can manage open source security is by tracking relevant security metrics for the relevant ecosystem. The metrics include the time it takes for a vulnerability to be fixed after it is discovered.
3. Audit and Update Systems
This is one of the most effective and easiest ways of checking how safe a business is online. It entails making sure that both computer and network devices are up to date. Always take into account security notifications and alerts from antivirus software, firewalls, operating systems and web browsers. Postponing the application of these changes may expose a company’s data and network to malware and hacks. Also, it can leave the IT infrastructure prone to advanced persistent threats that take advantage of neglected security holes to gather data for a long period without detection.
4. Application Testing
Regardless of whether a business has the most secure network, it will not help if the software or application is plagued with vulnerabilities. So, performing this kind of testing is necessary considering the number of applications in businesses facing the internet. One of the best ways of testing the online security of a business is by carrying out an application security assessment.
Applications are the favorite attack surfaces for cybercriminals. So, carrying out mobile and web application testing will not only establish potential security loopholes that can be exploited but also helps ensure the business complies with the current cybersecurity guidelines and practices.
Another way of testing a business application is by performing static source code analysis. Evaluating the code of an application before executing it is a nice way of debugging the app to uncover present flaws. The analysis evaluates both operational and security flaws that must be fixed to deploy the app stably and securely.
As well, a business can perform a dynamic source code analysis to see how the application interacts with several elements in the network. Fortunately, there are tools for performing this test to ensure no other flaws crop up when the application is running. Sometimes, a manual source code review is necessary to identify security flaws that automated checks are unable to identify.
5. Social Engineering
Threats online arise from other attack vectors besides network or application flaws. With social engineering, the attacker attempts to exploit the human element of the business by tricking employees, customers, or users. One of the best ways of checking business safety online is by carrying out a physical breach test. A business may have all the best cybersecurity measures in place but a failure to stop unauthorized physical access by individuals is its Achilles heel. So, a business should evaluate sensitive areas to make sure employees have the training necessary to be on the lookout for such attempts.
Another way of carrying out social engineering is by performing a smishing assessment. Smishing or SMS phishing attacks capitalize on text messages to entice users to provide sensitive information voluntarily. Usually, it takes many forms from messages about free vacations to lottery wins. Also, businesses can perform vishing (voice phishing) assessments to establish their online security posture. This requires an attack to call someone to gather sensitive details. The technique helps assess employees’ readiness to cope with such attempts as a way of training them.